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To sack my au pair over this issue

(111 Posts)
puffyisgood Sun 04-Feb-18 20:21:56

Have had an pair for a few months, looks after our kids aged 4 & 6 for c an hour in the morning before school & c three hours in the evening.

Been a little disappointed with her for a few reasons... In a nutshell she's not very good at either of her two main jobs, namely: (1) preparing tea for the kids - it's nearly always just a ham sandwich that they quite often don't finish for whatever reason; and (2) washing & looking after the kids' clothes - it just never seems to get done in time]. But at au pair rates you don't expect to get the best of the best, I've been planning to soldier on.

In the week something bad happened that's made me seriously consider the au pair's position. We were out for a couple of hours so she was babysitting, got a text saying there was an emergency, got back & the kids' bathtime had somehow led to several litres [maybe even gallons, it was a lot of water] being thrown out of the bath onto the floor, much of it eventually staining the ceiling of the room below.

All agreed that the kids [mostly the 4 year old] threw the water out using a jug we keep in their for hairwashing. They've been disciplined for this.

In terms of why the au pair didn't notice/stop them, she said that they locked her out of the room [which doesn't sound at all like them], they say she disappeared for a long time, which sounds much more likely TBH.

How serious do mumsnetters think leaving kids of that age [not babies, I doubt there's an incredibly serious drowning risk] . But for her not to hear the racket they no doubt made when chucking all this water around I should think she must have been several rooms away and/or inappropriately absorbed in something. I'll often leave the kids alone in the bath whilst i dash off to grab a towel or something, but only ever for amounts of time best measured in seconds rather than minutes.

How serious does this sound??

Trinity66 Sun 04-Feb-18 20:25:15

Pretty serious, I would sack her for that. Those kids are very young to be left in the bath alone for a long period of time

Fudgesauce Sun 04-Feb-18 20:25:57

That is really serious. Anything can happen during bath time, like you I would leave them briefly to get a towel,but they should be supervised at all times. I would suggest hiring a new au pair.

Unhomme Sun 04-Feb-18 20:28:03

I think the au pair probably feels you're using them as an underpaid nanny and you need to revisit what au pairs are for. You seem unreasonable to me.

Does she work every day?

Birdsgottafly Sun 04-Feb-18 20:28:34

Its not just in the bath, what if one had tried to get out, slipped and had a head injury.

A teenage babysitter would be more responsible.

Bambamber Sun 04-Feb-18 20:28:52

Locking her out the room may not sound like them, but I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if they behaved differently for her than they do for you, especially if she's not very good at asserting herself.

My first though reading that was that she popped out the room to do something, took a while so the kids locked her out for a laugh. And in the meantime made one he'll of a mess. But obviously you know your kids better than anyone.

I don't know much about au pairs but it sounds as though her work isn't meeting your expectations so I would get rid. I certainly wouldn't be happy if I expected someone to supervise my children in the bath and they either left the room for a long time, or left the room long enough to be locked out. I wouldn't leave my kids in the care of someone I had no confidence in

Waffles80 Sun 04-Feb-18 20:29:52

Sack her immediately.

Birdsgottafly Sun 04-Feb-18 20:31:14

Unhomme, Au Pair duties include babysitting and what the OP has described?

babyccinoo Sun 04-Feb-18 20:32:36

That sounds really dangerous, especially leaving the 4yo.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 Sun 04-Feb-18 20:34:15

I think that's a sackable offfence to be honest

Unhomme Sun 04-Feb-18 20:35:24

I get that...but it didn't read to me like that.

I agree with PP that the kids might behave differently for the au pair.

user1493413286 Sun 04-Feb-18 20:35:32

I’d take that very seriously; that could have been really dangerous and based on the fact that she’s not really getting the simple jobs done it doesn’t sound likes she’s very diligent

Jdabbers Sun 04-Feb-18 20:36:15

I think you should let her move on, besides this incident it sounds like she's not meeting your expectations so why continue?

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sun 04-Feb-18 20:36:18

How did children in the bath managed to close and lock the bathroom door? And if the door is locked is it really not possible to regain entry? (Dd was able to lock and unlock our bathroom door from the outside with the aid of a Peppa Pig hair clip at the age of 3.5.)

I have a 4 y.o. and a 7 y.o and would only leave them long enough to grab a towel.

Handsfull13 Sun 04-Feb-18 20:38:17

Definitely sackable. A child shouldn't be able to lock an adult out of a bathroom. If it was me looking after someone else's children and I was locked out while they were in the bath I would have panicked, knocked the door down and apologised later for breaking it.
Even if she had just left the room for a minute they wouldn't have been able to get that much water out of the tub.
I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving her alone with my children.

LEMtheoriginal Sun 04-Feb-18 20:39:50

I'd fire her because you do not leave children alone in the bath however I was under the impression an au pair was a mother's help and not supposed to leave them in the sole charge of the children.

Sounds like you want a nanny but only want to pay minimal wages.

MyBrilliantDisguise Sun 04-Feb-18 20:39:59

I'm laughing at the poster who thinks this au pair is overworked.

OP, I would fire any au pair or babysitter who left young children in the bath unsupervised. To be honest, locking someone out of the room doesn't seem like something a child that age would do, does it? Why would they do that if they were happy in the bath? And she had to be out of the room for them to do it, anyway.

SweetMoon Sun 04-Feb-18 20:40:18

Sounds pretty iffy. If I were you I'd start looking for a new au pair.

Lalliella Sun 04-Feb-18 20:40:43

Sack her. For that and the ham sandwich thing. Do you want your kids to have a higher risk of bowel cancer?

YearOfYouRemember Sun 04-Feb-18 20:43:22

Instant firing for the leaving the room. If a parent leaves their child in the bath - it's always only for seconds to get a towel, - that's one thing, their child, their choice but a child carer doing it is not on. You don't take risks with someone else's child.

Greensleeves Sun 04-Feb-18 20:44:01

I have never had an au pair so am not well versed in what is and isn't an appropriate workload for one - but I would expect my 15yo ds to be more responsible than that if trusted to babysit children that age. No way should she have left them unattended in the bath at all. And a ham sandwich for dinner, every day? She's phoning it in. Get rid of her.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 Sun 04-Feb-18 20:44:32

I see no evidence of the OP exploiting the au pair. An au pairs job description includes 2 nights babysitting per week

underneaththeash Sun 04-Feb-18 20:45:36

Unhomme - the au pair is working 4 hours a day, why would she feel underpaid? You don't even know how much pocket money she's getting.
Everything the OP has said so far is well within any au pair role.

Anyway, she clearly isn't coping with the children, so you need to suggest that she finds another family (you can't sack her as she's not employed), just give her a couple of weeks notice that you're no longer able to host her and wish her well.

Ohyesiam Sun 04-Feb-18 20:47:22

I'm not that " on it " with safety stuff, lots of things that other people seen to worry about just seemed unlikely to me when my kids were small. But the possibility of one of them slipping and banging their head in the bath always seemed highly likely, so I always supervised.
You could go down two routes:
Suggest a dozen different meals and ask her to rotate them. Explain rationale for what needs to be supervised. Be really explicit about what you need her to do, and how. Which you may of course have already done, in which case option 2,
Sack her.

Chugalug Sun 04-Feb-18 20:47:25

No second chances...this was your 4 year old she left alone in your bath..not acceptable.

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