Oops! How to Handle Mistakes and Mishaps

As much as we love our Au Pair Sofi and as much as she loves us we’re all human and mistakes DO happen! Here are a few of the ones we have dealt with over the last month or so and how we handled them.

So this past month we realized a big oops on our part and our Au Pair’s part! We had over $70 worth of international charges on our phone plan and we realized we did not provide our au pair Sofi with the proper training on how NOT to make international phone calls using the cell phone. She apologized and we let her know that we knew it wasn’t intentional. Then, we all sat down together to review the cell phone use policy and discuss always using WhatsApp for international phone calls and texts to avoid additional charges. This could have been a huge fight between us, we could have thought that Sofi did this on purpose or just disregarded our rules. BUT…we didn’t. Instead we sat down calmly and discussed the situation.

Schedule problems are very common for host families and au pairs. The other weekend, Sofi came to us and asked to discuss a problem she had noticed. When it was time for her shift to end a few times the previous week neither my husband or I were home on time to take over.  This was because of a few things, 1- my husband and I miscommunicated over who was going to be home to relieve Sofi and 2 – poor planning on our part in terms of scheduling and timing. We acknowledged that Sofi was absolutely correct and that there had been a few times we did not honor her end time. We also put in place a plan between us to help keep this from happening again. Sofi approached us when we were both home, and not when we were in the middle of other things and let us know she needed to bring something up. We in turn gave her our attention and listened without judgment while she explained how she was feeling. These may not seem like major problems for some, and for others these can often be huge problems.  Below find our tips for dealing with problems and conflicts!

Tips For Managing Problems between Host Families and Au Pairs

1. Set Expectations

Keep your household guide updated and review it during your weekly meetings. Remind each other about expectations and stay on the same page to avoid having problems. 

2. Communicate Boundaries

Set and communicate your boundaries and needs. Discuss things that must happen and things that you all need to be happy.

3. Always Address the “Little Things”

Don’t wait for the little things to become big things. Even if you don’t think that it’s a big deal or worth addressing, you should address it.  Everyone deserves to be comfortable and addressing problems quickly helps avoid resentment and maintains honesty between everyone.

4. See the Other Side

When something bothers you it can sometimes feel as if you are being “attacked” or as if the person is doing this on purpose.  Most of the time this isn’t the case. Try to imagine why someone might have done something and focus on the positive reasons. Then approach the other person to talk about what happened. 

5. Be Kind and Understanding

You may disagree at times, but remember to be kind.  Au Pairs and Host Families generally want to work well together. Remember your host family may be under a lot of stress AND remember your Au Pair is in a whole new environment.  Kindness is key.