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Is an au pair a good idea (for us)?

(5 Posts)
cantreachmytoes Wed 27-Mar-13 22:45:00

I'm hoping some experienced people can help me! I'm 5 months pregnant with my second child and DC1 is 18 months. We are moving to Europe in two weeks. We are all organised and have a place big enough to have an au pair, as this was in our original plans.

My problem is, that I'm not sure if an au pair would really be a good idea. Due to our circumstances, I need someone (not me!), at least at times during the day, to be in sole charge of DC1.

The more I think about it, I wonder if it would be better for DC1 to be with a child minder or in a nursery/creche a few mornings a week, building up to something a little more substantial over the year (I'll be - hopefully - starting studying again in 2014, so will need more full-time childcare then anyway).

The reason we liked the au pair idea was that DC1 would be able to be at home more often and in his own environment over a period of time when there will be lots of big changes for him. Thinking about the creche/child minder though, it would also give him a routine and a place to be outside the home that is also 'his' in a way, so not sure if it cancels the other out - particularly child minder, as that's in a home setting anyway.

Can anybody offer any advice?

annh Wed 27-Mar-13 22:54:56

How long and how often would you need an aupair to be in charge for your dc1? My initial reaction is to say no. However, depending on where you are moving to in Europe you may find the nursery/CM set-up different to here so that may not be ideal for your requirements either. Are you prepared to say where you are relocating?

cantreachmytoes Wed 27-Mar-13 23:37:36

Moving to The Netherlands. Both crèche and child minders are quite expensive (at least for us!) in the town we're moving to, but I'm sure also good quality! Money really is not the main factor, it's truly what's best for DC1 long term, but obviously if two options weighed up the same just one was cheaper, we'd go for that.).

fraktion Thu 28-Mar-13 01:26:00

In the Netherlands I would go for crèche over CM. Quality there is not as high as it used to be since the introduction of CMing agencies, hence the disquiet in the UK about that.

Depending on how permanent the move is from linguistic point of view it's best to be in some form of structured care early on, even if one parent speaks the language. You realise that there's a lot of vocab and to a certain extent social expectation which is not always present ins bilingual household, let alone one where one of the parents isn't a speaker of the community language.

If you're concerned about keeping up their English an anglophone au pair could be an option but they would probably be taking Dutch classes otherwise the linguistic/cultural side for them will be lacking.

It's complicated and I possibly sound unnecessarily negative given that we live in continental Europe and have an au pair but DS is also in crèche and if we didn't need the wraparound cover we probably wouldn't have an au pair at all. As it is we do and we reduce the time he spends in crèche because she can look after him and give him that one to one home based time.

annh Thu 28-Mar-13 14:28:25

Hmm... I lived in the Netherlands and was very unimpressed with the quality of nursery care there. Do investigate carefully before making a decision, coming from a UK nursery environment I found the Dutch system a shock. The ratios are very different to the UK, the regulations seem to be looser and I found food, activities, sleeping arrangements etc all very much poorer than what is available in the K.

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