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The Second Au Pair Syndrome

Here follows a not-so-uncommon scenario…

As a host family you are about to repeat for the first time. You have had a very successful year (or two) with your first au pair, who became a real part of the family.

The second au pair arrives and things start to go off-kilter from the get-go. Within a month, you think this is not going to work and want a different au pair for your family. Are you a victim of the “second au pair syndrome?”

Perhaps your first experience was so successful partly because you were excited about the whole program. You really listened to the orientation from your Community Counselor and paid attention to every detail. You took the time to thoroughly read the Host Family Handbook. You worked hard at helping your first au pair adjust, and forgave her the mistakes all au pairs make during their adjustment period.

Over time you wondered how you ever managed without your au pair!

By the time the second au pair arrives, you may not remember everything you did to help make your first au pair experience so good. You may only scan the Host Family Handbook, or cut short your orientation.

Worst! You may start comparing your second au pair on day one to your first au pair (and not to when she first arrived but on the day she left). No au pair will pass this type of comparison.

Please, do not forget that every new au pair will be different from your last one, and will need time to adjust. Your new au pair will not do everything as well as your first au pair did before leaving… She had a year (or two) to master your routine! Make sure your new au pair gets the helping hand needed to succeed… It worked once, there is no reason it won’t work twice!


By Laura Mawe, former EurAupair Area Coordinator.

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