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First Au Pair arrives in 3 weeks!

(40 Posts)
ConstantlyCooking Wed 05-Aug-09 07:29:12

Thought I would start a thread so those of us new to the world of au pairs could worry/prepare together.

I bought new bedding yesterday. After lots of thought I went for neutral stone-cream type colours with patterns and white towels with appliqued leaves on one edge so she could identify them easily. I felt overwhelmed by choice as generally stocks of bedding and towels just grow gradually. Am now worried that have not got the right things and will head to Ikea tomorrow where I have discovered they do much cheaper quilt covers which are v nice.

Also WH Smiths have paperback English dictionaries for 89p, so I bought one to add to her welcome pack.

dreamteamgirl Wed 05-Aug-09 16:32:24

Hey CC Thanks for starting this!!

Remind me how old is your AP? She is German same as mine isnt she?

Tell me all about your welcome pack as I have NOTHING yet!
Thanks for the tip on the dictionary- is that an English- German one or just a nice English one?

On towels, you have bought fresh ones yes? I thought maybe I should also, and was trying to suss out how to give them to her and tell her she could keep them in her room, but didnt have to hmm I am going to rubbish at this I can already tell!!

catepilarr Wed 05-Aug-09 22:28:25

new towels are def nice - i only got them in one family, otherwise i usually used whatever i could find ;) i had one set on the bed and the other two in the chest of drawers. i like to keep my towels separate, as i like to have them washed at 60degrees and the family only washes at 30 or 40 sometimes.
btw dont worry, you do have the right things!

ConstantlyCooking Wed 05-Aug-09 22:38:10

The dictionary is a paperback Collins English dictionary - I thought it might be useful back up for her if she comes across unusual slang or words not in her Eng-German dictionary (assuming she brings one). If she doesn't we have the v old German-Eng one I used for A levels and a v small one I have just bought for DS (he starts German at school in Sept).
Our au pair is 19 and German.
I thought new towels would be nice and having bought 2 bath towels for £12 in Matalan yesterday, I saw today that M&S have a cheap set of 6 for £7.50 or a nicer set of 4 for £12 so I think I may go for those instead.

So far the dictionary is the only thing I have actually bought for the welcome pack but I am going to get an A-Z and some other bits as well.
Any suggestions anyone?
I want her to feel welcome.

MissSunny Wed 05-Aug-09 22:38:13

Message withdrawn

dreamteamgirl Wed 05-Aug-09 23:15:02

I agree towels washed at at least 40 degrees

Will get her her own towels in a non blue colour- all ours are blue, so it defines them as HERS

Actually I have a local and London A-Z already so they will be good
Dumb q time. When will you first pay her?

ConstantlyCooking Thu 06-Aug-09 07:58:56

Hi DTG - Dh and I need to decide when to pay her first. (thanks for the question I hadn't thought about it). we are going to pay her from the day she arrives, but haven't decided whether to pay monthly or weekly. I think that a month is a long time without money, so prob weekly on I guess will pay her pro-rata on Fri 28.

We are also getting her a PAYG mobile don't know if that goes in the welcome pack.

MrAnchovy Thu 06-Aug-09 21:59:25

Couple of comments:

Nearly all of our au pairs and nannies have arrived with their own phone which they want to keep using (because phone=camera=mp3 player etc) so I would ask her before assuming a PAYG mobile would be useful. Having two phones doesn't work.

I have never heard of an au pair (as opposed to a nanny) being paid monthly. If they arrive on the weekend we usually offer the first week's pay in advance so they have some money in their pocket: some have appreciated this, others have come with plenty of money from home.

catepilarr Fri 07-Aug-09 00:50:19

in the uk aupairs are mostly paid weekly. its nice to get paid as soon as you arrived, as i did a couple of times. i didnt need it moneywise but it was nice of them. but i think it might make you feel that you should pay a bonus at the very end.
agree with others, make sure you pay what you need to and on time, show her around the house and your village/town, help her to get a library card/register with doctor/get an account. maybe get bus/train timetibles and a map/guide of the /nearest/ town.
make sure she feels she can ask questions. let her call her parents. take her to supermarket to show her what she likes to eat. have the children to draw her a welcome picture. dont laugh or make weird comments if she does things in a funny different way to you.
thats things i have appreciated in the past.

Quattrocento Fri 07-Aug-09 01:19:46

Just welcoming our third au-pair

My arrangements have been:

1. Towels and dressing gown
2. TV/DVD in her room
3. Old but working laptop in her room, with skype set up so that she can talk to her friends
4. Maps and dictionary
5. House rules written in English and French (this was testing) but MN helped with this immensely - they need to know what you think about friends staying overnight etc
6. PAYG mobile with credits
7. Details of language courses and what we are prepared to pay for and how to enrol
8. Emergency contact numbers
9. Chocolates and wine to welcome her

Hope yours works out!

dreamteamgirl Fri 07-Aug-09 12:46:10

I can see they would want to keep their own phone, but I am not paying to ring a German mobile, and neither will she want to pay roaming rates to recieve my call or if she cant find way home from park, or if I want to check on them when they stop at shops on way home from school surely?

Millarkie Fri 07-Aug-09 13:04:54

Re: phones, we provide a cheap UK PAYG phone, but our au pairs tend to move the SIM into their own phone - that way they get UK call rates (and we pay for first £10 each month) but get to use the other functions on their own phones (camera, whatever).
We have had new towels for each of our au pairs (now on third), partly because they get wrecked by the APs!! I have no idea how they manage to turn decent towels into mangled rags in 5 months but both of our ex-APs managed it.
We do the things that Quattro mentioned (not the wine though, our APs have been horrified by the suggestion of drinking alcohol (apart from very sweet cocktails in bars)). Also we now have a tradition where I buy the AP new slippers once they have survived their first week or so (we have wood floors caked in kid/dog grunge and the APs tend not to pack slippers). And we now have a growing welly boot collection for use during dog walks.
The other thing which comes in handy is trying to locate other local au pairs so you can hand over some email address or mobile numbers for them to contact - especially if they are either not going to language school or if they don't start at language school for a few weeks.

ConstantlyCooking Sun 09-Aug-09 18:35:39

Good point about transfering SIM cards. I am providing the phone so that I can insist that she keep it switched on when "on duty".I will also save all important numbers to the SIM so she has them even if using a different phone.
I was thinking about printing off maps of area and highlighting routes to Dcs'activities.

Millarkie Sun 09-Aug-09 19:14:02

CC - I did map of the area - highlighted the car parks, labelled important places (school, tesco, library etc) and for the au pair who had to do a school run for a week or so I also marked on the route. Nothing is better than driving them round the area a lot in the first week though.

MrAnchovy Sun 09-Aug-09 21:28:24

Sorry dreamteamgirl, I didn't mean that she should keep her German number, but (as others have clarified now anyway) she might want to keep her own 'phone but put a UK SIM in it. All of our German au pairs have already sorted this before they arrived (T-mobile and Vodafone are both big in Germany so I think they can do it there).

But whatever you do, do not expect her to carry 2 phones 'so I know I can call you if I need to'.

GimmeChocolate Fri 14-Aug-09 18:41:26

Our first AP is arriving soon. i am wondering about the manual - I will do one as everyone seems to think they are a good idea, but roughly how long are they and how detailed do you need to be?

ConstantlyCooking Mon 17-Aug-09 09:17:42

I think if you serach "au pair+manual" on this thread you should get some ideas. I will add a link later (if I can) once I have found a template for my manual - au pair arrives in a week!

dreamteamgirl Mon 17-Aug-09 22:30:52

Hey CC
I just realised it is 3 weeks till Pia arrived and am panicking again now!
Room looks fab tho- have new towels as suggested. Carpet is being cleaned tomorrow then I can make the bed. Hoorah!!!

Everything settled your end?

madrose Mon 17-Aug-09 22:41:37

have found this so useful - having first au pair arriving on the 1st sept - bit scared

dreamteamgirl Mon 17-Aug-09 22:48:12

Oooh welcome to the thread madrose

Whereabouts in country are you, and what age and gender AP do you have coming?

Actually I meant to mention this, but called the language school today. All a bit of a mess as they have to enrole the week before she arrives, and start her first week, whcih is rubbish!! Also they have to do a test before they can enrole her, so I have made the appointment for her to do that on her first Monday and hope that they can get her into a class.
Will just have to find the time to get her there some how now!!
Maybe my mum can take her, or something cos I have 3 weeks leave (Well 3 weeks ofleave/ short days/ half days after it and really do need to have SOME time in the office!!)

Is everyone else sorted on language school?

madrose Mon 17-Aug-09 22:54:45



she has very little English and we have poor french. But we have been emailing weekly using google translate (has very poor grammer though).

As to language school, notice an ad from our local college for an ESOL course (think that's the one) and ringing them tomorrow. Not sure what she will need to do.

Need to clear out her room, give it a lick of paint. We're having the window replaced and unfortunately booked in for her first week here.

Plan on doing activities with her and DD so they can get to know each other before school starts.

dreamteamgirl Mon 17-Aug-09 23:52:41

Yes, it is ESOL apparently

Have you done a manual? And a welcome pack?

ConstantlyCooking Tue 18-Aug-09 11:24:15

Hey DTG, welcome Madrose.
Our au pair arrives a week today! EEK!
I rang the local college and apparantly they are allowing au pairs to sign up for ESOL at unemployed rates so it should cost £20 a term.
She will need to go into college beforehand for an assessment which takes about an hour.
I am still sorting out her room - i had to make space in another room for some of the oddments that clutter up the spare room.
I have bought her an English dictionary and an A-Z for her welcome back as well as a shower gel/bubble bath gift set. I am also planning to get her some nice chocs. Also I thought I might get a pot plant to brighten the room up a bit.
I am still working on the manual. Am ordering phone today -I know she might just swap the SIM, but I feel that if I have provided a phone I can insist that she have a mobile switched on during the day. The phone I have found is only £5. Oh yes, I need to go to the bank to check what she will need to open an account.
Thinks need to get off computer and get organising!

dreamteamgirl Tue 18-Aug-09 13:03:50

Ooooh CC, tell me about the phone? Where did you gte it? It sounds ideal

ConstantlyCooking Tue 18-Aug-09 18:31:33

Actually I ended up buying what that was 9.95 it was from the Orange shop, Carphone Warehouse also had some cheap. You can check the details online.
I also went to some banks and found that barclays only need a passport and a bank statement from their bank at home, unlike a couple of the others that needed utility bills!

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