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Anyone ever hired a school leaver/first time au pair?

(15 Posts)
IWishIWishedLess Mon 27-Apr-15 10:34:46

Has anyone here ever hired a 17/18 year old first time au pair before?

How long for?

How old were your children?

How did it go?

Would you do it again?

Callaird Mon 27-Apr-15 11:19:09

I was 17 when I got my first nanny job. My charge was 10 months old, I was sole-charge, 48 hours a week over split shifts and I was with them for 18 months. Still a nanny 28 years later.

I think that to hire a new nanny/au pair you need to look for a genuine love of children and lots of common sense! Get them to do a paediatric first aid course when they start (you should pay for it and give her paid time off but not everyone does this!)

I wouldn't leave a baby with a new au pair sole charge but if you are around and she can come to you if she's worried then it'll be fine. Guidelines say not to leave under twos in sole charge of an au pair but people do that too.

We all have to start somewhere and I am incredibly grateful to my first (and second) employer for taking that chance with me.

IWishIWishedLess Mon 27-Apr-15 11:28:23

Thanks Callaird some sensible advice there.

Did you have a lot of experience before you began (e.g. little siblings or babysitting)? Was there anything your first/second family did really well that helped you in your job or was there anything you wished they did?

littleladyluna Mon 27-Apr-15 11:35:04

I became an au pair at 18 after finishing sixth form. I looked after 7 year old twins, and I had a younger sister aged 10 at the time so the children and I got on very well.

My bosses invited me to their house for my "interview", then left me in the garden whilst they both "got me a drink". They watched me from the kitchen window to see how I interacted with their DC. It was very informal.

We were in the same country as they were about to emigrate and take me with them, so they met my dad and had a big long chat with him. It turned out to be a wonderful experience and we are still in touch - I was definitely a "big sister" type figure to the children than anything else.

I do look back and cringe a little at some of the inconsiderate things I did during my time with them though - nothing sinister, just thoughtless (so please create a family manual or guide with your expectations!) I also broke up with my boyfriend while I was away and remember a few conversations with my host mum in the kitchen over a mug of coffee, tissues, and lots of hugs.

Callaird Mon 27-Apr-15 16:59:27

I'd been babysitting since I was 13 and had picked children up from nursery on my way home from school, took them home, gave them (ready prepared) tea and bath for when mum came home at 7, when I was almost 15. I also have a brother who is 7 years my junior.

The thing that I am most grateful to my second employer for is my glowing 2 A4 page reference with the last paragraph saying 'Callaird is and always will be part of our family, and 'the boys' will always be her boys' (Easter Sunday just gone, both boys daughters were christened and I am godmother to both girls so he really did mean it!!)

Oops sorry to go off at a tangent! But his reference got me some more high profile jobs.

But treating me as part of the family has always been high on my list of priorities, also respect, keeping me informed (when you finish at x time and they call at 5 past to say they are just leaving the office and their commute is over an hour is so frustrating and disrespectful) letting me go early if they get home early (much more relaxed about working late if there is a problem with trains or stuck in a meeting of there is give and take) being paid on time, so many nanny employers forget to pay their nanny, again so disrespectful.

There are so many little things that make my job enjoyable but respect and appreciation goes such a long way.

DragonRojo Mon 27-Apr-15 18:56:01

I did. She was 18 and had several younger brothers. She was responsible for doing the nursery run and spending about 20 minutes with the baby, while I got home. She was very good, better than me, but hated English weather so she didn't last long. My DS was 6 months at the time.

IWishIWishedLess Mon 27-Apr-15 19:35:57

Thanks everyone. You gave really detailed responses and you've all given me lots to think about. smile

IWishIWishedLess Mon 27-Apr-15 19:37:09

And its sounds like you had lovely families ladyluna and Callaird- I can only hope to be the same!

Springtimemama Mon 27-Apr-15 22:15:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Springtimemama Mon 27-Apr-15 22:15:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QuinoaLenghi Tue 28-Apr-15 11:24:17

We have had three au pairs who were 18 and had not au paired before. Two worked really well and one did not but that was nothing to do with her age.

We recruit off au pair world and looked for someone enthusiastic and keen with some experience on children through running scout groups or babysitting or whatever.

Our children ranged from 0-7 each time we recruited an au pair. Each au pair stayed one academic year but was on probation for the first four weeks. They mainly looked after the older kids before and after school but they have all been great. When our youngest was a baby I thought I better not leave the AP with such a young charge so arranged a nursery place but as the have built experience they have had sole charge of the baby for a morning here and there and eventually their relationship was so great that I reduced nursery days and let them have more money for more baby care.

Most APs are inexperienced. If they have experience they will want nanny pay. I like the enthusiasm and flexibility of a young au pair: they are not set in their ways and you can mould them as you need them (in the nicest possible way!). My eldest daughter loves having a teenager to idolise!

Ours have become like members of the family and we stay in touch.

HRHQueenMe Thu 30-Apr-15 18:30:46

Ap1 and 2 were 2nd timers and had au paired before. Have just recruited no 3 who is a school leaver. She seems lovely, asked some very very good questions and has obviously got a good idea of what the job entails. She is the oldest in her sibling group, independent and well travelled (lots of holidays with friends, music festivals etc, so I think she will be fab. If the candidate and you gel and like eachother when you interview you stand a good chance. She might turn out to be a nightmare but I usually trust my gut feeling and think she will be fab!

IWishIWishedLess Sat 02-May-15 07:16:40

Thanks everyone for your answers. By the way, HRHQueenMe are there any particular general questions that you thought were very good, or was it questions specific to your family?

Springtimemama Sat 02-May-15 09:22:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HRHQueenMe Sat 02-May-15 14:31:39

She asked how it works with Drs, insurance etc. Obviously has thought the whole move through. Also asked how the dynamics of the family and the current ap worked and what the relationship between kids and current ap was like. Was keen to speak to current ap and quick to submit references and police check. In all impressed me alot!smile

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