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How much of a market do you think there would be for a 'Saturday night Au-pair' in North London?

(61 Posts)
KatyMac Mon 05-Aug-13 21:18:24

DD (15 nearly 16) is studying in London at the weekends. She needs to stay over Saturday night

Would marketing her as a babysitter/au-pair be a good way to solve her problem. She is fairly child savvy (I run a nursery from home)

Obviously this is slightly tongue in cheek but I'm just canvassing in case it might work(& DD's safety would be my priority)

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 05-Aug-13 21:32:41

Not much imo.

Teenage babysitting is popular but with a teen they know/know the parents and only when they need it, not every Saturday, but you never know....

KatyMac Mon 05-Aug-13 21:36:28

I know sad

& she eats loads

GotMyGoat Mon 05-Aug-13 21:38:00

You can send her over here on a free trial if you like!

Hmmm... would she really be happy to stay the night at a strangers house? I know I would have been a bit nervous at that age - even of a lovely family!

I have no idea what the going rate is for teenagers is these days. babysitting used to be £10 a night back in the day.

KatyMac Mon 05-Aug-13 21:40:50

Oh she wouldn't charge

Babysitting = room & board, she might even pay the host.....I did mention she eats a lot

It would have to be someone who knew someone & we'd have to meet them

GotMyGoat Mon 05-Aug-13 21:45:28

There's always a distant aunt or cousin who you've never heard of around... I'm always being told of some distance relative in the lake district who I should go and stay with.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 05-Aug-13 21:46:55

Whereabouts does she need to stay? It might appeal to an older couple who might just like to help out/bit of a surrogate grandchild type thing.

Are you members of a church?

DeepPurple Mon 05-Aug-13 21:48:57

It actually sounds like quite a good idea to me! Free room in exchange for free babysitting! I'm not sure how many people want a babysitter on just a Saturday night but it is certainly worth a punt!

KatyMac Mon 05-Aug-13 21:50:11

Church - that is a good idea!

& maybe Guides as well

Relatives have offered 'occasionals' - but it's 30 weeks so I don't want to take advantage

It's at times like this I wish I'd never moved 'out to the country'

I guess I was thinking it would be like an exchange visit (sort of)

GotMyGoat Mon 05-Aug-13 21:50:43

Perhaps she could be the London mumsnet babysitter? she can hop from house to house each weekend so we all get an evening out with our SO's. She can be the pilot scheme before we roll it out to each district.

KatyMac Mon 05-Aug-13 21:54:46


KatyMac Mon 05-Aug-13 21:55:24

I guess I need someone who works Saturday night (term-time only)

That would work

If I lived in London we would go for this sort of arrangement - so you might find someone. I think you need to target the area near where her course is rather than just London or she could have a long commute.

Fairyloo Mon 05-Aug-13 21:59:09

I love the idea and would be interested but I'm further north

KatyMac Mon 05-Aug-13 22:01:06

Northern line would do I guess

Silly isn't it - there is almost no chance I'd actually do it(I'm far too much of a wuss), but it's a great idea in theory in practise? Too scary!

GotMyGoat Mon 05-Aug-13 22:04:39

I'm on the northern line! It's a very very long line though.

For an 18 year plus its a fantastic idea, but 16 does sound a bit scary. Then again, many families 'foster' foreign exchange students so this isn't very different, you just need someway to check people's ID - I suppose only families with somebody CRB/DBS checked would help?

KatyMac Tue 06-Aug-13 07:41:07

This morning it's much less of a good idea wink

But worth exploring I guess to know that...

drinkyourmilk Tue 06-Aug-13 08:46:16

Shame she's not in Brighton.
I would happily put her up on a Saturday. Though she might think its a bit odd as we don't have kids yet.

KatyMac Tue 06-Aug-13 12:43:25

If she were studying in Brighton you could have her!!

(Un)fortunately it's a top London school & Travelodge won't have 15yos wink

drinkyourmilk Tue 06-Aug-13 12:54:16

Can the school suggest anything? She can't be the only one who is / has been in this position.

KatyMac Tue 06-Aug-13 13:05:13

I think everyone else is Local(ish) - well London

DD is the only dipstick travelling hundreds of miles wink

Karoleann Tue 06-Aug-13 17:11:30

Maybe put an ad up in the noticeboard section of netmums?
Personally I'd lie and put her in the travel lodge - especially if she's nearly.
Its still maybe worth contacting the college - one of the tutors would maybe want the a bit of extra cash at the weekend.

CelticPromise Tue 06-Aug-13 17:16:14

Where is the school? I might go for it two or three times, not every week though. I reckon mumsnet could cover it smile

Kiriwawa Tue 06-Aug-13 17:22:30

Were I still in London, I'd definitely do it. I'd love to be able to go out on a Saturday night, even if it's just to the cinema or have a night off from doing bedtime (single parent).

I'm not there any more though sad

What are the dates? I could ask my (very nice) North London friends if any of them would be interested? Assume she'd want her own room

Renovatinghouse Tue 06-Aug-13 22:55:39

Hi Katy! It's not a bad idea - unusual but not bad. At what time would she finish her course and where in London does she need to go?

mikulkin Wed 07-Aug-13 00:49:09

If I didn't have live in au pair I would defo be interested! I think it is a wonderful idea - you just need of course meet the family before you let your dd to stay with them.

HSMMaCM Wed 07-Aug-13 08:23:41

Is there anyone else on her course who could help (for a small fee). If I lived nearer I would offer, but DD would keep her up all night chatting!

KatyMac Wed 07-Aug-13 11:31:02

grin HSMM

Umm she's around the northern line finishing at 4:30ish starting in central London at 11

I'm still not completely convinced it's a great idea.....but I'm playing with it

KatyMac Sun 20-Oct-13 20:20:23

Bump as it's coming closer and I need a clever solution

Nannyme1 Sun 20-Oct-13 20:49:20

When does the course start?

OldRoan Sun 20-Oct-13 20:58:32

YHA seem to take under 18s? You have to be in a room with an adult if you are under 13, but I've got through to the booking/payment page just putting 1 under-18 in and it hasn't stopped me. She could have a private room or a shared room of women (who would probably look after her!). There is one opposite King's Cross which isn't a fantastic area but would be handy for travel?

Would that be an option for a few weeks until she has made friends, then she could sofa-hop with them?

OldRoan Sun 20-Oct-13 21:00:41

Wait, sorry, have just seen you have to be 16.

Not such a brilliant plan after all. Do you know any studenty types who would stay with her? You could get them each a bed and the student would have a free weekend in London?

KatyMac Sun 20-Oct-13 21:13:31

But wouldn't I have to pay for their train fare too.....mind you it might work- let me think

YHA - I got that far too - she will be 16 soon; but she is a bit wary of a dormitory

I've agreed to just this next half-term 9th Nov-7th Dec <double gulp> she will be knackered

OldRoan Sun 20-Oct-13 21:23:10

They wouldn't necessarily need to be on her train, you could get them cheap advance tickets. They just need to be there for the evening really.

It would bump the cost up, but might still work out cheaper. Or even the two of them in a travelodge room.

petitdonkey Sun 20-Oct-13 21:27:51

Someone suggested asking the school if a teacher would be interested and I think that's a great idea - no way I would want a 16yr old in a central London YHA on their own... I think a family is the only way forward. I would also have that arrangement happily but no longer live in London.

KatyMac Sun 20-Oct-13 21:38:32

The school is looking for me (& I am somewhat of a worry wort so I need it to be very safe)

But I have to agreed 4 hrs travelling 6hrs course - collapse in front of telly, 6 hrs course the next day & 4hrs home sounds better than coming home & going back mind you only doing one course sounds better

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 20-Oct-13 21:39:17

Katy - I'd much rather have her staying with an MNer than in a youth hostel. Why don't you post in chat and see if anyone wants a permanent Saturday night guest/babysitter. If I lived in London still, I'd be happy to have her for the half term. Probably not longer tbh, but only because I like my own space too much! <<others with teens don't get that anyway, so one more wouldn't matter!

Aupairtrouble Sun 20-Oct-13 21:46:24

If I lived in London, I would definitely be up for this if I had the spare room. Best of luck x

KatyMac Sun 20-Oct-13 21:47:20

Aw thanks Chipping - if I could do the au-pair babysitting thing with 3 or 4 than a guaranteed night out once a month could seem attractive to someone(s)

WellWoman Sun 20-Oct-13 22:27:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KatyMac Sun 20-Oct-13 22:46:11

Thanks Wellwoman - I pm'ed you

SoonToBeSix Sun 20-Oct-13 22:55:32

15 is very young to a) stay in London alone and b) be responsible for other peoples children.
My dd is 15 and I wouldn't let her babysitter her younger siblings for longer than an hour and only in the day time.

KatyMac Sun 20-Oct-13 23:01:57


Goodness - In a year she could be on a childcare course and working part-time in my nursery.

I was regularly babysitting from 14; I wouldn't let her do 'overnights' and tbh if anyone said they were going to be a long distance away I wouldn't let her do it. We were offered 1 yr old twins & I said no to that as there is too much potential to go wrong - but Junior school age and within 30 minutes distance with the proper phone numbers and back up plans I think would be fine.

Siblings can be a bad idea anyway because of personalities and familiarity, but you know your children best and what would work for them.

KatyMac Sun 20-Oct-13 23:05:08

I'm hoping it will be good practise for when she leaves home next September <gulp>

OldRoan Sun 20-Oct-13 23:41:50

You know your daughter, and from what I've seen of your posts on here she is pretty together. I think 15 is fine as long as the conditions you've suggested are in place.

I went away to school and we used to babysit for teachers at the weekend (for the bargain price of a night off homework and a frozen pizza) from about 14. The youngest I ever looked after was 3, and he woke up and started playing with his toys (as they had said he might). What they didn't say was what to do then, and when I checked on him he had fallen asleep on the floor. I was so worried about picking him up I left him, and just sat in his room watching to check he was breathing. They thought it was hilarious when they got home, until they realised I hadn't ever looked after a young child and genuinely hadn't known what to do. Then they were very apologetic.

KatyMac Sun 20-Oct-13 23:49:44

Oh bless

She is fairly good with children & quite pragmatic; often the nursery children 'came first' so she is used to looking after them & can distract, distract, distract with the best of my team. She can record accurate & insightful observations - which means in the holidays extra obs get done when we are run ragged. & can normally get a reluctant child to finish their tea with the promise of a story from DD (which is a treat) or a dance session wink

She isn't perfect - but she is pretty good - I think she would have played with his toys on the bed encouraging him to as well or unless a very large 3 yo she would have put him back to bed or just covered him with a blanket & made sure the stairgate was closed etc

It is hard making the decisions but a night a week now (termtime only) will hopefully prepare both of us for next year - which will be hard

Lighthousekeeping Sun 20-Oct-13 23:52:28

Is she going to ballet school? My cousin is looking at me for her daughter next year. Sadly, I'm in the Styx so won't be able to commit.

KatyMac Sun 20-Oct-13 23:57:32

Not quite - she wants a performing arts/dance college. She has a place at a top school for an Associate Scheme & on Sunday she is in a sort of Dance company/training - she has had leave from the Sunday class as she had exams & 2 shows but she wants to start back after half-term

It might be too much for her; but I just had a reference from her teacher (to go with a college application) and it made me cry. She made DD sound so grown up and sensible - I almost didn't recognise her

Lighthousekeeping Mon 21-Oct-13 00:03:48

It's very difficult when all the opportunities seem to be London based isn't it? I feel guilty because I have a London address but flat is so tiny I can't imagine having a teenager living with me. I hope she finds somewhere soon.

KatyMac Mon 21-Oct-13 00:07:25


Hopefully college will be OK - they have college flats and lists of 'digs' where they stay with a family. One college I particularly liked informed them at an Open Day "If they didn't turn up for college he (the head) would phone their parents...& if they didn't like it they could go somewhere els!!"

Teens can be very big can't they? & you wouldn't be able to ship them home at weekends because of the work load

KatyMac Mon 21-Oct-13 17:42:15

Well I have 1 of the next 5 dates firmly booked. Only 4 to go.....

Lighthousekeeping Mon 21-Oct-13 17:54:40

Brilliant. What did you book?

CbeebiesIsMyLife Mon 21-Oct-13 17:57:04

If I was in London I'd do it in a heartbeat. So instead I'll bump this up and hope someone else comes along

KatyMac Mon 21-Oct-13 17:59:42

Lighthousekeeping - a family friend who is happy to commit to one night but not all 5, so had said no because they didn't want to be dumped with her (understandably)

Thanks Cbeebies

DowntonTrout Mon 21-Oct-13 18:10:12

Katy, my DD stays at a boarding house for 2 of the theatre schools. She boards mon- fri but I know they have some who weekend as well and some who stay just the nights they are appearing in shows. I don't know if they would take yourvDD or if it is the sort of thing you are looking for but it may be worth asking?

It is, of course, all above board, fully CRB checked and they take 11-16 yo. It costs £25pn for B&B. Pm me if you would like me to send you their contact details.

KatyMac Mon 21-Oct-13 18:15:35

I've pm'ed

Thank you

holidaysarenice Tue 22-Oct-13 11:51:22

The travelodge won't know what age she is.

If she needs I'd does she have a sisters passport to use.

KatyMac Tue 22-Oct-13 13:31:21

Tbh she struggles to pass for 15 - no-one would believe she was 18 at all

Fingers crossed it'll get sorted - I have 1 night organised only 4 to go

funkypigeon Tue 22-Oct-13 13:48:39

I'm having trouble PMing you! I'll keep trying, hold on

KatyMac Tue 22-Oct-13 14:37:56

I've replied (so it must have got through)

KatyMac Sat 26-Oct-13 19:21:35

Thanks to the people who have been in touch; two nights sorted 3 to go (until Christmas)

'Homestay' has thrown up a possible - but I need to be brave & get in touch
The college have found a Christian 'Hall of Residence' but it starts from 18
A mum from the course is in the middle of building work but might help after Christmas
Her dance teacher has found a Lodging again from 18
Someone has suggested a Boarding House that has children from the shows - which I am waiting to hear back from

We've actually sorted 4 nights out but 2 of those are for Auditions!! So the patchwork is growing

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