Monthly Archives: April 2014

Au Pair Searches common misperceptions:My child knows best

‘’If my toddler says he hates the au pair and wants her to go away, then she goes!’’

The assumption: My child uses good judgement and can be objective about who he wants taking care of him.

The reality: Children can have many motivations for wanting an Au pair to go away. Among them is wishing for their parent to stay home instead. Remember you are the parent and the decision maker.

When parents evaluate an Au pair candidate, they often consider how she was when she first met their child. Did she pick up the baby right away? Was she loving, warm and interested in him? Was she playful with their toddler? Could she have an easy conversation with their preschooler?

Parents also watch their child’s reaction closely. Did the baby calm down when she held him? Did he go to her right away and enjoy playing with her? When she left did he say he liked her?

While these observations and evaluations are important, it is equally important to factor in that Au pairs and children know they are being observed. The simple fact of being observed can affect behavior. Sometimes the message beneath the behavior merits more attention than the behavior itself.

If a child says the Au pair must go, then should the Au pair go?

When it comes to the Au pair hiring decision, parents know best and we do recommend reading about the family interview guide for hosting an Au pair. There are definitely mismatches between Au pairs and children, but the shoe is on the wrong foot when the child makes the decision about whom to hire. Please read more about frequent family questions when hosting an Au pair.

 

The percentage effect
She will do 70% housecleaning and 30% childcare, so I’ll get a good house cleaner’’

The assumption: “ Place the most emphasis on the main skill required for the position””

The reality: While an Au pair does light housework, the main activity of an Au pair should be related to childcare, and not housekeeping duties.

 

Au Pair Searches common misperceptions: The Yo-Yo effect

‘’Our last Au pair was young and French and she didn’t work out, so I ‘ll get someone older and from a different country this time ’’

The assumption: “I should have seen this one coming. I won’t be so easily fooled the next time around’’

The reality: Look a little closer. What is it about the fact she was young that made her not work out?
There are many reasons and benefits of hosting an Au pair. All parents want the best for their child and make the best decision they can about whom to hire. But misunderstandings and disappointments do happen in spite of best decisions. At times they can be resolved and everyone is generally better off for having gone through the situation and gotten out of it intact. At other times, things never get back on course and Au pairs have to leave, what happens if it does not work out with the Au pair?.

While relieving to have an unfavorable situation end, endings can shake up a parent’s sense of what they want in an Au pair and their use of judgement. Perhaps they ignored their gut feelings that said she was not ‘’right’’. Perhaps the choice of an Au pair was right for the parents but not for the children. Perhaps the parents don’t know what went wrong. They grasp at straws to figure it out.

She was young – so get an older person the next time. She was not educated – so get someone with a college degree the next time. Her English was not fluent – so get a native English speaker the next time.

When parents start grasping at straws it is a sign of just how desperate they are to regain confidence in their use of judgement. While the obvious can be true, better to look a little closer and ask further questions. Dig dipper. What specifically was it about her youth or language skills or other characteristics that made her not work out? Read more about how to interview my Au pair and the process of selecting an au pair.The answers will give you good data points to use in judging your next round of Au pair candidates. Review Au pair applications, be critical.

Au Pair Searches common misperceptions: I can’t afford Quality

I can’t afford Quality

‘’All the good Au pairs work for rich families”

The assumption: you get what you pay for. If you pay more, you get better

The Reality: Au pairs value the support, respect and recognition parents provide more than an above-market salary. You don’t need to offer more than market rate to hire a good Au pair.

This assumption that all the good Au pairs work for rich families comes out of childhood stories about the lives of British aristocrats who raised a brood of children with the help of a dotting nanny. Our belief about a Mary Poppins from the last century comes alive in the present as we peek yet again into the lives of the rich and famous. Whether it’s the Nanny Diaries or news briefs about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s travels with Nanny and children, we expect that only the rich get the better Au pairs, leaving the rest of the Au pairs to those unglamorous souls treading through a daily life of diapers and dishes and offering a pittance of glory and market wages to our Au pairs.

Does the ‘’more you pay the better you get’’ rule apply in the Au pair market? Is compensation an indicator of quality? Au pair working hours and pay rates

In our experience, the ‘’more you pay the better you get’’ rule applies only to families looking for Au pairs in a rush, those that need an Au pair to start this or next week and if possible someone already in Australia, in those cases this girls have shown in all cases to be picky and prefer families with a good location, if possible near the beach and offering the best salaries.

Is compensation the only thing that motivates a Nanny? In this case again it has to do with the kind of au pair you are considering, those already here in Australia are not real au pairs but backpackers, their main priority was never to be an au pair but to travel, once here after realizing how expensive are accommodation and meals in Australia, then they consider the option of Au pairing as an alternative, but for that reason our agency does not recruit these kind of candidates as we prefer to place an au pair who’s main priority from the beginning was to care children, who registered with months in advance preparing all her supporting documents to achieve this experience, someone flexible about accepting families so that we have or chances to ensure a successful placement. Read more about Why choose an au pair agency and the danger of Au pair internet matches

These kind of Au pairs that are currently overseas vetted by our Partner agencies  at the time we start the matching and interview process of selecting an Au pair are those we target and they find satisfaction in working with almost any kind of family, with children of any age. We suggest our customers to compare between agencies when choosing your Au pair agency. Looking at the question in this way, it is not that the rich get better Au pairs; they get Au pairs that are motivated primarily to be part of their lives and earn higher salaries or pocket money.

Prepare yourself for the au pair job

While most of the au pairs have already gained some previous experience working with children, is always a plus to know as much as possible about working with babies, safety measures, lunch preparation, What families expect from the au pair, how to handle emergencies, etc. For this reason we have developed an online au pair course that is free to all our candidates coming as Au pairs to Australia

Health and Insurance

Some families pay for or contribute towards the cost of the au pair’s medical insurance and it is essential to find out well in advance whether your employers are prepared to do this. In some countries they are compelled by law to provide insurance to the au pair. Even if you are allowed to participate in the national scheme of the country you are going to, you may find that there are important exclusion clauses such as for dental treatment, non-emergency treatment, prescription drugs and so on. No matter what country you are heading for, but especially if it is an EU country, you should obtain the Department of Health leaflet T6 Health advice for travellers available from post offices. Most insurance companies offer a standard rate that covers medical emergencies and premium rate that covers personal baggage, cancellation, etc, as well as health.

Learning a language

Having even a limited knowledge of the foreign language before you set off to work as au pair is invaluable, so it is always worth trying to improve your standard before leaving home. Evening language classes offered by local authorities usually follow the academic year. Intensive courses offered privately are much more expensive. If you are really dedicated, consider using a self-study programme with books and DVDs, online course or broadcast language course. Even if you don’t make much headway with the course at home, take it with you since you will have more incentive to learn once you are immersed in a language.

Travel

Except in the case of highly prized professional nannies like the case of working as Nanny Overseas, you must pay for your own travel costs. Very occasionally a family will pay for your fare home if you have completed a one-year contract. There are exceptions, for example the programmes which place au pairs in the USA in which your flight is organised for you and paid for by the family. Since the family may offer to the au pair at the airport, last minute bargains are not ideal. It is always better to have an open return ticket, so that you will feel more in control of the situation. Also, certain countries require a return or onward ticket as a condition of entry.

What to take
Money

If at all possible try to save a certain amount of money so that you won’t be financially dependent on the family if things don’t work out. Bear In mind that you might not be paid for the first fortnight or month, so you will need some money to tide you over.

Packing
As the day of departure draws closer, you will need to sort out your wardrobe and select clothes that will be compatible with the climate you are going to. Leah Wiloth, an American au pair in France in 2008, passes on her packing suggestions and other tips
- bring clothes that you can mix and match with a lot of things. Pack less than you usually would. You are going to want to buy gifts and souvenirs that you will have to bring back with you in your suitcase.
-bring books and music , sometimes you will have cravings to see and hear your own language.
-  bring one nice dress and shoes that are comfortable to wear and look good with a lot of outfits.
- bring pictures of family and friends
- pick up a language survival guide for the country you’re going to be working in
- pick a well documented journal of feelings, excursions and names of places visited everyday.