When you begin hosting your au pair, you’re normally thinking about having a successful match and planning how the months ahead will be. No one likes to think about the possibility of a rematch and transition, but the reality is that rematches do sometimes occur.
A rematch with an au pair is when either the host family or au pair (or both) feel it’s best to separate and end the match. And on rare occasions an au pair must return to their home country for family emergencies or other unexpected circumstances.
Common reasons for rematch
Au pair rematches can occur for a number of reasons, but here are the most common rematch causes Au Pair USA has seen in serving thousands of host families and au pairs over the past 30+ years.
- Culture shock & homesickness: Au pairs will likely experience some form of culture shock and homesickness during their program year. It’s important to be prepared for this when it happens and be supportive in helping your au pair work through it.
- Driving: While most au pairs will arrive with driving experience and an international driving permit, it can be challenging to transition into driving in a new country. Some families are unable to accommodate the additional time or practice that some au pairs may need to become skilled enough behind the wheel.
- Communication: Communication is key in any relationship and the au pair-host family one is no different. If either party is not able to communicate effectively, there is room for resentment to grow, miscommunication to occur, or the match to end.
- Department of State guidelines not followed: The au pair program is rooted in cultural exchange and follows the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of State. Each month Local Coordinators check in with both au pairs and host families to ensure these rules are being followed. The regulations are important because they ensure the safety of both au pair and host family alike. If they are not being followed, Au Pair USA has the authority to terminate the match and possibly the relationship with the au pair or host family as well.
- Incompatibility: Sometimes personalities just don’t mesh. When this occurs, a rematch may be the best option for both au pair and host family to have a positive and successful experience in the au pair program.
Before a rematch
Once your Local Coordinator is aware of a problem, they will do everything they can to help resolve the issues before going straight to rematch. This may include conducting a match improvement meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure both the host family and au pair have the ability to openly express themselves in a safe space with an objective party (your Local Coordinator) leading the discussion. Many matches are able to be repaired by simply having this meeting and coming up with an action plan to resolve the issue that everyone is committed to working on.
When a rematch occurs
If the match is not able to be repaired, a rematch then occurs. Your Local Coordinator will schedule a transition meeting. During this meeting, the au pair, host family, and Local Coordinator are present and review a checklist of items to ensure everyone is on the same page moving forward. Your Local Coordinator will set expectations regarding the au pair’s transition period (typically a two-week timeframe), note their final work day and release date for them to move onto their next match or return to their home country, and a final housing date (the last day you as a host family will host the au pair in your home). Your Local Coordinator will also review all financial aspects associated with the transition, including the au pair’s outstanding stipend, vacation days, educational allowance, and other costs related to the program.
It’s important as a host family to consider interim childcare as you may or may not be able to find an au pair replacement during the transition period. Au Pair USA will provide you with a Matching Specialist and in-country au pair options, as well as overseas au pair options to consider. An au pair who is already in the United States will typically be available to arrive sooner than one who is still overseas.
Rematching may not be the ideal situation you considered when you decided to host an au pair, but it can be a wonderful opportunity to find the right au pair for your family if your current match is not working out. Au Pair USA will do everything in our power to assist your family during this time and to help the transition be as seamless as possible should you experience a rematch with your au pair.
If you’d like to learn more about the rematch process and are a current host family, please contact your Local Coordinator. If you’re interested in becoming a host family, our program advisors can walk you through the process before you even begin. Call 1-800-287-2477 to chat with one of our program advisors today.