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Anyone had a summer au pair?

(19 Posts)
Samantha28 Fri 28-Jan-05 11:24:38

Has anyone ever had a summer time au pair? I am thinking about getting one but wonder if it’s practical. Duties would be to help me with care of one year old and five year old (as I will be very pregnant!). I would expect light child related housework e.g. tidying children’s room, vacuuming, making children’s meals and washing dishes, tidying kitchen, putting away children’s clean laundry. Babysitting one or two nights a week. No ironing & we have no pets. She would have own room and bathroom, own Pc with free Internet access, TV, DVD player etc. Own car available for own use (as we live in the sticks).Does this seem reasonable?

Here are the questions I have:

Do you think anyone be interested in doing this for just 3 months? Or would it be more hassle than it’s worth to “train” someone for such a short time?

Most au pairs seem to work in London or the southeast – would any one want to come to Scotland? (I mean it’s a lovely place to live but far from the bright lights IYSWIM!!!) We live in the country – about 9 miles outside the nearest city – would this be a big problem? Hence own car - its about 2 miles to nearest shops, 4 miles to nearest cinemas or college.

Should I go for someone who speaks English as a first language? I assume there will be no English classes in the summer. Also as we are in a rural area she is hardly likely to find a big expat community nearby.

I need someone who has driving license and is confidant, experienced driver. Is this realistic?

colditzmum Fri 28-Jan-05 11:29:22

Sounds like a lovely job!! Would you consider a student? It sound Ideal for a student nanny!

Ameriscot2005 Fri 28-Jan-05 11:31:16

I haven't had a summer-only au pair, but our last au pair arrived last July, just before the end of the school term.

TBH, it didn't really work out the way we had hoped. She didn't have the initiative to play with the children, so mostly did cleaning (which got her down because the kids were able to mess everything up again in 5 minutes flat).

There weren't any language classes over the summer, and consequently, she couldn't make new friends. She did have friends in London, which seemed to be her priority for the week.

Once we got into the termly routine, it was hard to get her on track with what needed to be done.

If I were getting a summer au pair now, I'd try to get an American or Canadian - our own personal camp counsellor. No need to train, self-starting, enthusiastic, and the all-important driving license.

Samantha28 Fri 28-Jan-05 11:32:35

Never thought of a student nanny! Aren't they all frightfully frightfully posh and want to work for families in Knightsbridge who will take them abroad for the whole summer?

Samantha28 Fri 28-Jan-05 11:34:39

Oh Ameriscot, that sounds good, I have been a camp counsellor so can speak the language. Know all the songs and have all the T shirts. Where would I find one?

Ameriscot2005 Fri 28-Jan-05 16:39:58

You can have a look at Great Au Pair

They don't specifically have lists of camp counsellors - but you can trawl through the descriptions for someone of that same personality (enthusiastic, creative, get-stuck-in, eager-to-please etc.). You can, of course, specify the type of person you want in your own profile.

To get someone from the USA, they have to be a college student immediately before getting their Work in Britain visa.

Candide Sat 29-Jan-05 04:37:48

We had a summer au pair last year to help for 3 months after birth of DD (also have DS, age 2) . I got her through an agency from BAAPA (British Assoc Au Pair Agencies). Nearly all the candidates I was sent details for were university students, the ones I phone interviewed all spoke great English and didn't want lessons.

Ours was Lithuanian & fantastic - spoke perfect English, lots of initiative & happy to do anything to help. She did have specific jobs which didn't require too many complicated/ quirky instructions e.g. washing up, clearing up kitchen after meals, clothes washing (which I sorted to avoid shrinking etc). However she also just did whatever was needed to avoid chaos - e.g occupy toddler while I fed baby etc.

I was told to view the au pair a bit like an older cousin who has come to stay for the summer rather than an employee and this really helped as I didn't expect too much and treated her like a friend rather than a lackey! Ours was quite a family girl - spent lots of time with her family at home and was happy to hang out with ours. In fact we were also trying to persuade her to get out on her own more because we were worried she'd get fed up staying at home with us boring old farts.

So I would say - yes it can work provided you both have the same ideas about what's needed.

Samantha28 Sun 30-Jan-05 22:32:59

Thank you Candide, that sounds very positive.Can I ask if you paid her airfare and how many hours a week she worked?

Candide Sun 30-Jan-05 23:58:46

No we didn't pay airfare (actually coachfare) but did offer a bonus of pocket money for last few weeks as incentive to stay the full 3 months. The agencies can advise you what is going rate for pocket money etc. Their fees aren't too bad for summer au pairs & I think worth it as if you get a real dud, they can find you another.

We live in SE but we did take her to Scotland on hols and she loved it so there's hope for you. Not sure if she could drive.

She was meant to work 25 hours a week (4 x 6hr days) but did loads more of her own accord & I was constantly telling her to stop doing things and trying to force her out of house on her days off. She did meet some other Lithuanians but seemed to be as happy spending time with us.

minicommandant Wed 02-Feb-05 11:51:22

I was a summer au pair about 10 years ago (in France) and have also been looking into getting one now for myself in the UK (making me feel v old!!). When I did it, I was a language student and so my main aim was to learn French. All the other au pairs were similar. I was also in a rural setting and though this was a bit of a bummer, particularly on my day off, I think you offering a car is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC and would be a real draw for anyone. I would have killed for a car. Not only would it mean that they could get to the shops etc, but would have a really easy way to explore the country on their day off (if you don't mind them clocking up the miles on the car).
Also, because it doesn't sound like s/he would be on his/her own all day and you have a 5 year old, there would be plenty of chance to pick up language. So, I would say don't go for someone whose first language is English as the downsides of not being in London, being in country etc are more likely to be felt by someone for whom it isn't a daily challenge to communicate! Hope that makes sense. As I've been looking into it here, it seems to be the norm to pay about £100/wk on top of full board and to expect about 20 hours work for this. Hope this helps!

lisalisa Wed 02-Feb-05 11:58:53

Message withdrawn

KristinaM Sat 05-Feb-05 13:13:24

Thanks lisa - i thought that all au pairs wanted to be in London so would not be interested in living out in the sticks .

Miincommandant - do you live in London? £100 PLUS full board and a car for 20 hours work is a LOT here - thats about £10 an hour. I could get an childminder for that - and they would be registered, police checks, experienced mum (probably) etc. maybe i need to rethink plans......

Ameriscot2005 Sat 05-Feb-05 13:26:50

Don't think you can worry about it too much, Kristina. If you don't live in London, there's not a lot you can do about it - so as long as the au pair is clear up front about the location, then it's up to them.

Agree that £100 for 20 hours is a lot - way above the norm. £60 - 80 for 25 hours (and no extras except room and board) is the standard range, wherever you are in the country.

minicommandant Mon 07-Feb-05 10:16:57

Yes, i've seen (thankfully!!) from other threads that £100 seems to be alot too. i do live in London and forgot to put in that was told there would be 2 evenings of babysitting on top of the 20hours which makes it a bit better. But I definitely agree with everyone else that you would offset the car against a figure like that.

Skribble Mon 07-Feb-05 10:30:32

If you are just looking for the summer a student nursery nurse would love this type of post.

If you send a advert to colleges that do childcare courses you could get a student who is going into their second year. Much more likely to get a confident driver too.

This would be more of a mothers help position anyway as the au pair thing usually requires language study.

When I was at college I would have loved the chance to get experience working with a family. Getting a student means they already had a year of training including first aid and its great work experience for them. The bonus for them have a nice house out in the country plus use of a car .

Im sure you'll get a list of colleges on the web and then you can decide if you want Scottish or try the whole of the UK.

PS Scottish nannies are the best .

Skribble Mon 07-Feb-05 10:36:20

Oh I meant to say Sam28 if you pay min wage minus a little for board that is reasonable. Depends how many hours in total.

Try to get someone who will use the free time do do other things unless you want a bored off duty mothers help moaning about nothing to do.

Skribble Mon 07-Feb-05 10:39:27

Kristina M £100 for 20 hrs is £5ph, board would have to be 5*** to make it worth £10 ph. You get what you pay for.

KristinaM Mon 07-Feb-05 21:44:15

Skribble - thanks for the colleges idea - will check this out.

Kittermaster Sat 05-Mar-05 12:55:12

Yes, this is realistic although you amy want to get a Western European. have a great resource of au pairs - male and female who also offer other skills.

Why don't you try them.

Good luck.

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