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Au pair starting next week... Any advice

(14 Posts)
Newtothisstuff Mon 12-Nov-12 14:40:52

Just that really...
She's arriving next week, we are new to all this and haven't had one before.
Any advice to help her settle in ?

fraktion Mon 12-Nov-12 14:57:41

Have everything written down - emergency numbers, routines, likes and dislikes, ideas for games, meal and snack ideas, how the washing machine works,house rules etc
Sign and explain the contract
Show then round the local area - shops, school, playground, language college if known, closest bus/tube/train stations
Remember to adapt your way of speaking if English isn't their first language. Check that you're not going too fast or using complex grammar and vocab. Stick to simple structures when giving instructions.

Try to make contact with a couple of local au pairs or people round the same age and organise an evening out or a coffee date. Making friends is often the difference between a happy and unhappy stay and you need to make the first move very often.

blueshoes Mon 12-Nov-12 15:39:37

Write down their timetable for them hour by hour e.g. what time they have to get up, where they need to be by when (if they are on the schoolrun), what time is free, when they are on duty, what they need to do in each segment of time.

Even if their English is not very good, often they are able to understand written instructions better than verbal.

blueshoes Mon 12-Nov-12 15:41:22

Set her on the internet asap, hopefully with a wifi connection.

All my aupairs spend lots of time on the internet, and it will give her a familiar point of reference and contact with her family/friends.

Newtothisstuff Mon 12-Nov-12 16:36:49

I thought about doing the time table thing but didn't want her to think I was patronising her !!

fraktion Mon 12-Nov-12 18:01:07

I'd have it there as a reference with the other stuff. Say that you don't want to patronise but it might be helpful so she can use it if she needs.

Welovecouscous Mon 12-Nov-12 18:22:40

Encourage her to join the au pair Facebook group local to you - she will make loads of friends through that smile

blueshoes Mon 12-Nov-12 18:48:04

I don't think you could patronise an aupair by being clear in your instructions. They will be grateful you took the time to write it down and they can refer back to it.

The clearer your instructions, the less room for misunderstanding, particularly if their English is not good. They are generally young adults and naturally want to take instructions and seek guidance from you. They aren't like normal employees in that sense.

Then again, you have to find a level of interaction that suits you, because aupairs are a slightly strange mix of employee and member of the family. I am friendly but keep my dealings quite professional - I look for girls that are independent and outgoing. I know other mnetters encourage their aupairs to confide in them, which I would not do. I am happy to listen and ask general questions, but I allow them their privacy.

Rasher38 Tue 13-Nov-12 01:48:03

You really need to be clear about what you are expecting her to do as when she doesnt do it - its much harder to start writing it down and then it isnt patronising its changing the rules from her point of view. If you arent clear with your minimum expectations then you and she will end up feeling miffed when you finally get round to talking about it !

chloeb2002 Tue 13-Nov-12 04:03:33

we pack an arrival box. normally, local lollies, sunscreen, insect repellent, mossie bite cream, some bath stuff, local maps and brochures collected by previous au pairs...

Newtothisstuff Tue 13-Nov-12 12:44:39

Good idea about maps of the local area !!

I have found that some APs are on the same wavelength as me. Others are on a different planet. Definitely set out your expectations, as clearly as you can. And a timetable for the week is vital.

eg My list had 6pm bath (not required every night).

What I meant was that after swimming when they get home late, there was no requirement for a bath...she interpreted it as there was no need for a bath most nights.

Be clear. And then re-write it to be clearer still!

What about when it is cold....will you expect AP to put gloves on children? I never thought to mention it, as fairly obvious. She scooted home with boys in -5 deg, with gloves in her pocket. DSs nearly got frostbite!

Also set out expectations re food and eating together.

Newtothisstuff Tue 13-Nov-12 16:50:27

Omg that's terrible.. I'd just assume that would think to do that.. I'm going to have a shock I think smile

LittleCloudSarah Mon 07-Jan-13 17:39:44

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