Friday, May 27, 2011


We all have expectations going into our au pair/ host family relationship and the key to a successful year is communicating these expectations. We cannot assume that either party knows what we are thinking, feeling or wanting. We spend a few weeks or months communicating over Skype and email so we should have a fairly good idea of each others personalities but meeting in person and living under the same roof brings up many new things and if we do not communicate with each other small things become enormous and hard to deal with. We has a host family need to provide good guidelines in a written format to the au pair of what the hours are and what we expect of the au pair. When they have time off and when they are expected to work for us, what kind of chores we would like them to do around the house and no this does not include cleaning your whole house, au pairs are not a maid service. But they can help around the house, kids laundry, clean up dishes, light vacuuming, pick up kids rooms, etc
Au pairs need to ask questions and communicate back to the host family what their expectations are, can they use the car for social purposes, will the family provide a gym membership, who pays for the gas in the car, extra vacation time, all these things are perks but we all need to talk to each other and understand where each side is coming from.
When we had our first au pair ten years ago we were very green! I made a lot of mistakes, i did not have a schedule written out for her, I did not have all the essentials in her room, radio, CD player, TV I just thought I would wing it, it would all be okay. I quickly learned she was unhappy and she wanted to leave, not because she did not like us but because we were not prepared. Thankfully our area director then helped out and made us communicate and see things from both sides. We ended up having a wonderful year together. So I cannot stress how important COMMUNICATING is

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