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To consider having a 17 year old au pair?

(23 Posts)
PinPon Wed 23-Mar-16 20:00:02

DH and I have pretty much decided that we want an au pair to help us with school / nursery pick ups and after school care for our two children (will be 4 and 6). The au pair would walk them home from school and look after them on her own for about 3 hours every day, plus occasional babysitting.

There are two au pairs that we like a lot and are trying to decide between. Both would come from the same European country and are keen to stay for a year. One is 17 (would turn 18 shortly after arriving) and the other is 22. We have a slight preference for the 17 year old, as she likes doing hobbies that we enjoy and her English is better.

Would we be mad to go with the 17 year old au pair?

PinPon Wed 23-Mar-16 20:15:47

Anyone? I don't really know many 17 year olds (or many au pairs!) so would appreciate your views.

MatildaTheCat Wed 23-Mar-16 20:21:09

Does she have much childcare experience? That's quite a few hours plus, presumably feeding them and even doing homework etc? Taking and collecting from play dates? Housework?

17 is very young. She may get homesick and you may feel the need to mother her and feel worried about her. However,mif you can offer her good support and be there to supervise at the beginning it could be fine.

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 23-Mar-16 20:23:10

I lived for a year away volunteering at just 18. I was great! <modest> Wasn't homesick, loved my work. Very much depends on the 17 yo.

Justsaynonow Wed 23-Mar-16 20:27:08

Depends on the 17yo - my dd is 17 and would be very capable of these tasks. She's organized, mature & dependable.

I'd recommend you try the 17yo, especially given that she'll fit better, with the language and hobbies. Maybe less interested in partying, too?

PinPon Wed 23-Mar-16 20:29:02

She seems very independent. Currently she lives away from home during the week (for high school) and goes home at the weekends. She has had babysitting experience and has helped her mum who is a childminder. Will be taking up references...

PinPon Wed 23-Mar-16 20:37:43

I'm fairly sure she won't really know how to cook smile. But that's not really a big deal for us.

Think that Justsaynonow is probably right - a 17 year old like MrsTerryPratchett would be fine. I'm worried that I'll worry about her more than an older person.

Matildathecat - it's about 15 hours per week hands on childcare (weekdays only). Yes, a bit of feeding (snack), taking to activities and homework would be required.

popmimiboo Wed 23-Mar-16 20:39:53

Not sure where your potential au pairs are from but lots of kids do their bacalaureate at 17 in France (late birthdays or gifted students who are a school year ahead.) There isn't any difference in maturity between a 17 or 18 year old school leaver, IMO. (I teach 1st year post-bac students and the younger ones are often the brighter, more sensible ones.)
I would have no qualms about hiring the 17 year old if you feel she is best suited to your family.

MatildaTheCat Wed 23-Mar-16 20:40:27

Sounds good. At that age I was very responsible and organised ( student nurse soon after 18) but may have lacked initiative. The DC will probably love her.

NotAMamaYet Wed 23-Mar-16 20:42:12

I was 17 when I got my au pair job in Paris - turned 18 a month after I got there

Homesick isn't something you can pin an age on, anyone can get homesick. I loved it and with au pairs I found that first instincts are often the best

I was an au pair for two years till I was 19. My age was never a detriment to me

PinPon Wed 23-Mar-16 20:46:36

I think she seems fun and full of energy for the kids, which they will love.

I feel as though I'll be responsible for helping her find friends though. We're close to a university and lots of student housing so, I'm hoping that she'll be able to tap into the large numbers of young people that there are nearby.

junebirthdaygirl Wed 23-Mar-16 20:56:54

My dds friend went to France as an aupair at 17 and got in amazingly. She had to mind little twins. I think it would be easier to involve a 17 year old in the family.Also as it would need her first jib she would be all enthuasitic hopefully. I see no problem. At 17 my dd count cook very well as had done it in school and lived baking too.

junebirthdaygirl Wed 23-Mar-16 21:01:10

So many typos there!

Justsaynonow Wed 23-Mar-16 21:04:43

I should add my dd cooks very well - more enthusiastically than me, except for cleanup. Though is anyone enthusiastic about cleanup?!

I've suggested she consider ap'ing in the next year or so as she wants to see more of Europe - we'll see. She (and I) are worried about the ongoing unrest, although dd1 is most likely going to school there next year.

PinPon Wed 23-Mar-16 22:14:17

Thanks for sharing your views. It's nice to know that others think it could work out.

Vanimal Wed 23-Mar-16 22:19:00

Can I ask where you found your au pair from? It's something I'm considering doing in the next year or two and would like to start seeing what's out there.

Salmiak Wed 23-Mar-16 22:26:24

I've found that age isn't a great indicator of maturity/capability with au pairs. Most of ours have been wonderful (including a very lovely and sensible 18 year old), the most teenagerish one was actually 26!

If you think she's got the enthusiasm for the job then go for it, she can make friends at language classes or via Facebook ( Google au pairs and your area name).

Putty Wed 23-Mar-16 22:29:26

It's always a jump into the dark with au pairs of any age. I haven't had any (although I was one, when 18/19. And was totes amazing, obvs. It probably helped that this was millions of years ago and pre-internet so didn't have my face in a screen all of the time.)

I have had friends who had some disastrous au pairs aged 25+ and friends who loved their au pair experience with 18 year olds. I'd go with your gut feeling about the actual person. It's always a temporary thing, whether you love them or hate them. So if it doesn't work out, there is an end in sight and you can move on.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 23-Mar-16 22:54:03

I have had two truest super au pairs.
The first was 17 when she arrived and DD was 4. She was brilliant as she actively engaged in playing Barbies etc. with DD.
The second was 24 and DD was 11. She cooked with DD and went for walks with her to the park.

BestZebbie Wed 23-Mar-16 23:25:38

17 seems fine to me - I had left home to live at uni and done several years of being a young leader in Guiding by a-few-months-before-18, so I am sure that someone applying to be an au pair at 17 could also live away from home and deal with children for three hours a day.

BlueHorizonEyes Wed 23-Mar-16 23:30:16

I work as a nanny / au pair to a rich div lady with 2 small children I'm 23, no experience as nanny but I have a 5 year old so plenty of experience as a mum!

PinPon Thu 24-Mar-16 13:36:28

All good feedback. Thanks very much for your views. I'm feeling more confident about going with my gut on this now!

Vanimal - have sent you a PM.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 24-Mar-16 14:08:38

My DD has a 17 YO friend who looks after a little boy.
She's great. Very mature and a lovely girl (a good influence on my DD, thank goodness)

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