As a host family, it is great to have your Au Pair along on a vacation. However, there are pitfalls that can happen One of the biggest issues is the danger that can be involved when no-one is clear about whose job it is to oversee the kids.
Here are 10 Tips for Vacationing with your Au Pair so that everyone has a great time, and the kids are safe!
- Tag, your it! I had a host family with 3 small children tell me that when it was the au pair’s turn to be
responsible for the children (and vice versa) they would tap hands so that there was no
misunderstanding who was in charge. What a great idea!
- Yes, a schedule is needed! A few summers ago, I received 2 calls on the same day. One was from a host mother saying that they just returned from vacation and their Au Pair did not work at all and one was from the Au Pair in this family saying she worked all day every day! How interesting is that? Be sure to give your Au Pair a schedule of when she is working so that she knows when she is off – just like home. It is important for her to know when she can go relax at the beach – without having to ask if she is free. Make a tentative schedule and discuss your expectations ahead of the vacation. It is always possible to readjust when you are there.
- Travel time/Work time?
Do you consider travel time to be your au pair’s work time, or can she put her earbuds in and take a nap? This is something you want to define ahead of time.
- Lazy days! Vacation can bring different behaviors from children – especially children that
will not do well when there is no routine. Talk to your Au Pair about your children and the things you found have worked on past vacations. If you like to have a routine on vacation let her know that, too.
- Pool Safety! If vacationing at the beach or around a pool be sure to talk to your Au Pair about
how long they can stay at the pool, how often should sunscreen be reapplied, do you want your Au Pair in the water or is it okay to sit on the side of the pool? Please do not assume your au pair knows your expectations.
- Who is the Boss?
Often summer vacation includes extended family. Can Grandma and Grandpa change the
schedule for the day? Make sure your Au Pair knows who gives her responsibilities for the day and communicate that to all parties involved.
- Where did all these kids come from?!
Are you vacationing with your kids, your brother’s kids, your sister’s kids and do they expect
your Au Pair to watch them, too? If this is the case – this needs to be spelled out ahead of time so that the Au Pair can let you know whether she is comfortable. Also, is it safe for her to be watching more than your children in an unfamiliar location?
- Traveling internationally?
Au Pair in America is advising against any international travels for the Au Pair during 2021. If your Au Pair arrived on an NIE visa, she will not be able to return to the USA once she leaves. Call your community counselor to discuss any plans for international travel with your Au Pair during 2021.
Will your Au Pair have to share a hotel room while on vacation? Make sure you discuss ahead of
time what the accommodations will be on the trip so that you eliminate any surprises (your au
pair should not be expected to share a room with her host parents).
- Safety First!
Communication with your Au Pair is paramount on vacation. When you are all in unfamiliar
surroundings with different schedules and different expectations – things can go wrong. Be sure that the safety of your children is number one in everyone’s mind. Take a tour of your surroundings and discuss any concerning issues. Making sure everyone knows whose turn it is to watch for the kids and what they are watching out for. These tips can ensure a successful vacation with memories to last!