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what house work are au pairs supposed to help with?

(56 Posts)
lune77 Thu 16-Oct-08 11:33:23

We are getting an aupair as I really need a hand with my two preschoolers... i mean i cant even take a bath if my husband's not there... now as i have to write a letter of invitation i have no clue which household chores she can help me with .. i would feel really embarrassed if i wrote ironing and then i am told that aupairs dont iron for you.....

Weegle Thu 16-Oct-08 13:42:49

It really depends on what you arrange with the individual AP. I always leave scope for them to drop their least favourite chore from my list. Our current AP does: hoovering twice a week, cleans the bathroom, does the laundry and a small amount of ironing, empties the dishwasher every week day, cooks a meal once a week and is expected to help me with any meal preparation on the other days. It works out at about 45 min of housework per working day, the rest of the time is help with childcare.

DadInsteadofMum Thu 16-Oct-08 13:47:44

Generally they can be asked to help out with household chores that involve the kids. In my case the au pairs cooks some meals for the kids and is expected to leave the kitchen tidy (for a given value of tidy !) afterwards, and to help out with the kids laundry and ironing.

However, they should not be expected to do general housework, and I make it very clear that whilst I expect her to chivvy the kids along to tidy their rooms I do not expect her to follow the kids around tidying up after them.

What I wrote on my APW profile:

"The au pair will need therefore, to prepare some meals for the children and to keep the kitchen tidy after these meals.

To help out with the childrens laundry ...

Somebody needs to make sure the children keep their rooms tidy (but not tidy their rooms for them!)."

Hope that is helpful

Millarkie Thu 16-Oct-08 15:45:06

Depends on your individual agreement with the AP. I would say that any general housework would be ok as long as you agreed it with au pair before she turns up. (Nannys on the other hand, tend to only do child-related laundry/tidying etc).
My AP does hoovering, dusting, wiping down kitchen worktops, mopping kitchen floors, but I wouldn't ask her to clean bathrooms/toilets and she only does communal areas of the house, not bedrooms. I also don't ask for laundry or ironing or cooking. (but that's because that is what I want, not because you can't ask an au pair to do those things).

phraedd Thu 16-Oct-08 15:48:55

My sister in law has an au pair to just clean.

Personally i wouldn't want to clean for 5 hours a day but she doesn't seem to have a problem recruiting or keeping au pairs.

The au pairs do all of the cleaning, washing and ironing

Libra Thu 16-Oct-08 15:51:39

Mine hangs the washing out after I have gone to work, hoovers downstairs twice a week and does the ironing during the week (I do it at weekends).

I think it is important to spell out before they come what they will need to do.

I also expect her to muck in with our sons when it comes to clearing the table after dinner.

mumof2222222222222222boys Thu 16-Oct-08 16:17:46

i tell mine to spend about an hour on housework every week day. It includes kitchen, hoovering, dusting, tidying toys, hanging out / folding washing. Occasional ironing. The current girl is very into gardens so this week she spent a good hour in the garden planting some plants she'd chosen with me. I haven't asked her to scrub the loos or do our bedroom.

phraedd Thu 16-Oct-08 16:30:25

my au pair does mainly childcare but also helps with the childrens laundry, cleans their bathroom and bedrooms (the children tidy their rooms), hoovers downstairs and washes the kitchen floor

Occasionally we may ask her to iron an item of adults clothing but that is rare.

lune77 Thu 16-Oct-08 17:14:59

how does this sound???

3.00 pm - 4.00 pm Take the children outside to play outside
4.00 pm Prepare and give the children a snack,cut fruit, cereal etc. Clear up after them,
encouraging them to join in the clearing
4.30pm – 6.30 pm Organize play activity with the children.
6.30pm – 7.30pm Clear up after the play activity with the children.Vaccum the play room.Empty the dryer and refill it with newly washed laundry, fold laundry and iron.
7.30pm – 8.30pm Get children ready for bed, put them to bed.

Bettyboobird Thu 16-Oct-08 17:48:17

Lune77, I personally think that sounds too much, unless you are home with the AP at the same time. Our AP does childcare from 8.30-1pm and that is it. Included in her childcare time I ask that she tidies after the girls, prepares lunch and cleans away after it (although she never actually DOES clean away after it lol!)

Looking at your timetable, between 6.30-7.30 there is a lot to fit in, especially if she has to keep an eye on the children too, although I'm not sure if this is the case...

Also, when will she eat her dinner? Have you checked she doesn't mind eating after 8.30pm? I'd be ravenous by then!

nbee84 Thu 16-Oct-08 17:57:13

And do the children eat dinner? There's a snack at 4.30 but nothing else.

Does this mean you are at home and will cook and feed the children???

And if you are at home why would the ap put the children to bed? hmm

nbee84 Thu 16-Oct-08 17:58:21

Sorry, 4pm

Millarkie Thu 16-Oct-08 18:01:20

Since your children are preschoolers I assume you will be in the house whilst au pair is caring for which case it's not too bad but I wouldn't expect an au pair to be able to cope with them both by his/herself (and I have a fab au pair who has 18months experience in a kindergarten).
My kids are both school age and my au pair plays with them whilst I cook dinner/make phone calls/do stuff after I get back from work.

dannyb Thu 16-Oct-08 18:20:43

My aupair cleans the house twice a week. She does all the dusting hoovering mopping and bathrooms on a monday and friday and a very quick version of it on a wednesday. Tuesday and Thursday mornings she does ironing which takes her about 45 minutes a time.

She also empties the dishwasher, does the childrens washing and clears up after their dinner and after breakfast. She is meant to be with the kids in the afternoon but TBH she's pretty crap with them although she has my daughter for a couple of hours on a Tuesday and Wednesday whilst I take my son to activities and has absolutely no idea how to play with them so she does bathtime and helps me out with dropping them off and picking them up if I am at work.

I tend to find her most useful for cleaning and babysitting. The babysitting makes it all worthwhile, we have reclaimed our social life hugely but do not use her for any cleaning which I wouldn't ask my own daughter to do.

Bettyboobird Thu 16-Oct-08 18:29:44

Wow- dannyb your AP does loads of cleaning! Lucky you! Mine hasn't picked up a duster or washed a plate since she got here sad

She is super-fantastic with the children though, so she has sole care of them each morning and this works for us.

I've just had to re-hire my cleaner as AP makes more mess than both the children put together and I'm working more hours than ever- sigh!

dannyb Thu 16-Oct-08 18:54:48

I don't think that she does that much cleaning. Including Ironing it's no more than 7 hours a week and I ran it past the agency before hiring her. Most of my friends aupairs do way more than that inclding cleaning fridges, cupboards and childrens wardrobes. They also expect them to do all their washing, which I most certainly don't so I think that she has an easy ride, she only does 21 hours a week. TBH I don't know what she'd do if she didn't do cleaning. She has been sitting infront of the TV with the kids of the last hour and hasn't said a word.

callaird Thu 16-Oct-08 20:24:21

Two hours on an activity for pre-schoolers!!! I couldn't get 2 pre-schoolers to sit for more than half an hour. Do they really sit at an activity for 2 hours every day??

blueshoes Thu 16-Oct-08 21:25:57

I am very clear with prospective aupairs that they are required to do general housework. My dcs are in fulltime nursery and school respectively and I am home from 4 pm everyday. Childcare is not enough to occupy their time and I need them to do housework to make up 5 hours a weekday.

They do 1.5 to 2 hours daily cleaning according to a written weekly roster. Every weekday, they must do a quick routine clean of high traffic communal areas like kitchen, bathroom and living room. Then fit in deeper clean of one room/area in the house. Friday is ironing day - mostly just dh's shirts as we keep ironing to a minimum.

They have not complained. Even my current aupair who initially expressed reservations about cleaning (which lead to my almost not offering her until she reassured me it was not a problem) seems to have settled happily into the routine.

I don't see anything demeaning about cleaning. I clean the bathroom myself on a weekend. It is just housework and good for the soul.

ingles2 Thu 16-Oct-08 21:32:00

my AP's have done most of the cleaning since both boys have been at school fulltime.
They do just about anything I do, except, my room, my washing, ironing, cleaning windows, and cars.
All of that is acceptable according to the agency I used. I think as long as you make it clear she will be doing housework.
little hijack>>>
Bettyboo What do you mean she hasn't washed a dish since she got here? Not even her own?

Bettyboobird Thu 16-Oct-08 21:36:30

Nope- not even her own! She just leaves anything she uses on the side. If I waited for her to do it, we'd be waitng a LOOONG time!

As I said before, she's very committed to the girls so I pick my battles where housework is concerned. It obviously doen't come naturally to her to help out.

lune77 Thu 16-Oct-08 22:24:51

Bettyboobird..i see your point.. but I will be there all the time because I plan to start working from home. and while she sorts the laundry I will be giving the boys dinner and then I myself would vaccum the play room. As far as ironing is concerned we have very little ironing maybe a shirt or two.. about dinner ... you're right I need to ask her when she would like to have dinner.. because we usually have dinner after 8.30 it might be too late for someone else... hmmmmmmm it's funny.. everyday I do all these things.. and then juggle cooking dinner and clearing up after dinner also.. wish i was being paid for being a housewife!!!it is like a full time job... but women dont get credit for it..maybe I'd forget thinking about starting work...hmmmmm

lune77 Thu 16-Oct-08 22:41:27

The funny thing is.. both my kids wake up during the night... so if i sleep late.. i start falling ill.. me and my husband.. he leaves before we all wake up.. he gets back after the kids are in bed.. and it is only after dinner and clearing up we get to sit together and talk.. my younger one wakes up 2 to 3 times a night ..and since my first one was born me and my husband dont even sleep in the same room.. sleep training has never worked .. DH cannot survive at work if he is disturbed at night... i recently got a project and am sooo keen to work on it..because i havent worked since my kids were born and i feel like turning back time .. i wish i'd enjoyed my time with my husband before the kids were born a little more...didnt realize it wouldnt come back .....

sustainablysourcedwhitefish Thu 16-Oct-08 23:11:38

How old are your children?

It seems a very long time (3-6.30) for an AP, who may have little or no experience of looking after young children, to have sole charge - which if you are working I would consider this to be.

On your information you need to be clearer and explain that during this period '6.30pm – 7.30pm Clear up after the play activity with the children. Vacuum the play room. Empty the dryer and refill it with newly washed laundry, fold laundry and iron' the AP will not be also caring for the children. Unless your playroom is the size of a postage stamp, and they only got 3 toys out in the 2 hours of play activity, expecting AP to tidy, vacuum, empty/refill dryer, iron and fold dry laundry is quite a bit to do in 1 hour.

Will she be doing bathtime/bedtime alone or will you be doing it alongside her? This is not made clear. I would not expect my AP to manage the bath/bedtime of 2 preschoolers alone every evening - yes on babysitting nights though.

Also nbee84 asks, when do your children eat their tea?

nbee84 Thu 16-Oct-08 23:13:59

Aaaahhh sad It will come back, maybe not for a while yet though. As the children get older you will find they do occupy themselves in the evening. Mine are now 14 and 20 so we get to go out without needing babysitters and the day is even approaching where we won't have children at home at all!!! (20yo is 2nd yr at uni)

nbee84 Thu 16-Oct-08 23:16:40

Think lune mentioned that she would be feeding children whilst ap clears playroom/sorts laundry.

Maybe the ap would like to eat at that time with the children if 8.30 was too late for her?

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