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How old should an au pair be to look after a 3 and 5 year old...

(26 Posts)
eleusis Fri 17-Aug-07 16:21:51

I'm not really thinking sole charge here, but ther would be some time in the morning where she'd have to do dress and feed the kids and do the school run after I left for work, and probably some evening babysitting. Oh, and she might have them for an hour or so and supervise bath time before I got home from work.

I'm planning way ahead here. So don't anyone think my current nanny is leaving because she's not. But I'm thinking of next summer, or maybe the following one when I would like for my cousin's daughter to come over from the states. But, I'm not sure if she's old enough.

So, before I tell you how old she is, can I have some opinions on how old people think she should be?

The kids will be 3 and 5 next summer.

DaisyMOO Fri 17-Aug-07 16:23:24

I would say 18, 16 at a push.

belgo Fri 17-Aug-07 16:25:26

it really depends on the girl. Some 18 year olds couldn't cope with the responsibility, others will be fine.

eleusis Fri 17-Aug-07 17:33:25

I should add that her school starts back up on 1st of August. So her summer break will mostly be while DD is in school full time and DS will probably go off to nursery/childminder for bulk of day.

aloha Fri 17-Aug-07 17:38:21

Depends on the girl and how you feel about her. Would totally trust my 15 year old stepdaughter, for example. Also, I did all that sort of stuff at 17, but it's really your comfort zone and the girl that matters. Also depends a bit on your kids. Are they reasonable sensible and independent, or mad as a snake (dd) or have Aspergers (ds) like mine?

eleusis Fri 17-Aug-07 17:46:15

DD is a bit of a handful, but she will be 5 and is always wanting to know when she can go to Chicago and see her cousins so I really like the idea of one of them being able to come here. And DS who will be 3, is the easiest child there ever was. He hasn't really had a terrible two phase, whcih helps to balance things out after his sister experienced them for about two years.

scienceteacher Fri 17-Aug-07 17:50:32

The youngest summer au pair I have had was 17 (just going into her last year of high school). That was two years ago, so my youngest kids would have been 3 and 5. She was fab - was very dead pan about doing household tasks, but also good at interacting with the girls, and keeping to the required schedules.

I think, to generalise here, that US teens can be very responsible, especially if they can get into 'camp counsellor' mode. The only issue is making sure they are eligible for the Bunac visa.

eleusis Fri 17-Aug-07 17:53:16

Oh bugger the visa. She'll be coming for 2 or 3 months and she's our cousin. She can come in as a tourist.

SofiaAmes Fri 17-Aug-07 18:24:26

Totally depends on the child. I was a totally responsible straight A student in high school, but would have been awful at looking after children. Will she be doing driving for the school run? I would be concerned about someone who hadn't been driving long, having to do that on the other side of the road.

alycat Fri 17-Aug-07 18:45:52

Just had a 17 yr ols Finn for summer AP, she was great with my dcs - 3 and 7 yrs.

Can't say all 17yr olds would cope with them btw.

eleusis Fri 17-Aug-07 19:24:30

Hiya Sofia

They'd be on the bus actually.

eleusis Sat 18-Aug-07 15:21:12

anyone else?

OFSTEDoutstanding Sat 18-Aug-07 16:54:28

I was 18 and aupaired for 2 children age 2 and 5. I coped really well but there were other au pairs the same age as me and older that couldn't cope at all even though their children were older. Like other people have said it depends on the person, I wouldn't have a problem with having an 18 yr old looking after ds (2) though I would have to check them very carefully though if she is family and you trust her can't see a problem

MightyMoosh Sat 18-Aug-07 17:15:08

at my nursery I found some youngsters better than the older workers and vice versa. its far better to judge on merit and gut instinct than age as the be all and end all

hana Sat 18-Aug-07 17:19:05

I'd have a 15/16 year old looking after my kids ( and have had) at sim ages - I had a neice staying with us for a week last summer to help me out (was a few weeks away from having dd3) my kids at the time were almost 5 and 19m. She took them to the local library, to the park, got them dressed, baths, simple meals that sort of thing. was a great help to me!

It does depend a lot on the personality tho, you can get quite a mature 16 year old and immature 19 year old

sounds like your cousin would love it!

eleusis Sun 19-Aug-07 11:06:07

She will be sixteen next summer. Does anyone know if she can drive over here at 16 if she has an American drivers license?

NKF Sun 19-Aug-07 11:12:13

I think au pairs are only suitable for school age children. No younger.

nannynick Sun 19-Aug-07 11:18:43

Looks like she can drive, if she has a American Licence. DVLA: Driving on licences from other countries. May be wise however to call DVLA and check, given her age.

nannynick Sun 19-Aug-07 11:24:11

However, thinking about it, I am not sure that you could get insurance for a 16 year old. Contact your car insurance provider, see if they offer it - if they do, I doubt it will be cheap!

WanderingTrolley Sun 19-Aug-07 11:30:41

Agree with nannynick about the insurance.

Agree with everyone else about age not necessarily corresponding with maturity.

I was in sole charge of babies when I was a teenager.

PS Back to school 1st August?!

eleusis Sun 19-Aug-07 11:35:13

Thanks Nick. I'll check it out neareer the time. It's not a show stopper if she can't drive. There is a bus and train that could get her anywhere she needs to go. Our current nanny takes the kids everywhere by bus.

I was just wondering if it was an option it might be nice for her to have access to a car -- even if it was ppersonal use on the weekends. But then again if she drives like I did at sixteen, perhaps I'm crazy.

eleusis Sun 19-Aug-07 11:37:40

Sh is American and I think where she goes to school the summer hols are staggered a bit. So, she probably breaks up in late May or early June. US summer hols are generally much longer than UK summer hols.

eleusis Sun 19-Aug-07 11:38:16

NFK, what constitutes school age? 3? 4? 5?

NKF Sun 19-Aug-07 11:40:43

Eleusis, reception year and older.

NKF Sun 19-Aug-07 11:41:31

Though in practice, I'd probably say older still.

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