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This month 2 delightful au pairs from my Orlando region completed their program year and headed back home to their native countries. Hannah went home to New Zealand to start college as a teacher. Laura returns to Germany after a travel adventure in the USA during her 30 day grace period. These girls have new goals and challenges to tackle. As their Area Director, I will miss them and wish them success. I also know their host families will undergo a transition period as they adjust to the departure.
Prior to returning home, the girls received a Return Flight Request form by email a few months before their departure. The au pair fills this form out and returns it to the SF office by the designated deadline. Late forms are charged a $100. fee. The au pair who completes her program can choose 3 potential departure dates for us to book her paid flight. She can also decide to travel during the 30 day grace period given to au pairs who finish their program year and then fly home afterward. Au pairs submit their Education Completion paperwork detailing their signed 60 hours of coursework (downloaded from Au Pair Room) to their Area Director. If the au pair successfully completed her required education she may be eligible for a bonus. Not all au pairs receive a bonus. It is based on the au pair contract they signed in their native country. Au pairs who finsh all the program requirements receive a Certificate of Completion.
It can be emotional to say goodbye to your au pair. I advise host families to help children understand in advance that at some point, their au pair needs to go home to her country and her family. It helps if the children know up front to expect this departure. Talk/share about the au pair’s plans once she gets home such as starting college or getting married so the kids can know what the au pair will be doing once she leaves. It is a good idea to have the au pair and children and host parents as well, make a scrapbook or photo album to remember their time together. Often my host families will have departure dinners with the au pair’s favorite American foods and special friends or family are invited. Encourage the host children to keep in touch with the au pair after she leaves by providing email contact and pre-addressed stationary for the children to write their au pair. Perhaps your au pair will visit you in the future or you will travel to see her in her country. As a family take your au pair to see her off at the airport!
Help the children transition to the new aupairecare by creating a bond ahead of time. The kids should be allowed to learn about the new au pair prior to arrival and get to communicate with her. Talk about the differences in the 2 au pairs and how they might do things differently. Sometimes host families will schedule an overalp between the outgoing au pair and the incoming au pair to help with training. This can be positive or negative, depending on your situation. It is unrealistic to expect the new au pair to immediately fill the shoes of the outgoing au pair.
A childhood rhyme comes to mind as I think about au pairs returning home and the new ones arriving bright eyed and eager to the host families to start their year, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold”. After all, a departure means a new arrival and a new adventure in childcare and cultural exchange.