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I think I need an AP - how on earth do I go about it???

(9 Posts)
playftseforme Thu 15-Oct-09 13:38:58

DH is about to start a long term contract overseas. I work fulltime with a commute and this has been accommodated in the past by sharing drop offs and pick ups and covering for any later finishes where nec. I have fulltime childcare during the day, so I'm looking for someone who drops off, picks up, keeps DD's stuff in order, and does the odd night's babysitting.

Is it an au pair I need?
And if so, where do I start? Agencies? I'm based near Croydon.

Thanks v much

mumof2222222222222222boys Thu 15-Oct-09 13:49:05

Are you me?

No you're not - you're on the other side of London!

I have a similar situation and we have an AP. DS1 has jsut started school so she does nursery / school drop off/ pick up. Plays with them in the evening and gets DS1 his supper (usually preprepared by me because I am a kitchen control freak). She helps out a bit in the evenings until they are in bed at 7pm. The babysitting is also useful, although tbh we don't go out much.

I used an agency recommended by a friend and we are now on our 4th AP - other than the first, they have been great. All French and about 20.

We use Au Pairs by Pebbles. You can google them.

DadInsteadofMum Thu 15-Oct-09 14:30:19

I don't use an agency because I don't think that the fees they charge are justified and I would want to interview and take up references myself anyway. I use au pair world, there other sites out there but they don't seem to have the volume that APW has and recruiting yourself is a volume game.

Millarkie Thu 15-Oct-09 14:41:55

Yes an au pair would be suitable for that sort of care-it's what we use ours for. We also use aupair world rather than an agency. You have to sort through a bunch of no-hopers but it's quite quick and very cheap.
Look for someone with easily checkable references and decent experience rather than 'looking after cousins'

mumof2222222222222222boys Thu 15-Oct-09 16:04:52

Pebbles charge about £25 a month - which does add up, but I have been very happy with their service and the quality of 75% of the APs provided.

I think it is money well spent, but obviously not everyone would agree.

booreeve Thu 15-Oct-09 16:12:47

I'm on second AP now, first one we got rid of after 10 days as she was hopeless. I got the first one via which was quite a good site, however with our first Au Pair much as she was brilliant on paper and lovely on the phone and came with good references, to be honest within 10 minutes of meeting her in person I knew that it wasn't going to work out with her. The second one I got on gumtree, and I would definately do it can't beat face to face interviews!

playftseforme Fri 16-Oct-09 11:10:07

Just filled in a quick reg form with Au Pairs by Pebbles. I think for my first AP, I'd prefer to use an agency, then I might go solo once I'm a bit more clued up

Thanks for all your advice

How can I go about compiling a handbook - are there any books or websites I can use for guidance?

mumof2222222222222222boys Fri 16-Oct-09 14:32:23

Gosh - I hope they are ok and it works out. I am feeling the responsibility!!

They give you some advice and advise you to go through the contract with the AP. Has all teh obvious things on it. However suggest you trawl through old threads and make sure that things that are important to you get added down and put in a handbook. We have never had one, but it is probably a good idea so that everyoen knows the bottom line - have you seen today's other thread re the AP who doesn't want to babysit on a sat? Well if that had been clarified at the start, it wouldn't have been an issue.

Good luck!

PS One of most important things from my perspective is to set out rules on internet usage. I used to get a bit annoyed when AP was on computer after boys went to bed - not her fault, I'd never said she couldn't do that. However, it was preceisely when I want to be on it. So with next AP that was the fule - no internet in the evening before 9pm!!

playftseforme Sun 18-Oct-09 13:08:24

Don't worry mumof222222boys! It's my decision!! Let's see how it all pans out anyway. Getting pretty anxious about the amount of time I have to kit out the spare room, worry about whether I need to get a run around car etc etc

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