Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra pair of hands on vacation? Someone to take care of the kids in the evening so you and your spouse can enjoy a night out? Our recent Cultural Care Au Pair parent poll asked our panel, “Do you take your au pair with you on vacation?” The answer? A resounding, “Yes”. Thirty one percent of our respondents said that they always take their au pair on vacation and 62% said they did some of the time. The other 7% either said that they didn’t take vacations or that their au pairs were always welcome, but didn’t always choose to join them.
Here are a few tips from parents about taking your au pair on vacation:
- If your au pair is expected to be on-duty, and most families have their au pair provide childcare at least part of the time, it is important to be clear with her up front about the amount of time and when you need her to be on-duty.
- You also need to be clear about what her duties will be – helping at the airport, entertaining them in the car, watching them at the pool, taking care of them in the evenings, etc.
- Allow your au pair some time to really be “on vacation”– let her explore the area and find ways to relax and enjoy without being with the family.
- Remember that you still need to follow the State Department au pair guidelines, no more than 10 hours per day, 45 hours per week and a day and a half off every weekend.
- Talk about sleeping arrangements with your au pair. If an au pair is providing a full day of childcare and is truly the only one responsible, it would still be expected that she receive her own private room. However, if the au pair is sharing the childcare responsibilities with the parents/adults throughout the day, than a private bedroom would not be required.
- Talk about how to handle things if the children wake in the night, and acknowledge the difference between sleeping in the same space vs. being on-duty. Give her some privacy at times by having the kids come into your room.
- Pay for meals and admission tickets to parks and museums when she is with your family, buy her a treat when you or the kids have one, but let her pay for her souvenirs and snacks when off-duty.
- Have fun! Vacations can be stressful. Set expectations ahead of time, make sure everyone has some play time with the kids and enjoy your adventure together.
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