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Why Au Pairs Quit

Why do Au Pairs Quit?

Today’s blog post discusses some of top reasons why Au Pairs quit and leave their host families. Here are some things to be conscious of and to avoid.

Lack of Communication

silenceWe’ve said it time and time again: one of the key factors in a successful Au Pair/Host Family arrangement is communication. There absolutely must be clear and open lines of communication in order for the relationship to work. Your Au Pair is not a mind-reader and you should not assume that she knows what you are thinking. Check in regularly and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Micromanaging

There’s nothing worse than a boss that hovers over your day-to-day activities. You trust your Au Pair to care for your children and although schedules and routines are encouraged, there needs to be a degree of autonomy for your Au Pair. Of course no one wants to lower their standards when it comes to caring for their children but don’t micromanage and don’t nitpick. Help your Au Pair be successful by providing them with the guidance, tools and framework but don’t over-manage them.

Job Creep & Abuse of Convenience  

There’s a huge level of convenience when it comes to having live-in care. That being said, be very careful not to take advantage of this convenience. We advise all of our members to write a detailed contract for their Au Pair that is agreed upon in advance of their arrival. There shouldn’t be any ‘job creep‘ or significant changes to the contract once your Au Pair has arrived. Don’t think once they have arrived that its okay to add on additional responsibilities/tasks to their normal routine.

It’s completely understandable that sometimes you may be running behind at the end of the day but don’t let those extra 10-15 minutes become a habit. Everyone has a colleague, doctor or friend that’s always a few minutes behind and no one likes it, right?  After a while resentment and frustration can build if your Au Pair feels that she is being taken advantage of.

Homesickness

Everyone gets homesick especially when they are away from their loved ones for an extended period of time. This is inevitable but its important to gauge in advance how your Au Pair will handle it. The interview phase is key when it comes to getting to know your Au Pair. Does your Au Pair have a romantic partner back at home? What kind of travel experience does your Au Pair have? Is this their first time away from home? How does their family feel about them becoming an Au Pair?  Our memberships provide detailed interview templates and questionnaires that will help guide you through asking all of the right questions of your future Au Pair.

Your Home & Neighbourhood 

Blank wooden signBe honest with your Au Pair when it comes to your family and where you live. If you live 45 minutes by train from the downtown core, don’t advertise in your family profile that you’re 5 minutes from the city. Be honest and forthright with your Au Pairs. If they show up to a distant suburb expecting to be living in the city, you very well may lose them. That being said, not all Au Pairs want to live in an urban centre, either! There are plenty of Au Pairs that would be comfortable with ‘country life’ but you absolutely need to be honest up front regarding where they will be living.

Couple fightingFamily Disfunction / Conflict

Who wants to live in a house with a family in conflict? If there are problems or disfunction in your family life or relationship with your spouse, think twice about getting an Au Pair. Don’t put your Au Pair in an uncomfortable situation by fighting with your spouse and certainly don’t use them as a sounding board. Au Pairs are there to care for your children – not to provide marital advice.

Lack of Inclusion  

Au Pairs should be welcomed into your home like an extended member of the family. If you’re wanting your Au Pair to disappear when they are not caring for your children, you should think twice about hosting one. Some Au Pairs will develop a busy social life but they should be welcomed and invited to spend time with your family.

Harassment

It shouldn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: sexual, physical or any kind of inappropriate behaviour towards your Au Pair is NEVER acceptable. Ever.

group of young women on coffee breakAu Pairs Talk

Au Pairs quickly connect via social media groups and they talk to one another. If you’re not compensating your Au Pair appropriately or treating them poorly,  you’re likely going to be looking for a new Au Pair pretty quickly.  Au Pairs do not get ‘spending money’ or a weekly allowance – they are entitled to minimum wage pay as defined by employment standards/ regulations in each province. Erin & I are working hard to educate Au Pairs and Canadian families on proper (and legal) employment practices in Canada when it comes to Au Pairs. We’ve heard far too many stories of Au Pairs working full-time (+) hours and being paid far less than minimum wage and this needs to stop! Au Pairs are a wonderful alternative to traditional childcare in Canada but cannot be taken advantage of. If your family would like some guidance and direction on how to properly employ an Au Pair, please contact us.

Thanks for reading. As always, we welcome your comments, feedback and suggestions. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

 

Michelle Brander

Canadian Au Pair Solutions 

 

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