Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Changing families

There is always a chance that au pair and the family may not get along or may not be the best match for each other. It is not easy to live with anyone and au pair situation is no different. If you find yourself in a situation where you wish to change the family, learn from this experience and pick your next family accordingly.

Figure out the reason why it didn't work out with the family. Look for the qualities you want on your next family. If the problem was the number of children, pick one with less number of children. If the lifestyle of the family didn't fit you, be open about it to your next family when you talk to them.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Travel expenses

There is no set rule about the travel expenses of the au pairs. Some countries may already have rules such as USA where you have to use an agency to get there. In this case, au pair gives a deposit that covers her airfare, but she gets it back when she successfully completes the program and goes back to her home country. We can say that she eventually gets her airfare back from the agency. I am pretty sure the agency already builds in this expense to the host family. They pay a hefty fee like $5000 to start with the program. But most people say that the cost of having an au pair in the US is very reasonable compared to the other options like nanny or daycare.

In Europe, there are also au pair agencies which some people use where the travel arrangements can be made by them. In the case of going to Europe on your own, families would ask you to buy your own ticket. Most of them gladly reimburse the cost over a year by paying extra each month to the au pair. Even though most au pairs have trouble coming up with the money to purchase tickets upfront, it is better than not getting anything back. Most families realise it is not easy to come up for the money for most au pairs, they want to make sure that the au pair is serious and she showed some effort to be there. Sending a ticket to someone they don't know is not exactly the smart way to deal with it especially if they don't know the au pair.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hard part of au pair work

Even though most of us enjoy being away from our parent's house for a while, traveling, learning new things, meeting new people, there are things we miss or find it little hard to deal with. Being an au pair is not all about fun and games. You got to take good care of your charges, make sure they are safe and sound. Of course taking care of children is not the easiest thing in the world. Most people assume au pairs literally watch children with their eyes without moving from a couch. Children need much attention, especially the infants and toddlers. I am sure most au pairs who took care of young children share my view but I don't really feel comfortable turning my back to the young one even for a minute, of course unless they are in a safe place like their cribs. Children's development at the young age is also very important for their future life. We get to spend considerable time with them. I always wonder how my time with them effects their development and their future. So far, I have been told by parents that I love children and I do a great job with them. But there is always room for improvement!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Difference between nanny and au pair

Nannies are professional childcare workers with substantial childcare experience compared to au pairs. Nanny is considered an employee of the family while au pair is considered a part of the family. Au pairs do receive a pocket money no matter which country they work at while nannies receive a salary which sometimes they may have to live on, in the case of live-out nannies. Live-out nannies go to work, children's home, during their set work hours and get paid by hour usually. Their wage vary by the location and the scope of their duties.

For example, in the US au pairs currently receive around 180 dollars weekly and they don't pay taxes. However, the host families pay more fees to the agencies to cover other expenses. Au pairs in the US report that the pocket money is sufficient for their expenses since they don't have to buy food or pay rent. Basically, this money is paid for au pairs to do sightseeing or shop. At the end of the year some of my friends who could save money were able to have a vacation in other parts of the US.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy New Year!

I'd like to wish everyone a happy new year. I am always here ready to answer all your questions to the best of my knowledge. Email me any questions you have.