Working Through Challenges With Your Au Pair


3 minutes

Most of our host families have great matches with their au pairs, but what happens when things don’t go completely as planned? It’s an important consideration when making the decision to host an au pair.

Who should you contact about issues that arise?

If you feel something isn’t working, the first person to go to is your Local Coordinator (LC). Your LC can offer advice and help improve the relationship, and if necessary, will schedule a three-point meeting. This is an opportunity for all parties to get together and work through any problems with their LC as a mediator. Often, the three-point meeting resolves any issues and provides a fresh start.

host mom talking out an issue
host mom talking out an issue
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

However, sometimes the outcome of this meeting is that the best course of action is to end the relationship, and you go into what we call Transition. To help with this, we have a department dedicated to making things easier. Our Transitions Coordinator works very hard to help qualified host families match with new au pairs, and qualified au pairs to match with new host families. Our Transitions Coordinator helps move everyone through this process quickly and smoothly!

Three point meeting
Three point meeting
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

How does the transition process work?

When a family and au pair go into transition, our Transitions Coordinator speaks with everyone in order to get information about the situation. It’s important that both au pairs and host families are suitable for the program, and that no U.S. Department of State regulations were violated during the course of the relationship. In most cases, the breakdown of the relationship results from a personality conflict rather than unsuitability, and both host families and au pairs are able to seek a new match.

Families looking to match with new au pairs have two options: In-country au pairs or out-of-country au pairs. An in-country au pair is someone who is in a similar situation – for whatever reason, she is no longer with her previous host family and looking to match with a new host family. A family who decides to match with an in-country au pair can have her come to the home very quickly – usually within a week or so.

Since au pairs come to the United States on a 12-month visa, the amount of time that your family would have with an in-country au pair would depend on how much time she has left on her visa. So, even if you hosted your previous au pair for five months, if your new au pair has only been in the States for one month, then you would have 11 months with this new au pair.

Au pair reading
Au pair reading
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

You also have the option to match with an out-of-country au pair – you can interview the hundreds of candidates in their home countries who are ready to match! In this case, you’ll be repeating the same process that you followed when you originally applied to the program. If you match with one of these au pairs, then you will host her or him for 12 months.

Finally, you always have the option to withdraw from the program. While we’re sad to see families go, we understand that another form of child care might be best for some families. If you are not ready to withdraw from the program, you have an option of going on hold.

We hope this clarifies the process for you! While it would be great if every match worked out, every time, sometimes the path to a great relationship takes a little longer. Take a look at some of the past winners of our Au Pair of the Year award. For example, Mayumi came to her host family after a transition!

Stephanie Willhide Stephanie Willhide

Stephanie started her career working for a cultural exchange program that supports English language learning in Chilean public schools. She came to InterExchange's Au Pair USA program in 2013, and now works as the Web Developer.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation