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to wonder if I am expecting too much from an au pair?

(88 Posts)
splasheeny Mon 10-Mar-14 17:14:56

We have one dd, 3 years old.

We need an au pair to get her ready in the morning, take her to nursery (10 minute walk), then pick her up, give her dinner and play with her till we get home.

Dd goes to preschool during school hours, and we are usually out of the house from 7.30am till 6/7pm. We ask for very little in terms of housework.

Our new au pair is leaving us after a week as she can't cope.

Dd is sensitive to change, so to be fair her behaviour has been worse the past week, but I was hoping the au pair would try a bit longer before giving up. We have had a good handover period and provided lots of support.

What do you think is reasonable to expect from an au pair?

Writerwannabe83 Mon 10-Mar-14 17:17:09

What is it that she can't cope with??

It sounds very dramatic on her part if she feels this way after only a week?

Is this her first experience of being an Au Pair?

BrianTheMole Mon 10-Mar-14 17:18:43

Crikey, it doesn't sound like a huge amount to do.

SilverDragonfly1 Mon 10-Mar-14 17:18:51

Doesn't sound like you are asking too much, but does sound like she is spending a lot of time alone in a strange country- that might be the root of the problem.

splasheeny Mon 10-Mar-14 17:22:57

She says she doesn't feel like dd likes her and can't cope with her behaviour. I have tried talking to her and reassuring her that this just takes some time.

She was an au pair before, looking after similar ages.

I was hoping she would go to language school during the day and make friends.

Quinteszilla Mon 10-Mar-14 17:23:32

So 1.5 hours in the morning (providing dd gets up when you leave) and nearly 4 hours sole care in the afternoon, including getting out of bed, fed and dressed for nursery, and from 3 pm home, cook her dinner, and play with her?

You know au pairs are young students on a cultural exchange, bed and board in exchange of light child care, usually 25 hours per week?
Mostly this spreads out to 2 1/2 hours in the morning assisting mum, and then perhaps 2 1/2 hours after nursery.

What do you expect from her in terms of house work, and how old is the au pair? Does she attend a language course?

In my view, you need a nanny.

LIZS Mon 10-Mar-14 17:24:15

Have you arranged things for her to do in the daytime , like an ESOL course ? She sounds bored and isolated, had she any previous experience, references ?.

TheSmallClanger Mon 10-Mar-14 17:25:30

I would class that as too much time in sole charge, by herself, especially as you are hinting that your DD has some quite challenging behaviour sometimes.

splasheeny Mon 10-Mar-14 17:29:26

Lizs I was trying to organize a course for her. She is leaving before I could!

SilverDragonfly1 Mon 10-Mar-14 17:33:46

I was thinking maybe a day nursery would be a better option, but appreciate this would likely be more expensive- I have no experience of au pairs, but the going wage seems to be 70-100£ depending on where you live. Bit hard for her to get out and about on that kind of money as well.

I don't think either of you are unreasonable, it's just a bad fit on this occasion. Next time you will know what to ask about in interviews and what might be set in place socially for when the au pair arrives.

OddFodd Mon 10-Mar-14 17:39:18

That is a lot of sole care time every day and a lot of responsibility. More like a nanny job really. If you can't afford that, have you considered a day nursery with an AP to cover the morning and to collect her from the nursery instead?

Innogen Mon 10-Mar-14 17:42:24

She might just not like the job, or England very much. Or you.

Not asking too much, but childcare doesn't suit everyone. It might work better for her with another family. Sometimes you have to try to find out.

alsmutko Mon 10-Mar-14 17:42:40

Maybe a child minder would be better? Ask around - there may be someone who can pick up dd.
My sister, a qualified nanny/nursery nurse, used to say if she had childre she would always choose a child minder over a day nursery or a nanny.

Jess03 Mon 10-Mar-14 17:45:10

I think that's a lot for an au pair, also long hours away from your dd, can neither of you stagger your work so that one parent spends a bit longer with dd either side of the day? Otherwise a nanny is a better idea, someone who will build a longer term rlnsp with dd. is the au pair saying the hours are too long or the dd is too badly behaved?

FreckledLeopard Mon 10-Mar-14 17:47:24

I don't think that's too much to ask for an au pair. We've had five au pairs and learned that it's pot luck how they'll work out. Some have apparently 'good' references and experiences and are crap. Some are young, have no experience and are brilliant.

Just chalk it up to experience and find another one!

splasheeny Mon 10-Mar-14 17:48:25

The hours is 25 a week, some days we are home sooner than others, I thought this was standard hours for an aupair.

I am just wondering what we will do as she is giving us very little notice about leaving. Also what are we doing wrong? I have tried to make her feel welcome and treat her well.

WipsGlitter Mon 10-Mar-14 17:48:49

What time does pre-school end? It does sound a long time in the afternoon / evening.

LIZS Mon 10-Mar-14 17:49:52

If she has only been with you a week how long did you spend settling her in ? Had she worked in the area before or is it all new to her?

splasheeny Mon 10-Mar-14 17:53:04

Lizs basically the entire week. After the first day alone with dd she said she couldn't cope.

She has lots of childcare experience and relevant qualifications and has previously worked as an au pair.

ChoudeBruxelles Mon 10-Mar-14 17:54:14

It sounds like long stretches alone with your dd. maybe they both needed a bit more time settling in with you around. We are thinking about an ap for ds (7) and I wouldn't expect them to look after him initially, at least, for that long on their own.

Innogen Mon 10-Mar-14 17:55:00

Splash, this is probably just a diplomatic way of telling you she's not getting on with your family in comparison to her last.

It's not your fault. Just didn't click. Can't win them all.

TheScience Mon 10-Mar-14 17:58:33

It does sound like a fair amount of sole care, but ok I think so long as you aren't expecting any housework or lots of activities.

splasheeny Mon 10-Mar-14 19:27:12

So it seems a 50/50 split. Do some people think only sahms should have au pairs if they don't do sole care?

This has make me seriously think about childcare but I doubt a nanny would be interested in so few hours. I'm also loathe to withdraw dd from her great preschool.

What is really a pain is that au pair is giving us less than 3 days notice of her departure.

TruffleOil Mon 10-Mar-14 19:29:33

How many hours is your daughter in nursery?

Roseformeplease Mon 10-Mar-14 19:31:10

We had au pairs and had several good and one terrible. The idea is a good one and the hours you are asking her for don't seem much at all really, to me. Ours did 8-9.30 and then 1.30 until about 4 with every weekend off and a couple of hours of light housework now and then.

Try again! Get a more can do au pair!

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