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childminder versus au pair

(14 Posts)
sheepgirl Tue 04-Sep-07 22:42:16

Hi - I am returning to work soon and have just been let down by a childminder I had arranged for 5 mths now. I was wondering if you knew if the cost of a live out au pair was way more then childminder? Also the best place to look?

alycat Wed 05-Sep-07 21:40:57

An AP is an young woman (or man) usually between 17-28 , it is not recommended that they are left in sole charge of young children. They often have little or no experience. All the ones I've employed come here to improve their English, mostly by taking p/t college courses.

A live out AP costs between £5-£7.50 and hour in my area (SE). A live-in AP is only cheap as you are giving them 'pocket money' and board and lodgings.

Having employed 6 APs of different ages and standards, only 2 were capeable of doing a childminders job.

I would not consider one interchangeable for the other.

Squiffy Thu 06-Sep-07 10:09:02

No such thing as a live-out au-pair!

They have to live in and are not proper childcarers. I know people who do use them for sole care all day but you would be mad to do this in my opinion - Au-pairs are for babysitting and school drop offs and playing with the kids, not for childcare. If you want to leave your child with someone all day, you need someone either fully qualified or with experience. The cost is around £6.50-£7.50 net outside of London (you could go lower if it was someone's first job outside of college). I think in London it's a fair bit more expensive.

sheepgirl Thu 06-Sep-07 12:30:26

This whole childcare issue is getting more stressful by the minute now!!! I am now doing everything I wanted to avoid...looking for a childminder in a blind rush as I have 6 weeks before I am due to return to work. What worries me the most is how do I know that all the childminders I am looking at now won't be lying to me (I found out the other CM was dropping off 3 kids to various schools with a further 3 two year ols in the car. There was also discrepcancies in how many children she actually cares for). I feel so stressed and can't sleep at night worrying about the situation. I know I am not the first mum to return to work but I do feel very powerless and alone.

goldenoldie Thu 06-Sep-07 19:00:47

sheepgirl - don't panic, we will help you.
au-pair not suitable for sole charge of pre-school children, but cheap, around �£70 a week live in.
Live out the hourly rate is similar to childminder, have you thought about a nannyshare?

This is a good time to find a nursey place too as all the big ones have moved to school and spaces open up lower down.

tori32 Thu 06-Sep-07 19:11:36

I am a CM and charge 3.10 per hour. In Dorset. I wouldn't recommend an au pair until a child can tell you if they like the person and if something is wrong. They are not qualified in childcare but are police checked. However, if inexperienced they can be problematic in areas such as behaviour/discipline, feeding etc. To find a good childminder ask for their EY number (registration) to check their latest report. If its less than a good don't entertain them. smile

LoveMyGirls Thu 06-Sep-07 19:19:40

It's bad you have been let down and are having a bad experience but we are not all the same. Can any of your friends/ local mums reccomend anyone?

What area are you in maybe a MNetter can help?

sheepgirl Thu 06-Sep-07 21:24:16

Thanks for the support and please don't get me wrong I do not think all childminders are bad. Lots of my friend's children go to CMs and think they are superb. I still think the CM I had lined up is very good at what she does. You could tell she really loves children and when she first met my little boy she just swooped him up in her arms and went off to play with him. 20 mins later she came to say hello to me! She also came as a recommendation from a friend that used her 5 yrs ago. Unfortunately I think she has taken on too much to handle.

I live in the Mill Hill (NW7) area if anyone knows any good CMs. I am going to see one tmrw but she also cares for her 8 mth you think that si a bad thing?

tori32 Thu 06-Sep-07 22:03:59

Sheepgirl depends on how experienced she is so like I said check her latest report. If she has nothing to hide she will gladly give you a copy of it(she has to be OFSTED rules)

sheepgirl Thu 06-Sep-07 22:12:02

Have read the OFSTED report for the CM I am seeing tmrw, she got a good grading. She has been registered since last year. The report was very positive about her abilities but my only concerns was the fact that she looks after her own 8 mth baby.

tori32 Thu 06-Sep-07 22:20:38

i don't think you need to worry. My dd was only 14mths when I started minding and if anything I am stricter with her than my minded children, she gets away with less. When I go on outings they are treated according to their needs and ages and personalities.

sheepgirl Thu 06-Sep-07 22:27:28

Thanks tori32. I will bear that in mind tmrw and not prejudge the situation.

Mean while if anyone knows any good CMs or nurseries in north west london let me know.

tori32 Thu 06-Sep-07 22:32:10

Sorry sheepgirl, can't be much help there as I am in Dorset

LoveMyGirls Fri 07-Sep-07 07:57:38

At the start of the year i had 3 under 17mths and the youngest was 6mths, i found it easier than looking after 2 1 yr old and a 3 yr old tbh.

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