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Childcare

Au Pair Agencies...recommendations please...

36 replies

ingles2 · 30/09/2007 20:40

Especially ones that are registered with aupair2aupair site and cover Kent. TIA

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scienceteacher · 06/10/2007 14:20

My first aupair came via an agency. It seemed good at first, in that they do all the admin, but we felt a bit bullied by being told what we wanted, rather than what we really wanted. The first aupair we had wasn't really suitable, and it took us five months for the penny to drop. Never again.

Now I use Aupair World. We've been fairly successful, I have to say. The worst was the one I had for the start of this academic year. She didn't really work out - didn't want to do housework, and her idea of the job was that she would look after the children and we would look after her. However, we were able to replace her (via Aupair World) within 2 weeks of giving notice, so that she left on the Friday evening and the new one arrived on the Sunday morning. The disruption has been minimal.

We've had about 10 au pairs and none have been absolute disasters (eg druggies), and apart from the one who broke her leg on a visit home, we haven't had to use emergency childcare.

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cloudberry · 07/10/2007 10:48

I know this is off the thread topic but I'd be really interested to know exactly what and how much housework you guys ask your aps to do. The housework thing so often seems to be a bone of contention and I never think we are asking them to do too much but I guess you never know till you compare with other people. Would you mind telling me, it might save me aggro in the future if i felt clearer about it in my mind!!

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ScaryScienceT · 07/10/2007 15:48

We say that they have to work 5 hours per day, and shouldn't be doing housework alone when the girls are at home.

This then breaks down to:

1 hour - getting girls ready for school and walking to and from school

3 hours - after school - picking up from school, taking to playground (WP), cooking their tea, checking homework and supervising them while they clean their own rooms.

That leaves one hour for housework - cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, and hoovering. The only bedrooms and laundry the aupair is responsible for are the girls and her own. The girls are meant to do most of the work, with appropriate chivvying along by the aupair.

I don't think that's too Draconian.

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ingles2 · 07/10/2007 16:17

cloud...my ap's work 6 hours a day if I'm working from home...3 hours housework,..1 hour walking the dog,,2 hours playing with kids, having dinner etc...
DAP does, hoovering, dusting, mops the floors,bathrooms looks after the kids rooms and kids ironing...
I'm probably really draconian!...not really!!!

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ScaryScienceT · 07/10/2007 16:20

I think when you have school age kids, there are only so many hours that the aupair can be interacting with them. To do the agreed hours, they have to have an hour or two of housework. There isn't anything else for them to do. If they can't hack it, they are in the wrong job.

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ingles2 · 07/10/2007 16:25

you're right SST...I kind of think that if I'm at home,...DAP should be doing housework to free ME up to spend time with the kids, and do the school run...

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cloudberry · 07/10/2007 20:34

Thank you. Reading what you've all said, I'm being too soft!! I've had such moaners in among a couple of fantastic girls that I clearly need to get a grip of myself and stop tiptoeing around them. An hour or two a day?? Yes maybe a couple of times a week if I've been very lucky, otherwise the last one did about half an hour if that, quick hoover and mop of kitchen floor in the afternoon, then sloped off to her room to wait for the dcs to wake up an hour and a half later. This after having been at school ALL morning!! Phew, I need to sharpen my teeth for whoever we get next. Dammit, my dh has been saying this for the last 6 months or so, but I've been too much of a people-pleaser.

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ingles2 · 07/10/2007 21:53

the best thing my agency ever did for me cloud, was persuade me to write a handbook outlining everything I want the AP's to do, pay, hols, rules and regulations and also a contract with daily hours, housework and childcare. We send this out before the AP's agree to come here, then there is no room for giving in or being soft you just wave the handbook in front of their nose. I would really recommend you do this...

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majorstress · 08/10/2007 10:19

Contract and Handbook are essential but don't always solve everything. I had trouble getting my AP to honour the contract. She just said "yes, of course" to everything but in the end either pretended or genuinely didn't understand what she had agreed to do. I should have jumped on her right away-but I just felt relieved that I had got hold of an AP in time to save my job. In fact YOUR work as employer/manager only just begins then; really training and supervising their work carefully is essential and you are somehow supposed to do this while out at work yourself.

The signing of the contract was a lifesaver for me later-I gave it to a new one. Gave her time in private to read and sign it, she said she'd do it later and didn't, and meanwhile after a few hours observing her with dds I knew she had to go; she tried to get a month's pay out of me for one day's supervised work, but I just said she didn't sign it so I wasn't paying.

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cloudberry · 15/10/2007 20:33

For those of you who have used ap agencies, how long did it take to find your ap?

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ingles2 · 15/10/2007 20:56

Hi again Cloud...a week or two! Really depends on the time of year.

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