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Is this reasonable for an au pair job? And when should I start recruiting?

(84 Posts)
SamSmalaidh Tue 02-Oct-12 17:53:55

I have never employed an au pair before but have read recent threads about expectations with interest!

At minimum I need someone to:
collect 3 year old DS from nursery around midday
take him home and feed him lunch (sandwiches, beans on toast etc)
play with him, maybe take him swimming, library etc until I get home around 4.30pm

Ideally I would also like someone to:
clear up breakfast things/tidy up the kitchen daily
keep on top of DS's laundry
run the hoover round up and downstairs at least once a week
occasionally hang out washing/put washing in or out of dryer
babysit once a week
maybe do a few hours on a Saturday morning every month or two so we can lie-in

Does this sound reasonable for an au pair?

I need someone to start doing childcare probably from end of August/beginning of September 2013, so was thinking they would arrive mid August to give them time to settle in. We will be away all of July 2013. With that in mind when should I start recruiting, and should I invite candidates for a trial weekend?

LadyHarrietdeSpook Thu 04-Oct-12 10:36:59

It would be great to be able to take someone with quite basic English to advanced intermediate in a year.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Thu 04-Oct-12 10:52:40

It's certainly much easier for the HOST FAMILY to employ a well off au pair who already speaks English. It is in no way the moral high ground to stick to this population of young people looking to find an AP role.

DowagersHump Thu 04-Oct-12 11:16:11

Interesting point Harriet. That's exactly to me what having an AP is about though (the way you're thinking about it) - making it a really mutually beneficial relationship rather than an employer/employee one.

That to me is why APs are so much cheaper than other forms of childcare - that they're getting something out of it over and above childcare experience.

dikkertjedap Thu 04-Oct-12 11:37:33

I agree that it is really important that the au pair gets something out of it.

We have had lots of au pairs, many came from families where a university degree would not necessarily be considered. Several have enrolled in university after having stayed with us for a 1 to 2 year period. We are still in touch with all bar one. Many still come over at least once a year.

I think it is very rewarding to have a young person in your house to whom you can make a difference and who makes a difference to your life and especially the children's, as well.

We tend to take our au pairs with us on all our trips (unless they really don't want but that has never happened yet), including abroad, not really for any childcare purpose (because we prefer to look after our kids when we are on Holiday) but because it gives them opportunities which they otherwise may never have.

ProudNeathGirl Thu 04-Oct-12 13:12:38

For comparison - our au-pair (10 years ago) got the kids ready for school, with the help of DH, after I had left for work. She then walked them the 10 mins to school. The day was her own, to attend classes, meet friends, as she wished, but we expected her to keep both DDs bedrooms clean and tidy (and her own), and to hoover, iron, dust and generally tidy up round the house occasionally - she was allowed to do this when she wanted during the week, as long as it was done (we aren't big on housework in our house! smile)
She collected the DDs from school at 3.20pm and looked after them until I or DH got home. One day a week she took them to swimming lessons after school. Very occasionally, when we were both late home from work, she cooked a simple and light tea for DDs.

She baby sat one fixed evening a week, and occasionally a couple of times a week. We didn't pay extra for that, but if she already had plans on an evening we needed a baby sitter, we would allow her to invite her friends round.
For really good au pairs, who integrated with the family, and did extra stuff without being asked, we rewarded them by paying for bus fair home for a holiday a few times a year (most of them were Czech, Slovak or Polish).

The au pair system is great - we made a few life long friends of our au pairs, and have been to visit them in their home countries whilst on holday.

jumpingjane Fri 05-Oct-12 20:17:24

I think it sounds fine apart from possibly the Fri eve/ Sat morning. Do you mean every Fri/ Sat or just once a month or so? Every week would be unreasonable as she will want to socialise/ go away for the full weekend.

SamSmalaidh Fri 05-Oct-12 20:46:41

Thanks everyone for your input, it's been very interesting to read so many different views.

I think we're going to offer the position as 11.30am-4.15pm 4 days, with one day 10.30am-4.15pm with the extra hour child-free to put a wash on/put clothes away/tidy and hoover DS's room (or as much as can be done in an hour!). It will still involve 4.5 hours of sole charge childcare a day but DH will be in the house and on hand if necessary. Also going to include one night babysitting a week, though we may not use it, but it could be a Friday or Saturday.

I'm planning to start looking in May I think.

DowagersHump Fri 05-Oct-12 21:27:32

I think that sounds fine, Sam. You didn't mention in your OP that your DH would be working from home and while I understand that does mean that he's working, it does mean that your AP won't be sole charge in the sense that there is no one there in case things go tits up.

I work from home a lot of the time - I don't need to be here for DS's sake but it was an added reassurance when his babysitter/nanny first started working for us smile

Rasher38 Sun 07-Oct-12 12:06:23

If you are really clear in your advertisement what you need and what you can compromise on - then you will get a guage on interest. Given economic difficulties elsewhere in Europe many people are looking at au pair options that might not previously have done so. This is about them using a 'lean' year work wise to usually boost their English skills. With aupairing its really about getting the right match - you have your wish list and the au pair will have theirs - if you pay attention to this then you both come out of it a winner. I found recruiting this year that there were alot of people looking who were excellent candidates. Be clear what you have to offer too - if you are in a city thats a bonus; how much of a social life will they easily access etc. Given you know when you want them I wouldnt be opposed to recruiting earlier as people do look with a view to forward planning. Although too early and they might say yes but be a no show, good luck with it

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