– Scroll down for the tips! –
So, the time has come to leave your host family, and it often comes with A LOT of mixed feelings.
Let’s set the scene; you’ve been working with the family for almost one year, you feel sad to leave the children, but guiltily happy to leave behind some of that stressful responsibility (just being honest). You have suddenly realised you need to move your whole life out of the 13m² box you call home and can’t work out how you acquired so much stuff living on so little money.
You’re seriously down about your friends leaving before you and, for those of you leaving Paris completely, your love-hate relationship with Paris has you wondering how you will ever live anywhere else. Then, on top of everything, your host family has asked you to help them find a new au pair. While you want to help them out, you don’t have enough hours in your day to make the most of Paris and do all of the above!
And to top it all off, time is running out…
– Image from http://www.beingcharlotte.com/paris-day-three-au-revoir-paris
Don’t panic! Here are a few tips from an experienced au pair (…me…) to make thing a little easier over the next few weeks:
1. Do extra fun things with the kids
Your time outside work is stressful enough without tantrums, mess and arguments between 16:00 and 20:00. You want to have fun in your last few weeks and so do the children! Organise treasure hunts, do new crafts, make the most of the sun (now it’s FINALLY back) and enjoy your time.
2. Help your friends when they move
Most of the time, unless you live with them, your host family aren’t going to help you move out of your chambre de bonne or apartment. So, you will have to help each other pack, take too many suitcases on the metro and clean the place for the next au pair. Trust me its so much easier if you do it together.. I once tried to take two suitcases alone on line 4 in 6pm rush hour. NEVER AGAIN!
3. Don’t get too sentimental
Do your favourite things one last time: drink coffee en terrasse in your favourite cafe, watch the sun set at the Sacre Coeur, dance at your favourite bars. But remember you can come back and visit. I came back last summer to work for my old host family and relived the amazing experiences from before, some of my friends had even returned to do the same. It’s not the last time you’ll ever see Paris, so no worries!
– Image from https://www.reddit.com/user/kinesind
4. Organise everything!
When do you need to pack by? When is your last day with the family? Do you have a week with no work before you leave and therefore no money? What do you want to do before you leave? If you’re staying in Paris, which one of your friends is “abandoning you” first? If you know whats happening you can make the most of your time.
5. Get the family a gift
A really nice way to say goodbye is with a little gift. If you can’t think of what to get then my advice is maybe a framed picture of the children, something from your home country, a letter saying thanks, or if you’re stuck then just a toy for the children. They will really appreciate it and they know you don’t have much money so something small is ok!
6. If you’re leaving Paris, “plan” your next trip back
Ok, when I say plan I don’t mean book the tickets now. But think about when you could come back and visit, it will make leaving a bit easier if you know you are coming back at some point (even if it’s in a year!).
7. Don’t get angry if the host family are not that upset that you’re leaving
The parents and children are probably used to having a new au pair each year. While this is the end of an era for you, for them it may the same goodbyes and rush to look for someone new as always. The kids might not seem upset right now, but they probably will be soon. Which leads me to my next point:
8. Make sure the kids understand why/when you are going
Having a new au pair every year is tough. The children get attached to a nanny and then the person leaves, EVERYTIME! If you tell them why you can’t stay another year (university, job, family etc.) and then explain how much you’ve enjoyed being with them, at least they will understand the situation. It also helps if they know you leave in 2 weeks (or whenever) so they’re prepared.
9. Help out the host family, but only as much as you can
While it’s nice to help the host parents find their new au pair, if you can’t find anyone then don’t stress. It’s not actually your job! Also, while host families trust your judgement, they need to understand that you don’t know much better than them if this au pair is right for the job or if that au pair is reliable.
10. Sell your unwanted stuff!
Anything you don’t think you’ll wear/use/want again can be sold! Obviously this may be more difficult for a male au pair. Tell your friends and their friends, and try Facebook groups like:
So that’s it! Comment with more tips or any questions, we’d love to hear from you!
Good luck with moving,
See more posts from the editor HERE