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Au Pair Starting at the end of the month(12 Posts)
Hi, I have got a new AP starting at the end of August she's coming from France. It will be the first time that i will be having a AP in the house (previously my children have been looked after by relatives). Is there anything that I need to look out for or to do to make her feel welcome. Should I establish a set of ground rules etc? Any information/advice would be greatly appreciated - thanks
Before she comes send her the contract. That way she can read it through and get translations if anything she might be unsure of. Explain any particularities e.g. yes, she gets 5.6 weeks holiday but some of those are bank holidays, and she doesn't get to choose all of it.
Ground rules are a must. Try to create a big handbook of your family routine, the area, what you expect her to do (in detail), general tips on etiquette and childhood, what certain brand name products do.
It's nice if you can make her room friendly and welcoming. Buy her a dressing gown and slippers unless you want her to be shooting across the landing wrapped in a towel, they're also a nice fluffy welcome gift.
There are lots of threads on here about APs, have a good read through them for more ideas.
find out about your local English schools and send her the information and prices (clarifying she'll have to bear the cost). Take a few days off to show her your town, the way to school, the way to the park, station, etc
I think you need to have a think about what you expect from an au-pair. Au-pairs are not nannies, or housekeepers so should only be doing about 25-30 hours of basic childcare and very light housekeeping (making children's beds, washing breakfast dishes etc). You could also get some details about language lessons, and au-pair meet up groups etc. An au-pai is supposed to be a part of the family, but I think it is a good idea to see how much she wants to be involved, and have a finishing time so she knows she is free then.
Kelly, are you a dissatisfied Au Pair? You've said the same thing on a couple of threads now.
No, I have worked as a nanny in the past (I had a great experience as a nanny is a different set-up), and met a lot of aupairs who have had really bad experiences in the UK as they come over here with promises of au-pairing, and then it turns out the family want a lot more i.e ironing, all laundry, all shopping etc. getting an au-pair is relatively cheap, but a nanny or house keeper is a lot more expensive, so a lot of cash strapped people get tempted to use an au-pair as a nanny-housekeeper to save money. I have heard of cases in Europe where families that have done this have ben ordered to pay backpay retrospectively at the rate of a nanny rather than an aupair. It is easier for everyone if the family are very clear about whether they want a nanny or au-pair.
just to add to the helpful message by fractious, I think it's really important for you and AP to have a very clear contract which sets out expectations regarding duties/responsibilities, time off, payment and dismissal procedure etc, so no one is surprised or taken advantage of.
Also the handbook, great suggestion, I didn't do one for my first au pair and was lucky that we got on so well that we didn't miss it, but I'm now in the process of completing a very detailed one for my fourth au pair based around the learnings I have had from the two in between. I have put in here important contact info (what to do in an emergency), general info on us and the house, what she can access freely (like food, DVD's etc) and where it lives, instructions on laundry etc (for her own bedding and towels), info about the city, directions and instructions on which bus to get and how to get it, shops nearby, plus more detailed info about responsibilities and where to find things in the house etc with photos! phew...
We got our AP's a toiletries basket, nothing fancy just some shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothpaste....as these things weigh quite heavy it then gives her some space in her case for more clothes!
Good luck with your first au pair.x
That sounds really good especially the bit about making sure she knows what she can access. OP-You might also want to think about discussing a few basic house rules, i.e if you are ok with her coming home late at night, or having friends over, can she use your computer etc.
Maybe I am a weirdo but when we had an au pair pretty much the first thing I did was show her round the local area, in particular the shop, bus and train stations! I suppose I didn't want her to feel trapped and scared away from home, and wanted to reassure her she was in a safe situation.
I am also wierd.. my priority is to make my ap's feel at home.. we have a nice dinner...pizza, chinese etc.. we ask what they like best! we take them out around the area, beach etc...i supply a basket of nice things, lollies, toiletries... etc.. but my au pairs live as part of my family, not as a employee i guess. That way it works well for us and our ap's generally have become good friend and retuen oin holidays etc.. as do their families!
I have an aupair handbook - it sets out a detailed timetable for school hols and for term time (from what time she has to be up, when she does housework, what time she needs to start walking the children to school etc), house rules, cleaning roster, telephone numbers (me, dh, school, emergencies), useful local info (GPs, bank, supermarkets, language schools, library, cinemas, chemists, website/facebook groups to make friends), tourist info, maps of the area, London A-Z.
I update this info every time I change aupairs. My house rules get longer!
When the aupair arrives, I set her up with an Oyster card (London), register her at GPs, make sure she opens a bank account, show her around the area, introduce her to other aupairs (this info I would have obtained from the outgoing aupair), introduce her to other families on the street, help her to register for language classes or courses, ask her what food she likes or wants to include on our shopping list.
IMO if you write the handbook, send the contract etc before they arrive once they're here you can focus on getting to know them and making them feel welcome.
That way the scary legal stuff is done and dusted but you've fulfilled your obligation and it's there if you need it (or you have as far as UK law is concerned - other countries have laxer employment legislation on APs) plus the AP doesn't need to feel they're constantly asking stuff because you've provided it in written form.
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