It's summertime. That means it's time for vacation. School is off for a few weeks and the kids can enjoy the free time in the sun, at the pool, in the garden or at the playground. And when it's holidays for the kids it means that the au pair is going to be busier than usual. Now it's not only bringing them to school and picking them up and playing a bit until the parents come back home. Now the au pair has to think about a program for the kids, what to do during the day, little adventures on which the kids can be taken, so they don't get bored.
At least six weeks of summer vacation also mean that the family is planning to go somewhere. Maybe they want to go camping, maybe they want to go to a theme park, rent a house at the beach or go on an all inclusive trip. They want the au pair to come with them. This is a topic to talk about, because the expectations of this trip might be totally different for both parties.
There are different kinds of trips:
This is when one or both hostparents have to go to another city to work or e.g. attend a conference and they take the kids and the au pair with them. Especially if both of them have to leave overnight, the au pair has to go with them since it's not allowed to leave the au pair alone with the kids the whole night. During these trips the au pair gets a schedule just as at the family's home. If the host parents have some free time the au pair can join the family or plan something alone to be able to explore the new city.
A working vacation
The family is on vacation, but needs the au pair to work some hours so they can go out alone for dinner or even enjoy a whole day together. Host families and au pairs have to make their expectations really clear here. It's best to talk about how often the au pair will be needed to take care of the kids and what is the plan once she/he is off. In this case the family would obviously cover the expenses like flight, accommodation and meals. If everybody goes on trips together to visit a museum or a theme park, it's important to talk about who is going to pay for the au pair. If the au pair is being invited by the family to go to activities with them it's nice if the family pays, especially when this is something that the au pair normally wouldn't do. Both can also talk openly about what the au pair would like to do. If the au pair wants to explore the area alone, the family should understand that, but the au pair should pay for anything that she/he is doing during those days by herself/himself.
An optional vacation
The host family doesn't need an au pair to work but still would enjoy their company and would like to show them around. The au pair can either agree or decline the invitation. It's important to talk about if this is part of the au pair's vacation or if these are extra days of vacation. It is also important that the sleeping arrangements and any costs that might be involved to join the family are made clear. The au pair should not expect the family to pay for everything and should plan in some money. If the au pair doesn't want to spend money on that vacation but rather spend it on another vacation she/he should stay home.
Whenever the family pays something for the au pair, the au pair should show gratitude to the family. If they pay something for you to be nice, thank them! You could offer them, that you could babysit an evening, so they can go out together as a thank you, but not as "work".
If you want to buy souvenirs, of course that's something that you have to pay for by yourself.
Communication about the trip is very important, because you shouldn't be left alone with costs that you didn't know you'd have to take care of by yourself, but you should also not expect the family to pay for everything.
If you are thinking about becoming an au pair or a host family, you can register on AuPair.com and find your match today!
This post is also available in: German