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au pair
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#1 cattyrae

Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:03 PM

has anyone used an au pair? im interested in getting one next year. would love to hear anyones experience original.gif

#2 Lokum

Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:15 AM

They're not appropriate for leaving in the sole charge of children, especially pre-schoolers or babies.

They don't necessarily have any childcare quals or much experience. They are more like a Mother's Helper around the house.

I know people use them for sole-charge childcare, but any nanny agency will explain the difference. There was a tragic case in the US about 10 or 12 years ago where sole charge care of a baby by an Australian au pair ended badly, and some responsibility was laid at the parents' door for putting her in a position where she was out of her depth.

#3 ~my happiness~

Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:36 PM

Gosh, that was helpful wasn't it. ph34r.gif

Catherine27 we briefly looked into this but the only reason we didn't go ahead is because we don't actually have a *spare* room to put her in, and because it is a live-in-childcare-homehelper type arrangement, you need to provide a room of their own.

There weren't that many around when we looked, and a lot of them come from overseas and only wanted to be "hosted" for a period of 6-12 months as most seemed to be studying and/or travelling. I wanted more security than that.

We were to provide a room and board (of something like $180-200 per week, per family, not per child) and a certain amount of time off (can't remember exactly sorry) and pay for living expenses, which comes with providing a room I guess i.e you can't pay them their weekly allowance and then charge them for food and electricity etc., by providing a room in your house, what's in your kitchen is free range etc, unless of course they are making specific requests.

Good luck, hope thats a little bit helpful.

#4 cattyrae

Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:41 PM

thanks. i would need them to have sole care ofmy baby and preschool. so maybe it wouldnt work. i dont want them to feel out of there depth.
i dont really need someone here while im here. i can look after my kids on my own original.gif i just thought it would be cheaper then childcare or a nanny.
i have a room and can provide for them. thats easy enough.

thanks againforyour replies original.gif

#5 ReadySetRace

Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:57 PM

Hi Catherine, I've had 4 au pairs and belong to a Facebook au pair Mum's group. Generally it's a European or American girl who stays in your home and helps out. Ours did look after our children alone, who were 2 and 4, but rarely did while days - the girls went to chilcare and the au pair would do pick ups, drop offs and some evenings. She would also help with laundry and keeping the house tidy.

Some have professional child care experience or even a degree in child care and they definitely can look after children alone - in fact one did last night here, including the baby.  The pay is about $7/hr, they do better working 25-30 hours a week rather than full-time and food, board, wireless access are generally included. I used au pair world to find them.

However I had mixed experiences - 2 were great, 2 weren't. They need training and management, and I found I neede to lay down lots of house rules, things I didn't expect eg don't eat the meat in the fridge for your lunch because it's for dinner!  Empty the bin in the bathroom you use, don't wipe your Make-up off on my white towels etc. they are often young and lack common sense.

If I do it again, I would get someone over 21, willing to stay st least 6 months, with formal child care experience or training.  Our better girls came from larger and stable families at home, which I think just helped them fit into our family. My worst one bought things on my credit card over the Internet. sad.gif. I plan to get a nanny

Good luck.



#6 cattyrae

Posted 20 April 2012 - 05:29 PM

thanks heaps for your reply. what fb group are you with? i have tried looking for a chat group but havet found one.

thanks again

#7 baddmammajamma

Posted 20 April 2012 - 05:48 PM

Catherine27:

I don't have a large family, but I saw this post in the "We're Discussing" section. I echo what doctorsuess has said. We have friends who swear by au pairs; our experience was pretty sub-par (unmotivated au pair).

One additional thing that is important to bear in mind is that these young people come over on Working Holiday visas. A key part of that visa is that they cannot work for any one employer for more than 6 months. I know several families who try to skirt that requirement, but the penalties for getting "caught" can be stiff.

http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/417/

The costs of an au pair can also add up. Yes, the $200/week is low cost relative to most nannies and day cares, but you also have to add in food (can be expensive to feed another adult) and incidentals. We ended up being much happier with a reputable LDC (and could get the rebate, which helped) that had a preschool program.

Good luck with your decision!




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