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Would an au pair suit us?

(11 Posts)
Haahoooo Thu 12-Feb-15 16:21:12

Thinking ahead slightly to next year when DD (then 4) will start in reception and DS (then 2) will be at nursery.

DH works long hours and I work 9-5 so we would need someone to:

- Do school drop off and pick up for DD (school decision not made but could be a 20 minute drive)
- Spend a couple of hours with DD after school
- Help me with DD and DS after I get home from work with DS (I would drop him off and pick him up from nursery so she would never need to look after him on her own)
- Maybe do some light housework, maybe look after DC if they are ill?

Does this sound like something that would work? Or are our DC still too young for an au pair to make sense?

Also would be interested to hear how much of free time au pairs typically spend with their families. I assume she (or he) would join us at meal times. What about the rest if the evening? And what do they typically like to do at weekends?


Haahoooo Thu 12-Feb-15 16:24:10

Sorry that should say I work 9-5 three days a week.

HRHQueenMe Thu 12-Feb-15 21:22:02

Yes, sounds like a good au pair position. Read up on previous threads on au pairs to get a good idea, there are several lately with lots of good advice.

Haahoooo Thu 12-Feb-15 21:55:41

Thank you! I've been reading a few threads but most so far have been about au pair troubles! But will keep going... smile

HRHQueenMe Fri 13-Feb-15 08:35:27

Ok toptips.
Recruit yourself. Au pair world is a good start. Agencies , yes will do checks but might not choose someone that will suit your family.
Look for someone you think you will get along with and be friends with. Your au pair will sit somewhere between daughter and third adult in your family dynamic so think of yourself at her age andchoose someone similar, someone you would have hung out with at her age.
Culturally choose what suits your family. The Spanish and Italian culture is very different from the English, the Germans and French usually have good knowledge of English but are not confident speakers. The scandinavians are brilliant speakers and dont need english classes but are horrified at some of the English eating habits (crisps!!!! I'mlooking at you) the Dutch are confident speakers and culturally quite similar. Then you have Aussies and South African girls looking for a change of scenery. What suits your family?
Set out the rules and expectations clearly. Log in as an au pair on aupair world and read the ads from other families to give you ideas of what to put in yours.
Your au pair is not a slave/skivvy/girl to hide in her room when not needed. This is an exchange and should be treated as part of the fanily and included in meals outings plans. There are several other posters here who have other arrangements and very happy au pairs sothe key is treat them well, be kind be fair be honest.
Include Oyster card/mobile/ gym membership if you want to and adjust wage accordingly. I pay £85 plusmobile and iphone for example. Ensure any extras are included in contract, i.e return of phone in good condition at end of term.
Get au pair to socialize! If your candidate hasnt got an idea of how to make friends here at the interview stage then maybe rethink. Facebook groups etc are great. Ask local mums who has au pairs to meet up. Playdates. Yet my first au pair was a homebody and spent alot of time with us in the evenings, which we didnt mind as she was great company and brilliant in every way. Its all about what suits you. Current ap is equally brilliant but never home as shes asocial butterfly with a great network of friends.
Its an experience but if you recruit carefully you will have a great one.
Look for eldest sibling in family group=built in skills. Look for previous ap experience. Look for gap year teacher/paediatric students. There is a lot of talented applicants! Good luck!

HRHQueenMe Fri 13-Feb-15 08:40:21

Also ask candidate to bring a crb check from home. If they cant figure out how to do this themselves and supply it then again maybe rethink. (Its got different names in different countries, police check, police register file, criminal records report, shey should know what you mean) . A crb check in this country can be done too if you want to, but takes ages. I have them done and they usually come back at the end of the year as ap is going home.

PrintScreen Fri 13-Feb-15 08:46:24

Sounds a perfect au pair position. As long as all duties (including cleaning) can be completed in 25 hours it's fine. Occasional hoots above 25, for child sickness etc, should be paid extra. It's normal to get two free eve babysittings per week on top of the 25 hours. It's of lovely to be able to go out at night without breaking the bank.

We've had au pairs for several years and how much time they spend with you depends on the individual. They are meant to be treated as part of the family but few want to hang put with Middle Aged parents that often. If you need a driver they will be at the older end of the au pair scale and as I always have 19 year olds I'm not sure if older au pairs are more independent and around less, or around more as less likely to go out loads.

Haahoooo Fri 13-Feb-15 13:42:45

Thank you very much both for your posts. They are really helpful.

It sounds like this might be something that suits us. As we are Dutch and Swedish we might get someone from one of those countries as it will be good for the DC language skills and maybe the au pair would also be less likely to feel homesick? But not essential.

Can't imagine what we'd do with two free nights for going out... We are both very fond of collapsing on the sofa grin.

Thank you again for the tips!

HRHQueenMe Fri 13-Feb-15 15:23:55

Då tycker jag ni ska köra på en Svensk au pair!smile

Haahoooo Fri 13-Feb-15 20:33:16

Det är faktiskt min man som är svensk HRH men jag har försökt att lära mig svenska. Kanske vår au pair kan hjälpa mig med detta också (eller hjälpa min man att lära holländska - det behövs!) smile

HRHQueenMe Sat 14-Feb-15 12:07:47

Haahoo, vi har bara Svenska au pairer just för att ge barnen någon annan som pratar svenska med dem. Vi har haft fantastiska tjejer och skulle inte klara oss utan dem! Lycka till!

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