Monthly Archives: November 2019

Tips for understanding how holiday time can affect an Au pair.

Holiday Season in the USA will be a very special time for your family and Au pair.  It can also be a time when the Au Pair may need a little extra support. Consider these tips:


  • Missing Home
Certain people and places are missed and our traditions and activities seem “different” right at a time when an Au Pair would welcome something familiar. My observation has been that an Au
Pair’s emotions are close to the surface during the holidays. The enormity of this year away from
home hits her and sometimes throws her into a self-protective mode. You can help her through
this unfamiliar territory by talking to her about what your specific family activities will be (when
the candles will be lit, the stockings hung, the gifts exchanged, the meals prepared and eaten, the
relatives arriving, etc.) An especially thoughtful touch is to ask her if she has any favorite holiday foods or
traditions that could be incorporated into your celebration.
  • What are your expectations?       
Talk to your Au Pair specifically about what has to be accomplished. This will help to get her involved and interested. Remember her mother has probably taken this responsibility in previous years so don’t expect her to just “know” what needs to be done. Give her some clear, agreed-upon assignments, make her feel a part of things and let her know her contribution is needed and appreciated.
  • Discuss the change in routine and roles 
The parents are home and this is unsettling to the children as well as to the Au Pair. Some different work expectations may be needed since the kids may prefer to hover around the parents. This can make an Au Pair feel unwanted and unsure of what is expected of her. If she is thrown off balance she may not see other things she can do instead of the usual. The high emotions and energy of the kids at this time of year seem like craziness to her. Assure her that things are temporary and will be back to normal soon! Suggest things she can
do to help and encourage her to roll with the punches and just enjoy the general fuss. And host parents need to remember that no matter how stressful those long holiday days are, the rules of how many hours an Au pair can work are mandated by the State Department. No Au pair is allowed to work more than 10 hours each day or left in sole charge of the children for more than 10 hours.
  • Only in America!
The number of gifts given to the children and the excesses we enjoy with gifts, food, and decorations are overwhelming to most Au Pairs. This often causes them to withdraw as they attempt to catch their breath and to evaluate the differences.
  • New Year’s Eve in the USA
Socially you should remember the holidays are a time when Au Pairs want, and need, to be with their friends. This helps their survival mechanism when they are missing old friends back home. New Year’s Eve, especially in America, is a special occasion to an Au Pair so open communication is very important as you decide on New Year’s Eve plans. If possible, use a different babysitter on this important night for her.

Are You Thinking Of Extending Your Au pair Year?

Extension Year Tips

Choosing to extend is a great choice! It does require some planning and thought before you decide. These facts will be helpful in your decision-making process. Call or email your counselor, if you need help making the right choice.

The process begins with you and your host family receiving an email at the mark of your 8th month. The link to extend together will be on their portal. Once it is hit, it will appear on your portal. If you are not extending with your same family, you will hit the link on your portal to extend with a different family. Your current family will receive an email with a request to give you a reference that will appear on your extension application. This reference gives info about how many children and how many hours and if you received a ticket or had an accident while driving.  This link and email cannot arrive earlier than exactly your 8th month.

  • You must have at least 72 hours of education completed at the time of your request to extend.
  • Certificates or documents that show your completed hours must be emailed to your community counselor. Please do not text pictures. Take a picture and email it.
  • All education hours must be completed 30 days before the end of your first term.  Your request to extend and all documents will be filed one month before the end of your first year. THIS IS FIRM. THE STATE DEPARTMENT WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY EXTENSION REQUEST IF THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENT HAS NOT BEEN MET.
  • If you are going to extend with a different family, you need to get your education finished by the 8th month so that you have time to interview and find a new family.
  • You have a choice to extend for 6, 9 or 12 months.
  • The travel month will be moved to the end of your second term. Your second au pair term will begin the day after your first year ends.
  • Extension Au Pairs have 11 days of vacation for 12 months, and a 9-month extension. For 6 months the vacation is 5.5 days.
  • You cannot extend your second year, once it begins. If you choose six months, you cannot stay longer.
  • You may change your mind during your second term and leave early…. and still receive your flight back home if you give your host family and CC at least one month’s notice.
  • If you are not able to give at least one month’s notice that you need to leave, you will be required to purchase your own flight home to your country.
  • If you leave early in the second term, you will lose your travel month. You will be expected to return home at the end of your one-month notice.
  • There is no guarantee that you will get matched for your second year. Many au pairs do not make a match and return home.
  • If you experienced a rematch. It’s a good idea to write about the reason in your extension application.
  • Once you are matched with a second-term family, you cannot change your mind and choose another family that calls later. You must honor your commitment.
  • Deciding to stay with your current family can work well. Sometimes, there are some things that you will want to change about your second-year experience. Talk with your host family to see if they are willing to make the changes you need to stay a second term!
  • Many au pairs underestimate the difficulty of getting re-adjusted in a new city. You will not have friends. You will not know your way around. Your host family will be new to you. Your host children will be new. All the comfort of your current situation will be gone. You will be starting over!
  • The second term in a new city can be exciting. You will have an opportunity to make new friends, see a new city and learn another way of life here in the USA!
  • The education requirement still applies in the second year. Standard au pairs will have a 250.00 education allowance towards a six-month extension. You will need to achieve 36 hours of education.   500.00 education allowance is given towards a nine and twelve-month extension. You will need to achieve at least 72 hours of education.
  • Your transfer to your new second-term family is on the last day of your contract. You may not join them earlier or later than this date. This is very strictly followed. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • If you have the upgraded insurance policy, you must pay the fee to upgrade the policy in your second term. The insurance has to be the same. You must pay the fee to upgrade or you will not be allowed to stay.
  • Your USA driver’s license will need to be renewed once you have a new DS-2019 form with your extended dates on it. If you move, you will need to exchange your license for that State’s license with your new address.
  • Travel outside the country is not be possible in your second term. Some islands around the USA may be allowed. If you plan, to travel outside the USA in your second term (with or without your host family), you will need to 1. Read the travel information about second term travel outside the USA on the APIA website and 2. Email Fiorella at, if you have further questions about travel in the second term.
  • Your actual visa will expire at the end of your one-year term. However, the white paper in your passport ( the DS-2019 form) is the document that gives you a legal reason to be in the USA.  A new DS-2019 form will be issued to you from the State Department. It is not necessary for you to go back home to renew your visa, This is risky and may prevent you from re-entering the USA. 
  • Some Au Pairs want to renew their visa, due to the travel plans of their host family. Renewing the visa is risky because your government may not agree to grant another visa and you would not be allowed to return to the USA to finish your first term. Your visa must be valid to re-enter. It takes a lot of planning and organization to save your vacation days to the end of your term in a plan to return home to get a new visa. This process may take 2-3 weeks or longer in busy travel seasons. You would need to return to the USA at least four weeks before your current visa expires.  Your host family is responsible for paying your Au pair stipend each week, even if you go home on vacation. Because of this, they may not agree to have you absent for several weeks. The Au Pair must also pay for your flight back home.
  • There is a lot to think about! Ask your counselor for advice.