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Au-pair to improve son's minority language, has it worked for you?

(5 Posts)
Maia290 Fri 16-Aug-13 22:42:58

We are thinking about having an au-pair from my country basically to improve my son's minority language. Our son is currently in full time nursery, so he is exposed to English all day, my husband is English so it is just me speaking with the minority language in the evenings and weekends. My son doesn't really speak much of my language unfortunately.
I would like to hear from other families who have had au-pairs to improve the children's minority language, has the experience of having an au-pair worked for you and your family?
My idea is for the au-pair to look after my son for 3 days a week, and my son would attend nursery 2 days per week. We have never had any au-pair, nor I have been one, so I have no experience at all on this, and not sure what to expect.
My basic concern is that I may feel a 'stranger' is in our house the whole time, do they spend every evening with you? I think I would feel I am not able to spend private moments with my family.
We have also been thinking about having a part-time nanny (live out) from my country instead of an au-pair, but the problem is I don't think they would stay for long in the job, as a part time salary would not be enough to be able to live in London. So it looks like the au-pair option would be best.

Mendi Sat 17-Aug-13 00:07:05

Can't comment from your point of view but can see problems from the AP's point of view if her/his (I'm going to refer to the AP as her from now on) main objective for being an AP is to improve English. They need to be speaking English regularly at home to do this. I have recently hired an AP who left her last family because the kids were v young and the family only wanted her to speak her native language to them and at home generally. After a few months she had not learnt any English. So she left.

If you get an AP who already has English but wants to be here for other reasons, it could work better

NomDeClavier Sat 17-Aug-13 21:16:25

We have had minority language APs and you need to put a lot of effort into speaking with them if they're going to learn what they came for. It does feel more of an imposition having then hanging around in the evenings than APs who are happy they get enough talk time during the day and spend the evening with other APs or chilling by themselves. Basically the evening becomes learning and practice time for them.

The other thing that might be off putting for me is how much childcare experience the APs has. They generally aren't suitable for full day care of preschoolers and while some people are great and natural with children (playing, interacting etc) some are just hopelessly out if their depth and unhappy, so they sit morosely and leave the child to get on with it by themselves which isn't doing anything to improve your DC's language skills at all. In that case you're better off staying with nursery. Plus it really limits the amount of time they have to attend classes.

swlondonnanny Mon 19-Aug-13 21:22:56

How many nannies are there who speak your language? Why don't you try and see - someone might be happy with part time job or even have 2 part time jobs if they need full time salary

andagain Tue 20-Aug-13 09:47:19

Yes, that is exactly what we do and it has worked a treat for us all. I always get au pairs who speak my language (a minority one) and ask them to always use it with my daughter. As I am the only person speaking my language to our daughter, having another person with that language has worked wonders. We do as a family however speak English at home and I always assure au pairs that we will speak it with her so she can improve her English.

Having au pairs has been a wonderful experience for our family. Yes it is strange to start with but if you have the right person it all fits into place. Make sure you make it clear what you expect from your ap and also that you need time alone as a family.

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