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Should I let my au pair have a friend with her whilst looking after my children?

(26 Posts)
Metrobaby Thu 22-Oct-09 08:21:49

I've asked my AP to look after the children a couple of days next week. Children are 5yrs and 9yrs. My AP has happily agreed, and asked if she can have one of her friends over whilst looking after my children. They will be mostly at my house.

What is everyone's take on this? Should I agree to it or not?

LisaD1 Thu 22-Oct-09 08:29:17

I've never had an au pair but if I did I don't think I would mind them having a friend over. I have a DD of 9 and find she likes adult company and would enjoy having an extra one in the house. I guess a lot of it comes down to how your children will feel?

PixiNanny Thu 22-Oct-09 09:12:59

Try it, if the APs friend isn't good for the kids then don't do it again Sometimes it helps to have an extra pair of hands (from the childcare's POV)

DadInsteadofMum Thu 22-Oct-09 09:26:18

My APs have never asked (we are too remote they have to travel to see other APs) but my take would be similiar to pixi's, do it the once and then see what the kids feedback was.

FourArms Thu 22-Oct-09 09:44:47

I'd imagine there would be more chance of the two APs sitting chatting whilst kids get on with things, but I'd give it a go once. If you're paying extra for these days, I'd maybe suggest you expect them to focus on the kids.

Metrobaby Thu 22-Oct-09 09:49:00

I'm paying her extra for the days. My main worry is that she will spend the time chatting to her friend and ignoring the kids. But I don't know if I am worrying about this too much

PixiNanny Thu 22-Oct-09 10:05:19

It depends on if she's serious about her job or not. I had my boyfriend around regularily during working hours and the kids still came first. He'd often keep them company and play with them whilst I was cooking dinner and things so it made things a lot easier for me!

Totallyfloaty35 Thu 22-Oct-09 10:55:23

I have allowed this before,once was great and the friend was actually way better with the kids than my aupair was and spent hours doing crafts with them(she was an Art student) while aupair did the ironing next to them.Another time though they just chatted,told the kids to stop bothering them etc(this from a usually very good aupair as well) So make it very clear that kids are priority,or maybe say yes to friend being there for the afternoon and saying you have left art stuff out for them to do together.

Weegle Thu 22-Oct-09 12:50:16

I would want to meet the friend in advance. And I'd also make it clear that the children are to be the priority. When past AP's have had friends to stay and have therefore been around a bit during work hours some have been a really positive influence - like an extra AP, and others have distracted... so I don't think there's a clear cut answer. The fact she's been upfront is something though (rather than just arranging it).

catepilarr Thu 22-Oct-09 13:04:03

i also think it depends on the attitude of the aupair and also on the friend's. when i have a freind/my sister to stay they are also around for some of my working time. As Pixi says it might be useful to have four hands instead of two when cooking /running after a dog/answering the door/ doing 1to1 activities with both kids. your kids might enjoy the company of a different person to do other things than with their own ap. On the other hand it could go pearshaped if the ap and/or the friend are not responsible.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 22-Oct-09 13:32:37

why does the ap want her friend there?

i could understand if babysitting but not during the day

yes an extra pair of hands could be helpful - but is she capable of looking after them by herself?

if you say yes then meet friend before

Metrobaby Thu 22-Oct-09 14:18:04

Blondes - that is a very good question - why does she want her friend there? You've hit the nail on the head as this is what is bothering me but I couldn't put my finger on it.

I can only assume she wants her friend as she would
a) like another pair of hands to help and/or
b) wants company for herself

If she was going out on a day trip I would have no problems with her having a friend - but I know she is going to be at home it is this that bothers me.

I have met her friend before who seems to be nice so that isn't the issue - it is a question of why

TwoCupcakes Thu 22-Oct-09 14:18:09

While I'm not against the idea in principle, as the other posters said (extra pair of hands, the fun of having one more person to do activities with etc) I would want to meet the friend beforehand. Dont think i'd be comfortable leaving DCs in the house with someone i'd never met before even with my au pair around. all depends on how long yr au pair has been with you and how trustworthy she's been so far. could try once and see what happens as your older DC is old enough to share with you their reaction to having the AP's friend around

Metrobaby Thu 22-Oct-09 14:23:46

caterpilarr and pixie - you raise very good reasons why having another pair of hands is beneficial - but the thing is that i have no way of knowing how it will go.

FWIW - sometimes when i am working from home, I've noticed that my AP will let often the kids run amok in the house whilst she does other household jobs - but this annoys me as she does not have sole charge of the kids for very long as it is (2hrs a day max), so I can't help thinking that really she should be doing the household stuff at other times.

catepilarr Thu 22-Oct-09 14:37:56

metrobaby - did you tell her that she is not to do housework when she looks aafter the kids? obviously i have no idea what your situation is but in some other cultures looking after children does not necessarily mean playing with them so perhaps it doesnt appear you would like it handeled differently?

Metrobaby Thu 22-Oct-09 14:53:44

Thanks caterpilarr - didn't realise there was a difference in cultural interpretations of what constitutes looking after children!

I will have a word with her about the household stuff. I just don't want to be pulling her up all the time as all round she is completely honest and trustworthy and everything I have had to bring her up on she has listened and done.

I really do want to be fair to my AP, but at the same time my children's well being is paramount - hence the reason for the inital question too.

argento Thu 22-Oct-09 15:01:20

Well surely looking after children can be done at the same time as housework, even in our culture! If you want her to concentrate solely on the children when she has them and do housework in other hours you should let her know.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 22-Oct-09 17:29:50

say no to the ap friend

and make sure she knows that for 2hrs a day she should play with your dc and for the other time to do her duties

SorciereAnna Thu 22-Oct-09 17:31:59

Sound totally normal to me. The au pairs at my DD's school all congregate together at the park and play with the children together, in a big group. More often than not, the children run off and the au pairs are left looking after a single baby. It gets lonely for au pairs!

nannynick Thu 22-Oct-09 18:43:04

>I've asked my AP to look after the children a couple of days next week.

Just wanted to clarify... do you mean that your AP does not normally look after your children, thus next week will be having them for a few hours, or are you meaning something else - for example the au-pair caring for your children for 2 full days (so say 10 hours each day) or even 2 full days plus overnight.

Could your AP go out with the children and meet up with the AP's friend?

HarrietTheSpy Thu 22-Oct-09 18:45:07

Will she be looking after them for a much longer period of time than she normally would? Maybe she's worried how she will cope.

Agree you need to find out why she feels the need.

nappyaddict Thu 22-Oct-09 18:48:02

Let the friend come over for an afternoon while you are there so you can see what happens. If you are happy then try it once and ask the kids how it went.

Fivesetsofschoolfees Thu 22-Oct-09 19:02:45

Yes, let her have a friend over. It will keep her sane. Au pair friends are usually very nice.

EmNotPGYet Fri 23-Oct-09 21:33:06

When I was an au pair, more than ten years ago now, my host family let me have a friend to stay for a week. It was great for me having an extra pair of hands to help with the kids and we did some fun stuff like going to the zoo etc that we wouldn't normally get to do. I'd say go for it.

SuperDuperJezebel Fri 23-Oct-09 22:05:32

Im a nanny, not an au pair, but i have on occasion had friends or family visiting and my employer has been happy to let them come to work with me during the day (for a day or two) - it both keeps me company and gives me a second pair of hands to deal with three year old twin boys. My employer has always just asked that i ensure the main focus is the DT's and their happiness - eg not spending the afternoon in a cafe, but taking them to the park or on an outing or something. For me its also a great opportunity to show off the lovely boys ive been looking after for nearly 3 years! I agree with giving it a go, maybe suggesting having a friend for just one of the days, and see how it goes?

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