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Welcoming new AP and preparing rooms - hints and tips?

(22 Posts)
Quattrocento Sun 31-Aug-08 15:59:09

We've been working on the new AP's room. We've vaxed the carpets, drycleaned the curtains, cushion-covers and bedspread, washed the duvet, bought new pillows and new towels for her bathroom. Invested in a new CD player, set out some nice soaps, some flowers and welcome chocolates. Am trying to induce the children to make a card.

Is there anything else? I'm sure there must be. Anything obvious we can do?

Millarkie Sun 31-Aug-08 16:06:05

Not so much something to do to the room but my AP appreciated it when I greeted her with 'Hello, would you like to ring your mum?' - (It was getting late by the time she got here from the airport and with the time difference would be about 10.30 in her own country).

We bought a laundry bin and a clothes airer for AP's room (so that she can keep her washing away from that middle-aged bloke's eyes ) and a hairdryer. Ours also has a tv/computer in her room which she uses a lot. So dh made sure she knew how to use the software the day after she came (he set it up so it's in German, and put on an instant messenger so she could talk to her friends, and skype so she could ring them free/cheap)

I'm sure you've done a 'house rules/welcome pack' - we put things like bus/train timetables and map of local towns in her room but gave her the house rules seperately the next day.

And I emailed her and asked to be specific in what sort of things she liked to eat so I could offer her a meal that night - took her shopping with me the next day so she could express a preference for cereal etc (but she didn't - so far she has just eaten what we usually eat).

Quattrocento Sun 31-Aug-08 16:09:29

Yes we've done a house rules and welcome pack, including a map and details of things going on in the area.

There's a TV, freeview and dvd player in the room. She is going to use the PC in the playroom.

Fantastic idea to get skype installed - I've got a headset somewhere so that would work.

Also brilliant idea about hairdryer, I'll get that sorted.

Ditto food - all great tips thank you

caoutchouc Sun 31-Aug-08 16:13:52

Putting up one of those blank photo frames in her room - the ones that have space for several photos is a nice idea.
So she can put up any photos of her family/friends.

A fluffy hot water bottle is often appreciated too, as it gives some comfort.

Millarkie Sun 31-Aug-08 16:14:40

It took a bit of convincing for our AP to believe that skype could be used to ring a landline (cheaply) rather than just another computer..but she's cracked it now

The computer use has been very important as she has used it to search for other local au pairs -she's been here a fortnight and already has a social life to be proud of. (We barely see her!)

Millarkie Sun 31-Aug-08 16:15:50

Oh yes - we put up a cork board for her to pin any pictures of family and friends etc.
Was thinking of getting her a hot water bottle but didn't want to give impression that house is cold (it is though - in winter )

Quattrocento Sun 31-Aug-08 16:22:53

<adds to list>

Corkboard, hotwaterbottle, photo frame

Many many thanks - all appreciated

catepilarr Sun 31-Aug-08 22:25:02

she might not use hairdryer...
a bin, a lamp on her desk (if she's got a desk)and somewhere to put her pens and pencils in.
i think you are very well organised !

MarmadukeScarlet Sun 31-Aug-08 23:08:32

I also have some socket converters to plug into our sockets so AP can plug any electrical items of her own which have European plugs on.

Quattrocento Sun 31-Aug-08 23:13:35

Yes we've got plenty of socket converters, I'll put one in her room. There's a laundry basket there too btw. Also a lamp but no desk, it would make the room too small.

I did wonder about a desk actually. The trouble is there is a huge double ++ bed in the room and it takes up so much space. Was wondering about getting one of those beds that turns from a single into a double when needed but just never got round to it.

Millarkie Mon 01-Sep-08 08:38:26

We took the double out of AP's room and put in a adult single instead...meant that we could put in much more furniture (desk, double wardrobe etc) - she has a spare single mattress under her bed which she pulls out for overnight guests.

MarmadukeScarlet Mon 01-Sep-08 08:56:46

We have the Ikea day bed which pulls out to a double, it has really roomy drawers underneath. We just provide enough bedding for either option so it is up to the AP as to how much room vs bed size.

We do not have a desk as such, but a narrow console table type dressing table thing - narrow with 2 small drawers. Have hung a mirror over it so can be used as dressing table, but laptop fits on it and it has a stool so can be used as desk.

It sounds as if you are being very thoughtful and considerate, hope AP is great.

mummypoppins Mon 01-Sep-08 10:09:24

dressing gown and a hook for it on the back of the door ? bowl of fruit ?

I also filled the fridge but our au pairs lived in a sep annexe with their own Kitchen.

What about a small kettle with tea / coffee on a tray so if they want an early morning cuppa they dont have to go downstairs.

MarmadukeScarlet Mon 01-Sep-08 10:11:52

I too have a huge soft towelling dressing gown, but this is to protect my aged DH who may well have a heart attack if another scantily clad AP wanders aroud the house!

Weegle Mon 01-Sep-08 14:59:25

wow - you sound very organised. And some of you sound extremely generous smile

The only additional thing which I put in the AP's wardrobe is an umbrella. This is because we don't offer use of a car and so pubclic transport/walking is a must. We also put the mobile phone and charger etc on her desk with her keys etc. And a drinking glass by the bed. And a box of fun and funky tissues (for those homesickness tears).

Can't think of anything else at the moment...

oh, we also put in their room an England guide book and the local OS map.

German-English dictionary lives downstairs in the lounge as that is where it is most needed!

lisalisa Mon 01-Sep-08 20:36:29

WE bought logts of lovely but cheap furniture from Argos - all co-ordinagted and then had an interiro desinger finish it off by matching curtgains and cushions - was not expensive but lends the room the special touch. The interiro desinger even added finishing touches to the drawers by adding fabric loops the same as teh curtains to open them with - as small window and we did fabric loops for drawers and a few cushions for bed whole thing set us back only a few hudnred pounds.

Next we put up mirror, 2 lamps ( which AP loves as they dim the room beautifully) .

Finally I bought her new bed linen which rfeallyh is lovely and I know she really likes - oh and a bin and washing basket .

Simplyme Mon 01-Sep-08 21:27:58

Blimey you have really put thought into making your APs feel at home. I've been a live in nanny over the years and my rooms have always been plain with hardly any nice touches and always made to look obviously inferior to the 'real families' rooms!!! Perhaps because I wasn't foreign so didn't suffer homesickness and need the homely touches? Anyways never mind as I have become very adept at making my own room nice by changing curtains/bed spread etc myself!!

It is so nice that you all seem to care enough to make the effort. Maybe I should change careers from nanny to AP?? wink

MarmadukeScarlet Mon 01-Sep-08 22:04:37

I always put fresh flowers in.

Also some pretty toiletries, homemade cards from DC, homemade fudge or biscuits on the tea and coffee tray.

cheapskatemum Tue 02-Sep-08 21:01:18

Sorry, I live up to my name! We do provide a desk, though. I thought this was a pre requisite because of the English language studying they do whilst here.

googgly Tue 02-Sep-08 21:09:48

I'm deliberately not nearly so nice as this anymore. But that's because the main problem I've had with au pairs is them acting as though they're the new princess of the house rather than someone who's there to make every one else's life easier. I now ask them to make biscuits for everyone else when they arrive - sets the tone much more appropriately.

Quattrocento Thu 11-Sep-08 21:04:10

UPDATE

Well I did everything on the list apart from desk (due to size of bed) and warm snuggly dressing gown (due to uncertainty on size and colour BUT we are going to get her one this weekend) and socket converters.

The stupid thing I did with socket converters is that although I stuck two in a drawer for her, they were both English to continental rather than Continental to English. I am so dopey.

But the best news of all is that she is fabulous, absolutely fabulous and we all really really like her. I hope she likes us too.

trikid Thu 11-Sep-08 21:35:22

Sounds great being an AP in your homes. I was one years ago and didn't have any of the named luxuries. Although being able to use the phone is a great cure for homesickness (or the computer). I was given rules which makes it easier for everyone to know what's expected and theres no going wrong... offer the AP the comfort of trust so that they can speak to you/ask you questions if there is any need. Avoids frustrations and misunderstandings. Had a great time in the UK and am now married to a Brit.wink

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