For many host families, the idea of re-matching with a new au pair—or going through a difficult transition—can be a stressful thought. Which is understandable, of course—when you sign on to host an au pair, you’re hoping for a happy and successful year together.
But rematches do happen, so it’s important to consider why they occur and to understand that if you do end up in rematch with your au pair it doesn’t need to be a scary process. A team of Cultural Care representatives will support you through the process every step of the way.
So let’s break down what happens in a rematch, and the best ways to move forward when it’s simply not working out between you and your au pair.
When it’s not working out
Most often, personality differences and communication issues are the root cause of host family and au pair conflict. When you live in close quarters with an au pair, and you aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on anything from your daily schedule to child-rearing practices to time-off, it’s easy for things to snowball out of control and turn into irreconcilable differences.
First and foremost, Cultural Care Au Pair recommends trying to calmly and clearly communicate your feelings and expectations with your au pair. However, if you’ve tried that and it’s still not working, we have a set of guidelines in place to help you through the next steps.
It’s important to let your Local Childcare Consultant (LCC) know that things aren’t working out as soon as possible. They will schedule a support meeting with all of you—where they will come over to your house, sit down with everyone present, and see if there’s a way to come up with a possible solution. He or she may even ask you to try working on the problem for a couple more weeks to see if the relationship is at all salvageable.
If, despite your best efforts, it is not going to work out with your au pair in the long term, then your LCC will conduct an exit interview.
Navigating the transition process
The exit interview is the first part of the transition process—at this meeting, your family and your au pair will come to an agreement about what the next two weeks will look like. Please note that your au pair has to stay with your family for up to two weeks as she works on finding a new American family to live with.
If during these two weeks, you choose to have your au pair continue working, you’ll need to pay them their weekly stipend. If you do not ask them to work, then you will not have to pay them the weekly stipend. It’s also at this exit meeting that you will determine your au pair’s working schedule for the remaining two weeks—as well as their last day and any modifications you want to make to house rules like curfew or car use.
Remember to continue treating your au pair with care and respect during this time—just as they will need to do the same for you and your children. Even though it didn’t work out in the long term, you still want to end things on a positive note with your au pair. Continue to treat them as you would a daughter, son or extended family member.
Finding your next caregiver
After you decide on how to best navigate the transition, Cultural Care support staff will help you move forward with rematch. This means going through the screening and matching process again to find a new au pair—hopefully one that is a better fit for your family!
It’s a good idea in the meantime to look into backup childcare options—because unfortunately, Cultural Care can’t guarantee continue childcare coverage during transition. If you’re looking for a replacement au pair, you’ll want to ensure you have a caregiver on hand to help fill in any gaps that may occur.
When it comes to finding a replacement au pair, we always encourage families to consider hosting “transition au pairs”—or “in-country au pairs” as they’re often called. These au pairs are just like your previous au pair, in that they found themselves in a situation where things just weren’t working out with their host families.
It’s an unfortunate and untrue stigma that these au pairs are “damaged” or “reject au pairs”—the same way it’d be untrue to think of your family as “damaged” or a “reject host family!” Every au pair and host family has their perfect match out there … maybe yours is already in the USA, eagerly waiting to rematch with a family just like yours.
In-country au pairs are also usually available to come to your house and begin their term with you very soon—sometimes as early as within two weeks—because they’re out there looking for a replacement host family. So if you’re concerned about having continuous childcare, transition au pairs can be a great fit.
At the end of the day, transition and rematch are never fun—but for some families, they’re a necessary part of life with an au pair! They’re there to protect all parties from an unhappy and unsuccessful term together. If rematch is in store for you and your family, then it’s important to know what your next steps and options are so you can find an au pair that works for you.