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Are all au pairs this crap?

(20 Posts)
FloralWellies Tue 18-Dec-12 18:52:40

I would think the bigger issue is the children being away from their Dad and they are acting up because of their emotions.

Can you not get some sort of family counselling to get to the root of the issues?

How often do they see their Dad?

Well the kids will be off school at the end of the week, I thought Au pairs were only allowed to work about 5 hours per day; what are the arrangements for the holidays?

NatashaBee Tue 18-Dec-12 18:47:21

According to the OP, the husband left recently, Strix

Strix Tue 18-Dec-12 18:39:16

I would give her a written warning and one last chance. When i sat down with her to explain the seriousness of the situation i would also give her a list of the things i expected to be done when i walk through the door each evening at x oclock.

I have three children and an "au pair". My children are 9, 7, and just barely 2. When i walk in everyone has had dinner, teeth brushed, in pyjamas, and 2 yr old is in bed. Mine does have some nannying experience under her belt. But she is lovely. Her only flaw is that she spends too much time doing work she should probably be getting the kids to do for themselves. But, it all gets done.

I would also make charts of chores for kids, kitchen cleaning rota maybe? They are a bit old for star charts, but not too old to be expected to be accountable for their actions.

I guess x husband is not helpful/involved?

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 18-Dec-12 09:48:42

There is definitely an element of crapness here. She should have tidied the books if only for personal pride. That is an extraordinary thing to have left undealt with.

There is also no reason to leave a bath filled with dirty water or biro on the wall and her just sitting there.

Normally good kids can start to act up if they smell blood - I can tell you from experience as I was a CRAP TEFL teacher and the secondary school kids had me for breakfast. They were delightful for everyone else, really.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't be having a word with them - they clearly do need to recognise they have to behave for her - but children of their ages will still act out of course and they've been through a lot.

It does sound like you may have hired an inexperienced AP into a difficult situation that even an adult who knows them might have struggled with.

Can you put an ad up for an after school nanny? And see what shakes out? Or do you need help in the am too?

LightHousekeeping Tue 18-Dec-12 02:03:25

How many hours is she looking after them for?

Welovecouscous Tue 18-Dec-12 02:00:32

We've had 2 amazing ap - both recruited via an agency, both early - mid 20s.

I think your kids are just displaying stress generally and the behaviour is obviously not age appropriate or normal for them.
As things settle down I would think the behaviour might just resolve.

I think a few very clear instructions to ap are in order - eg bath to be sorted, suggested evening activities to do with 8 year old - crafts, DVDs etc maybe?

Hope you are having a nice brew sounds like you are doing a great job in tough circumstances.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Tue 18-Dec-12 01:37:52

Well you could take MIL's approach. After DH and his feral siblings had seen off 3 au pairs with their appalling behaviour, she told them that if they didn't improve with the next one, they'd all be off to boarding school.......and she followed through on that grin

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 18-Dec-12 01:27:37

Would after school club or a childminder work?

Au pairs are generally young, unqualified and inexperienced, which is why you can pay them so little. They're probably not able to deal with 3 children acting out as a result of emotional upset, which is what it sounds like it is. What did you do for childcare prior to the au pair coming?

If you are going to try another au pair I would look for someone older and more experienced than your typical au pair.

AngelOfBeth Tue 18-Dec-12 01:23:10

Thanks guys; nooka, what you've said makes a lot of sense. And Linerunner; you're right. I'm going to give her one last chance and talk to all of them in the morning.

Thanks for all of you help!

AngelOfBeth Tue 18-Dec-12 01:20:00

Thanks for your responses. I agree that they should know better, and they don't behave like that with anyone else. I've spoken to the au pair about the behaviour before, and she says she's happy here and that she can deal with it. She seems to leave them alone a lot, so perhaps they're just feeling that they've got more freedom than they've ever had before so they're taking avantage. I've spoken to the children about their behaviour (on a daily basis as these issues arise) and have punished them. I've also spoken to the au pair about that, and she says she's on board with enforcing no computer, etc when I'm not there after school.

I can't give up my job as I'm tied into a contract, but clearly this can't go on. Would you persist with the same au pair, or try something else? I can't afford a nanny and can't afford not to work. Not sure what to do, so any practical advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

nooka Tue 18-Dec-12 01:14:14

If the arrival of the au pair has coincided with the departure of your husband then I'd suspect that the children's behaviour has deeper roots than the crapness of the au pair (although she may very well be crap too).

I'd make arrangements for the au pair to move on and have a serious conversation with the children about why they are behaving so badly. For that level of destructiveness I really think there is more to the situation than just lack of supervision, ad I think you need to understand that before you get another au pair in to help (or look for an alternative perhaps).

LineRunner Tue 18-Dec-12 01:09:40

Read them all the riot act. All of them. If she stays, fine. If she goes, fine.

But that's just bonkers behaviour from all of them.

And make them tidy the books into nice piles.

DoctorAnge Tue 18-Dec-12 01:05:24

8, 9 and 11 should know better that write on walls and wreck furniture.

AngelOfBeth Tue 18-Dec-12 01:04:08

I completely agree; I've never seen them like this before. They're 8, 9 and 11. Their behaviour is completely different with the au pair, especially the youngest. We've had nannies/babysitters before, and they wouldn't even behave like this for my parents, who let them get away with murder. They're fine when I'm there, but I don't feel I can leave them with this woman any more.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 18-Dec-12 01:03:22

There are good au pairs.

TBH though I think you need to have a serious word with your children. If the youngest is 8 years old then you should be able to leave them alone without them destroying bookshelves or drawing on the wall with a biro. I would also expect them to be able to pick up their own clothes and toys and pull the plug out of the bath.

An au pair is not a trained childcarer, maybe she is overwhelmed by your children's terrible behaviour? It sounds like you need supernanny, not an au pair!

HollaAtMeSanta Tue 18-Dec-12 01:02:04

If your youngest is 8, I hope there are serious consequences for this behaviour, regardless of how slack the AP is...

NatashaBee Tue 18-Dec-12 01:01:01

Is she solely responsible for the children? For how long?

DoctorAnge Tue 18-Dec-12 00:59:18

Sounds like your children are running riot. What are their ages?

DoctorAnge Tue 18-Dec-12 00:58:47

Sounds like your children are running riot. How

AngelOfBeth Tue 18-Dec-12 00:40:54

Ok, so our first au pair, who's been with us about 6 weeks (since husband left) texted me tonight to tell me the youngest of my three (8yrs old) had moved a shelf in the lounge, and that she had tried to put it back but it fell down (sad face).

I came home from work to find everyone in bed and 4 bookshelves and their brackets (they are connected with sturdy spur shelving) on the floor, with hundreds of my books all over the floor. The shelves that have fallen started about a 1.5m from the floor, so she'd clearly climbed up quite a way.

I've come home a few times to find the children watching tv and running round making mess with her just sitting in the midst of them reading and ignoring them. My daughter has said that she often retreats to her room when I'm not there too. I always come home to a bath full of dirty water and toys and clothes out everywhere. Someone's also drawn all over the bathroom wall in biro.

This is clearly not normal behaviour of children of this age who are being supervised, and so I think now it's safe to assume that they're turning feral, Lord of the Flies-style, as a result of lack of supervision.

Obviously I'm going to have to let her go, but am I stupid to get another au pair? Is this the normal level of 'childcare' I can expect from an au pair, or are there good ones out there?

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