So, here’s the dreaded situation. We can screen our au pairs, talk to them, ask them a million questions, see how they address our kiddos on screen, and even check out their driving records, but alas, even with all the driving questions answered, there’s no comparison to actually seeing the au pair behind the wheel in your car!
First things, first! Make sure that if driving is a huge part of the au pair’s duties, that you select an au pair that has been driving regularly for a number of years. Use the these questions next time to get a sense of how comfortable the au pair is with her own driving skills. Also, be VERY clear in addressing how soon you will need the au pair to drive after she arrives and for how long/what distances. If she will be taking the kids to school, explain that she will need to drive on the highway for 20 minutes during rush hour. Is she comfortable with that?
Now that she is here and you have seen her drive, assess whether or not you can do the following things:
1.) Can she improve with an online course and getting a state driver’s license? This is my favorite one with online instructions and a paper/online test afterwards. It is clear and easy to understand for those who don’t speak English as well as a native speaker.
2.) Do you feel that outside instruction with a Driver’s Ed teacher would be helpful in easing her nervousness? Getting her more acclimated to driving in the US? You can hire a driving instructor to give private lessons, or spend the time yourself helping her feel more confident.
3.) If she cannot drive, then you must let her go. My hope is that you will never have to end up in a transition. But, driving is no laughing matter. One accident can break apart an entire family, and where cars can always be fixed with money, lives cannot be brought back. NEVER ask an au pair to drive if she feels uncomfortable or if you do not feel confident in her driving skills.
If driving doesn’t improve, then it’s time to talk about a transition. Take it slowly, and keep in mind that 70% of the battle with driving is knowing where to go! This is also why I do our own little driving test with our au pairs that first month. I even send it to them before they arrive so they can google things themselves and see how much they would be driving and where those locations are in relation to our home! The other 30% is confidence and skills!
Thanks for reading! xo, pooja
Friday, 2 March 2018 6:30 PM