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au pairs and snacks/drinks

(14 Posts)
nvj Sun 24-Aug-08 12:05:38

just wondering what everybody does with regards to au pairs and their snacks and drinks... we have lots of snacky type food and chocolate (some of which are posh chocs that have been given as gifts etc) and we usually have a variety of drinks available like squash, lemonade, juice and cans of diet coke.
i only have one can of coke a day but my au pair is having like 3 or 4 cans a day sometimes which i think is quite excessive?! and expensive so I'm going to have to either ask her not to drink so much or stop buying them???!
am i being unreasonable? it's not like there isn't other things to drink....
are au pairs supposed to buy any of their food? i know we supply meals but can they help themselves to anything in the fridge at any time??????! HELP!

SquiffyHock Sun 24-Aug-08 12:13:13

I can't help as I've never had an AP but a friend of mine was saying last week that her food bill had gone up loads and that her lovely (very slim) AP was complaining because she'd gained half a stone!!

SqueakyPop Sun 24-Aug-08 12:18:44

Stop buying them if you don't want her to have them.

You provide all the meals she has at home. If you are reserving ingredients for something specific, just tell her.

Neither of you are mindreaders.

Weegle Sun 24-Aug-08 12:27:31

If you are reserving things e.g. chocs then tell her, but otherwise she should be able to treat the food in your house the same way as a daughter of yours could. Therefore if house rules are one can of fizzy a day then tell her - how else is she to know? We provide all "snacks" and drinks within the house and on trips out if she's with us, but we don't have anything treat like lying about, it tends to be brought out and shared around after dinner for example, so it's not in the place where she would just help herself. The one thing we noticeably are going through loads of with current au pair is cereal, she eats LOADS!

lindseyfox Sun 24-Aug-08 12:34:54

perhaps ask her not to drink so much coke as its doesnt set a good example to the children if shes having 3-4 cans a day.

if she does like fizzy drinks why not buy some of the flavoured fizzy drinks that are 3 for £1 for 2litre bottles from asda and tesco. Or buy the value cans of fizzy pop.

think its a bit cheeky to drink that much cola. When I proxy parent I never drink the fizzy drinks, I always drink water and have a glass of juice in mornings. I always ask for food to be available

Millarkie Sun 24-Aug-08 13:09:00

We've only had our au pair for a week so I'm not an expert but so far I have provided a variety of breakfast stuff, expect her to make her own lunch from cupboard/fridge (not sure what shes been eating although she had pasta with nanny and the kids one day), and I have a evening meal menu on the wall. We have chocs and biscuits in the house but I don't buy 'desserts' for adults (we have yoghurt and honey, or a choc biscuit, or fruit) and we don't drink fizzy drinks or have any in the house. I took AP to the supermarket with me last week and told her I did not buy desserts so if she wanted any she could choose some and put them in the trolley but she didn't. I didn't mention the fizzy drinks because it didn't cross my mind but I have asked several times this week if I could get her anything when I did a top-up shop and she has only requested envelopes!
That said, we have just needed to go into her room to turn off the electricity (she has fuse box in her room) and she has a huge bottle of cola, a packet of choccie biccies and obv remains of other snacks which I did not buy so I asssume that she is fending for herself!
Oh, and when she came in last night she was carrying 2 tubs of ben and jerry's which she asked to keep in the freezer.
I will continue to offer to buy snacks and puds for her though.

The only thing that I have noticed disappearing is the fruit juice - nanny, 2 kids and au pair were at home this week and got through 16 litres of juice!!! And the kids are meant to only drink water or diluted juice.

Is Coke very expensive - How much would a 4 coke a day habit cost? I would be tempted to keep 'my' coke in a seperate place (with posh chocs etc) and provide the household with a certain number of cans, which are not replaced when they are gone until the next big shop.

A friend of mine gave her au pair a food budget (I think it was about £25 per week) because ap wanted extremely expensive flavoured water..litres of it every day. That might work?

pollyanna Sun 24-Aug-08 13:15:53

I just buy one shop a week which has a few snacks and drinks in (fruit juice, some cheap biscuits and various bars) and when these are gone, I don't buy anymore until the next week. I don't put any restrictions on the ap as to what she eats from the cupboard. In our case my current ap eats the ham/cooked meats quite quickly but I don't think it is fair to restrict her, although I don't buy extra once it has run out.

Having said that, if the ap told me she wanted me to buy her chocolate as part of the shop I wouldn't! (none of us eat chocolate!). If I have chocolate in the house I tell her she must eat it though. (to save me grin)

englishspringer Sun 24-Aug-08 19:04:21

personally i think that you are all being unreasonable - we have had aupairs for the past 6 years and they are to be treated as part of your family - if you had a daughter and she wanted to drink 4 cans of coke a day then you would let her - au pairs do not cost just £70 per week - they are not slaves, they are members of the family and as such should be treated like that. Why would you buy own brand food for them when you wouldn't eat it yourself - that is totally dispicable and utterly disgraceful. I really hope that when your kids grow up that someone else doesn't treat them like second class citizrns. why don't you all wake up and smell the coffee and realise that you are effectively persecuting and discriminating against these girls because they are your au pairs and you feel like you want to spend the least amount of money going.

I ask my au pair to write me a list of what she wants every week - we buy her sanitary products, her deoderant, shampoo, body wash, contact lense cleaner etc. etc.

personally i cannot believe you would even need to think twice about is it OK for them to drink it - maybe you should think about why you have an au pair and whether you are actually being a complete bitch and control freak over something that is nothing.

lindseyfox Sun 24-Aug-08 20:05:49

i dont think anyone would let their daughter drink four cans of cola - its not good for anyone's health. ok if everyone in the family has 4 cans a day fair enought but doesnt appear to me that they do!!

agree with treating them as part of the family but i come from a family of 8 children and one thing my parents used to do if we ate/drank alot of something was to buy a brand lower it usually stopped us having so much or at least it was cheaper for them.

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Sun 24-Aug-08 20:09:29

I au paired 17 years ago and I was provided with food and drink and that was it.

Anything else I bought myself.

pollyanna Sun 24-Aug-08 20:50:30

I treat my ap like my children and dh - i do the weekly shop taking into account what all like to eat or drink.

I ask each ap what they want me to get and we also have a board where the shopping list is added to- the ap can/should write down requests there.

If the ap had told me she only drank coke I would get her some (my last ap drank copious amounts of V8 juice), but not sweets/chocolate. We have some snacks in the house, but not loads - and she has unrestricted access to those (the dcs dont!). She can help herself to any food in the house, the only proviso is that if she takes the last of anything she needs to write it on the list so I know to replace it.

I also write the menu down each week (for our meals - including the ap)and hope the ap doesnt eat the food meant for that.

If dh and I get a takeaway we also include the ap.
i have been lucky with aps so far - I haven't had any binge eaters or those with strange eating habits!

nbee84 Sun 24-Aug-08 21:36:59

englishspringer - breathe! You seem to be over reacting a bit.

If an aupair is to be treated as a member of the family then it is perfectly acceptable to ask her to reduce her coke consumption. 4 cans of coke a day is 28 a week - that's over £10 per week! We like a can of coke or two in this house, but try and limit it to one a day. If you only buy 12 cans (2x 6 packs) a week and the ap drinks most of them then that is not fair on any other household members. If my daughter drank most of them I'd put my foot down sharpish and tell her to be more considerate.

As to the Value range of foods - my teenagers eat a biscuit mountain! So I buy value brands of biscuits. Good enough for my lot = good enough for an ap.

squiffy Mon 25-Aug-08 11:24:38

We have a cupboard of stuff in the dining room that AP knows not to use (full of stuff like olives and nibbles in case we have ad-hoc dinner guests), other normal snacks and suchlike are kept in the kitchen and are not restricted in any way except she knows not to eat in fron tof the kids. We also buy what she asks for in Tesco's even if we don't like it ourselves. I wouldn't get annoyed by the coke thing, but if I did I would just buy litre bottles instead. I certainly wouldn't expect AP to buy her own supplies.

nvj Mon 25-Aug-08 17:13:43

thanks for all your replies.

i certainly wouldn't want my own daughter to drink 3 or 4 cans today, not only is it expensive but also bad for their teeth!anyway i've realised that i was a PMT when i was getting annoyed by it all and am really not that bothered about it anymore.
good to read what other people do though.. thanks!

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