Recently relocated home to UK after 4.5 years overseas and going to be working again, have school age dds. Am brand new to world of au pairs so excuse any naivety. Plan to employ AP from Sept if we can see a way to make it work. Other option is much lower level sch hrs work, if i can get it. Or voluntary work. But career/salary restart would be nice!
Kids now at schools a drive away without after-school club so would au pair be good way round this?
My concerns are the driving ability/safety awareness of the au pair- any tips other than getting older one, decent car etc? Local roads narrow, windy..Not safest.
Also need her to help with hmk, older dd mild SN and can be a little tricky. Both adapting to new life back in uk at new schools. Hopefully will be more settled by Sept. again any advice please?
I think you might need more of a nanny than an AP - nanny with own child? Driving with APs is hit and miss (no pun intended) and homework is likely to be very tricky as they won't know the curriculum/UK methods or necessarily have a great command of the language.
Unless you can find an ap with childcare experience (a rare breed) I think you need a nanny. Once you work out how many weeks school holiday, plus days when the kids are sick you are looking at a fairly full time job. If you have a dd with sn do you really want to leave them with someone young & inexperienced? It is a more expensive option but you get what you pay for.
You'll be lucky to find an au pair who can deal with "easy" homework as they are usually learning English themselves. If your dd has SEN then that could bring with it problems and frustration for both your AP and your dd.
After school nanny with own child? A cheaper option with far more experience than an AP.
I had a summer AP and a longer term one. The longer term one was a qualified lawyer (with standard babysitting experience etc) who needed the language and in some respects the student summer AP was better.
The difference when compared to a nanny is very noticeable.
We find APs over 22 are not too bad to insure. We do a 2 hour driving lesson with an instructor we trust then see how AP feels, get her to drive us etc. Interestingly, European APs (different language and drive on right) are cheaper to insure than Aussie's (same language and drive on left). We never let them drive until they and we are happy. During the settling in period, other parents (and my parents) help out with the driving.
Homework depends on both the AP and the age and ability of the children. Mine are now 10 and 12 and so AP can easily supervise. When they were younger, or when AP English was poor, it was harder.
I recently got an AP after not having one for 3 years. I have found that currently the individuals looking to become APs are older and have considerably better language skills. I interviewed qualified nurses, teachers, vets and vet nurses all from Spain and Portugal. The AP I choose is 24 has a degree in English and is distance learning her Masters in English and French while she is here. She has two years volunteer experience with 8 to 10 year olds in a school. I needed her to drive so first choose a small car a Suzuki Alto with 1L engine. She has been driving in Spain for 7 years no accidents and no endorsements. I sat with her for first few days so she understood the different driving laws and then she was fine. Insurance including recovery was £600. She is able to support homework along the lines of let's get the dictionary out, look on Internet for info etc.
I agree you may want to look into getting a nanny- they are a "rare breed" but some will consider after school care. If not- have you thought of a nanny/housekeeper? Maybe offer 2/3 afternoons cleaning/household chores on top of nannying and may make it more attractive to some.
We decided on an au pair as I wasn't finding reliable after school help easy to find and hold onto, I also needed someone more flexible. We tried an nanny with her own child, and it did't work at all, especially now our house isn't toddler proof.
I advertised for an au pair who was a experienced competent driver, with over 4 years driving experience and who drove regularly and had no endorsements on her licence. When they arrived we arranged for driving lessons at our expense. I'd recommend an automatic, we have a golf (you don't really want your children driving around in a old banger). The insurance is a lot, £500 extra for 6 months.
You will struggle with the homework thing though, although you could just do it in the morning before school if you have time?