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Decided to get an au pair, now which agency? Do we use one at all?

(13 Posts)
Vicks605 Mon 31-Mar-14 09:00:10

Hi everyone

I am new to Mumsnet talk, so bear with me. After many months of agonising over different childcare options for my two young children, we have decided to go down the au pair route. We would like a Spanish speaker as my husband is fluent and we like the idea of the children learning to say a few words.

If I'm totally honest, one of the main reasons is cost as the nanny we were going to get was going to cost us about £12000 per year for three days a week in (private) school terms only, as I am a teacher. Could anyone offer any advice on au pair agencies or recommend one for us? We live in Lower Sunbury so Surrey or West London based would be sensible I guess. Have people advertised without an agency and been successful? Any advice at all on getting the right person would be most appreciated.

Also, I notice that some agencies are very clear that you should not leave an au pair in sole charge of a child under 2. My daughter will be 1 when she starts and I know that some people do use au pairs to care for children this young, especially as some of them have lots of experience in this area. Am I being irresponsible to consider this?!

Thanks in advance!


bbkl Mon 31-Mar-14 09:34:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Vicks605 Mon 31-Mar-14 10:23:31

Thank you for that. That's really helpful. I know I probably want it all and guess I was hoping to find someone who had baby experience. A nanny share is a good option though. I'll look into it. Thanks again.

OvertiredandConfused Mon 31-Mar-14 13:23:36

I'm an au pair veteran now. I use I wouldn't do sole care for a pre-school children for a significant period, never mind a one year old I'm afraid - a few hours once they've settled if they're up for it, but not three days. Sorry.

The language idea is a good one - just be sure that your children can understand the au pair, and vice versa, when they are alone with her.

Also, and this is a huge generalisation, lots of Spanish girls are seeing being an au pair as an easy route to the UK as jobs are so hard to get over there at the moment. Many haven't considered the reality of childcare. Obviously lots have and are great, but you need to be careful.

One recruitment tip is to be welcoming and honest but don't try too hard to sell yourself. It's important to be honest. If they don't like the sound of the job before they come they're unlike;y to like the reality when they arrive! Make sure you spell out the perks but also be honest about the duties.

If I was in your position, I might look at a nanny-share or nanny with her own child for a couple of years before going down the au air route. I've also done both of those.

Good luck - I feel your frustrations!

Vicks605 Mon 31-Mar-14 14:37:21

Ok thanks. Yes, the nanny we had almost hired had her own child and was charging £10/ hour net which at first seemed reasonable but when we added everything up it soon became unrealistic for us. Back to the drawing board!

MariePol Mon 31-Mar-14 14:38:54

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Johnogroats Mon 31-Mar-14 14:53:50

We started having APs when DS2 was 1, but he was in FT nursery, and she just did the drop off and pick up. The first girl we had (not for long) was barely adequate for that, without the nursery it would have been awful...she wasn't wiping his nose / nappy changes were poor...

I wouldn't have an AP for FT care for a child that also have to onsider the total time that she would be i/c the baby.

Johnogroats Mon 31-Mar-14 14:54:35

By the way, we use AP by PEbbles who have started having some Spanish APs, but concentrate on French ones.

Karoleann Mon 31-Mar-14 17:17:51

I wouldn't have left either of my au pairs with children this young. However, usually there is a salary compromise with a nanny with their own child (£10/net is the usual salary without a child) and you should be able to get a decent nanny for £10 gross, which will cut down your childcare costs.
Could you try advertising again and put in the ad, that you're happy for nanny to bring own child and salary is £10/net., usually has quite a few professional childcarers who have their own children and you could try there first.

duchesse Mon 31-Mar-14 17:30:55

Hi Vicks, it very very much depends on who you get! There are plenty of Spanish girls with childcare qualifications who would be suitable to leave your children with. It's a question of being realistic about their abilities (rather than what they think they can do), their childcare experience, and the working conditions you are offering. Remember that hosting an au pair is an exchange, so you must do quite a bit for your au pair as well, making her feel welcome and helping her to settle in and find friends. Friends are crucial to the wellbeing of an au pair.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 31-Mar-14 18:07:05

As others have said I wouldn't leave a 1yr with an au pair - they are best for children at school

Nwoc shouldn't be £10nett and def quote salary in gross ESP as a 3 day job so if you get a nanny you may employ one who has another job

Have you looked at term time only cm?

Cheaper option then nanny

Vicks605 Tue 01-Apr-14 19:33:16

Thanks everyone for your sound advice. We're bound to find the solution sooner or later and I am very glad we didn't go with the nanny as it seems like she was overcharging a bit, particularly as she would only be looking after my daughter most of the time because my son will be at nursery.

Thanks again!

MezleyM Wed 02-Apr-14 14:42:12

Vick, I am also a teacher, so only needed childcare during term time. We had a wonderful childminder who only wanted to mind in term time, as she had her own school age children (who I actually taught!). I found her through contacts in my this a possibility? Now mine are both at school we have got an au pair (a lovely graduate Spanish girl) and it certainly works out well once your children are older.

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