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Au Pair needed for 15 month old twins - any advice on how I go about this?

(12 Posts)
twinmama Sat 19-Jul-08 13:06:04

My husband and I have decided to look for an au pair. My twins - boy and girl - have not been looked after before by a nanny etc.

We have bags of room in our home to accommodate an au pair, and I desperately need help. Can't believe I've got to where I am now!!!!!

So I am asking my fellow mumsnetters for your advice or au pairs reading this to help me and my lovely children.

Can anyone suggest website/company to source and au pair, and what to look out for/do/ask etc. It's got to be someone we can trust!

Many thanks!

nannynick Sat 19-Jul-08 17:02:22

What would you envisage the au-pair would be doing? Make a list (and put it on here please, so we can see it) as that will help you determine the area's in which you need help and will help us determine if an au-pair would provide that kind of help, or not.

Au-Pairs are not suitable for full-time childcare, they are more a pair of helping hands for a few hours a day. Au-Pairs are often very young and are here to experience English culture, learn some of the language. In exchange for board and lodgings, they help out around the home.

missiesparkles Sat 19-Jul-08 17:08:07

Au pairs shouldn't really be left in charge of children under 2 years old+are meant to work 25 hours a week.
Is it sole charge help you are looking for or just an extra pair of hands with cooking/cleaning etc?
Maybe a mothers help would be more suited to your needs if you need an extra pair of hands with childcare+cleaning, also as you would be ok with someone living in.
What hours/days are you looking for?

missiesparkles Sat 19-Jul-08 17:09:51

x post, got there before me nick!

ThatBigGermanPrison Sat 19-Jul-08 17:10:40

Make sure you don't leave the Au Pair in sole charge of them, that's not what they are for.

Knowing that age though, I really anm not surprised you need help - but you need to outline your expectatins in the ad you place!

twinmama Sat 19-Jul-08 19:35:01

Hey thanks guys for your info! Much appreciated.

Well what would I want the au pair to be doing. . . . .hhhmmmm, mainly to help me with the children. Just someone else to help me with them when they are awake! They are in a routine and have been since they were 6 weeks. God I wouldn't have coped without it. Think I need to describe their day, then maybe see what sort of help you guys think I need.

They get up at 7am, have milk drink, then at 9am have porridge. After that they have a 30 min sleep until 10am. They then have their lunch at 12:15 and after are in bed for their sleep until 14:30. At 5pm they have their tea, bath and bedtime bottle at 18:45, and I then stagger down the stairs at around 19:15. My time starts then until I feel so knackered I have to be in bed by 9.30pm! What a life eh!! When they are asleep in the day I then clean and cook all their meals, so never sit down until the evening.

Things to help me aside from helping with the children:
Washing up, helping with their meals, tidying and cleaning the kitchen, sweep/mop floor, putting out washing, ironing for the children, hoovering, making/changing childrens beds, cleaning their bedrooms, everything to do with keeping their room and bathroom clean and tidy, light shopping, emptying nappy bins and babysitting on an occasional evening.

How does that sound? Would an au pair fit into my busy day?

catepilarr Sat 19-Jul-08 21:38:40

if you think you will do with 25-30 hours of help a week, max 35 for an aupair+, then an ap is fine. if more, you'll need a mothers help (which could be a young nanny, an ex-aupair 'upgrading' to a full time job etc )

nannynick Sat 19-Jul-08 22:37:28

I don't think you want an au-pair.
You want a mothers-help. Someone who is there to help you around the home with anything you need assistance with. Generally this means light housework and shared-care of children with possible short periods of sole-charge (so you can wash your hair in peace).
A mothers help could work whatever hours you agree with them.
A mothers help I feel would be live-out.
If you wanted someone to live-in, then it is more a live-in nanny - but you will want to emphasise to candidates that it is Shared Care and that the job involves housework.
A live-in nanny/mothers help could cost you around £300 per week. They are your employee, so tax, NI and employers NI will apply and they will have employment rights.

I don't feel it is suitable for an au-pair, unless you only need help at some specific times in the day - for example helping with feeding children at breakfast and teatime, plus say doing some light housework. From what you have written, I feel you may be wanting more than that... thus more a mothers help / nanny position.

Badpups Sat 19-Jul-08 23:01:58

Hi, I fully appreciate what you've been through. I've got b/g twins and we found our first au pair plus when they were about 4 months old and she was a godsend!!

The twins are now 5 and I've also got a younger one (2¾) and we've always had au pairs since then.

The only thing that I ask mine to do in the way of non-child tasks in the home is to do the family ironing - she's not expected to do any cleaning or housework. However, we do ask her to walk the dogs every day and to keep the childrens' rooms tidy, cook simple meals for them and do their washing. She also does occasional baby sitting.

I've had huge trouble finding au pairs who can drive (or, if they have a driving licence, who we trust to drive around here). Therefore, I've never been able to ask them to help with the school run or do any shopping.

I'm currently between au pairs - our last one left a couple of weeks ago and the next doesn't start until August.

I've always used an agency to source our au pairs. I've tried sites like au pair world and great au pair but haven't had any luck with them. A lot of girls don't want to work with children under 2. My next au pair is coming through Childcare international and the last one was through peek-a-boo. I'm always slightly reassured when the agency can provide references, medical checks and police checks although we do check out the references ourselves and always speak to the au pair by phone. Some of them over-exaggerate their English skills and some of them (like our next one) are overly modest.

A good au pair is worth her weight in gold and you'll wonder how you ever managed without her!!! However, (to state the obvious) I'd recommend that you trust your instincts and if you have any doubts about an ap don't go with her however insistent the agency is (and some of them can be very pushy). I'd also suggest registering with several agencies (most of them are free to register with) even though some agencies try to get you to be loyal to them.

1dilemma Sat 19-Jul-08 23:59:55

Hi Badpups can I ask what kind of fees the agencies charge?

stressed2007 Sun 20-Jul-08 21:07:12

is this the childcare internationl agency you used?

twinmama Tue 22-Jul-08 21:15:22

Hey thanks again for all your advice. Have looked at the two agencies you suggested and registered my details. . . .and then came the emails!!!!! Have had to stop them.

It's certainly given me the help I needed.

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