I am trying to think about childcare for when I start my new job in January (squeee!), and cannot decide what to do.
I have 3 children - a 16 year old boy, an 11 year old girl and a 9 year old boy. The eldest is on the autistic spectrum - he is pretty good really, but he cannot be responsible for his siblings at all, and does need someone pointing him in the right direction in the mornings.
I will be leaving for work at 6:30am - I would need someone to get the children up at this time, make sure they eat breakfast, and walk the younger two to school for 8am. I also won't get home until about 6-6:30 pm, so someone would need to pick them up from school, walk them home and keep an eye on them until I get there. Their school day finishes at 3:30, although they could stay in after school club until 5:30 if necessary. So I am basically looking for someone responsible to supervise my children for either 2 1/2 or 4 1/2 hours a day altogether. I can be a bit flexible with this - the children are capable of walking to and from school on their own, but I really don't want them in the house on their own with their elder brother.
So - options I have thought of include: finding a student and renting them a room in my house in exchange for doing the childcare. Student rooms in this area are about £60 per week - obviously I would include bills and food in the agreement, and possibly some "pocket money" depending on what seems reasonable....
I could get a standard au pair... which I guess would be a similar set up, although I understand au pairs will do light housework etc whilst doing the childcare, which I wouldn't expect a student to do.
Um... I can't think of any other ideas... Anyone??? What do you think might work? My husband and I don't earn the sort of money to let us afford a proper nanny....
I had a job like this when I was a student. I had a rent free/bill free room in the house, walked the dc (9 year old twins) to school before I went to college, picked them up unless I had a late lecture (and the mum would arrange playdates in that case) and gave them tea before mum got home about 7pm. I'd do babysitting in the evening by arrangement. By the time I left they had gone to secondary, and walked themselves but I was around in the morning and still did tea. Worked well for me.
I just wanted to add a note of caution about asking a UK student to work for you, in that you'd have to be very clear about what basis you were employing them on, and for what hours. Effectively, since they are your employee, you need to pay them (at least) the minimum wage. The amount you can reduce the minimum wage by to reflect food and lodgings is actually very small (I can't remember the exact amount but it's on the gov website or somewhere official like that). Whereas an au pair isn't paid an hourly wage, but is given 'pocket money', but they do have to fulfill the majority of a list of criteria about being part of the family, taking part in a cultural exchange, learning the language, etc.