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Will Au Pair suit me? Does Au Pair work out cheaper than regular childcare?

(27 Posts)
littlecrystal Mon 22-Jul-13 13:59:53

I am looking into my options for next year. Currently my 5yo goes to a childminder-School-afterschool club, and my 2.5yo goes to a childminder. Total childcare costs are around 1,100/month. It will go down a little once the 2.5yo gets 15 free hours.

I once had a nightmare with live-out 22yo nanny and I am quite reluctant to the idea of a person rather than a an official childcare institution, but the cost of Au Pair seems to lower and DC could benefit from being able to attend afterschool activities or just relaxing at home when tired.

I live in London Zone 4. The school and pre-school are within walking distance. School hours are 9-3 (roughly) and pre-school hours are 8:15-11:15, though we could still use a morning childcare elsewhere or buy extra hours in the nursery if this is excessive for Au Pair. I normally leave home at 8am and come back by 5:30pm, although not rushing from work once in a while would be nice…

We only have 2 bed house, but we could accommodate Au Pair in our spacious living room (we once had a lodger in there). We have a separate kitchen/family space where we normally entertain. There is only one bathroom upstairs but we can easily add a downstairs loo.

I am pretty bad delegating jobs so when I had the nightmare nanny, I ended up catering fully cooked meals and so her only household duty was to wash up after eating. Delegating jobs is something I need to learn so I need some guideline what level of household work is acceptable, as with my nature I will end up having another child rather than a household help!

How much would you pay in my circumstances? Is my accommodation acceptable? What extras am I expected to pay? I.e. transport? phone? gym? A separate computer? Special food requirements? How much does Au Pair add to the food bills? Has anyone tried to calculate what does the Au Pair actually cost?
How do you pay if a child is sick and cannot go to school?
How do you pay during school holidays?

If anyone could advice it would be highly appreciated!

newbiefrugalgal Wed 31-Jul-13 13:58:42

Your accommodation is fine -a private space is all they need. Set it up well though so they can hang in there room -ie small table/desk and a tv!

London based you won't have any problems finding them. You don't have to pay for there English courses, maybe offer incentive after time period for something like this.

Know any friends with au pairs -chat to them for ideas/pointers.
I had older ones. Paid them extra to buy cook own food. Supplies basic tea-coffee milk cereal etcbut they did own dinners. Felt better that we both have freedom to do own dinners. And that I wasn't cooking after a long day at work

cloudyatlas Wed 21-Aug-13 06:52:17

You could try setting a minimum age- over 21s need less hand holding.
Write down a jobs list- ours have liked that as they know what they are meant to be doing. I like it cause I don't have to nag.
Skype him/her more than once to get a feel for what they're like.
Consider where they come from- some cultures prize autonomy. We have had three Taiwanese au pairs who have been very self reliant.
Involve them in everything at the outset. They are far from home and will be feeling lonely. Ultimately they will make their own friends, which is really important for their own happiness. (The one we have currently is struggling with this and has been moping around a lot, which is hard for her and for us.)
Think about what sort of person fits into your family. If you are all very extrovert you will want the same. (Perhaps an extrovert would be less bothered by all the noise?) If you need peace and quiet and a glass of wine in the evening, go for someone quieter.
Hope that helps.

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