Pairs are girls - and to a lesser extent boys - aged from their
late teens to twenties who come to Britain to improve their
English. They help around the house and do some babysitting,
but they are not nannies and should not be given sole charge
of little ones for lengthy periods. Expect to pay around £50
- £60 a week for a maximum of 5 hours per day, 5
days per week plus 2 evening baby-sits. Longer hours are usually
negotiable and Au Pairs Plus work for 35 hours per week and
so earn more. They will do light housework such as washing,
ironing and cooking, and some childcare, but remember that
they expect to be treated as a member of your family.
If you do decide to hire an Au Pair, go through a reputable Agency, and follow these basic guidelines to help you and your Au Pair strike up a good relationship:
· When your Au Pair arrives you should collect her from her arrival point as she will have travelled far and she will be tired.
· Write down the Au Pair's duties and discuss them with her before she starts work, remembering to tell her how you like things done, but in a kind manner. Be reasonable - don't pile the work on, as this will certainly cause unhappiness.
· Explain all about your children, what they like to eat, what she can do with them, and so on.
· You may be given a contact list from the agency with a list of other Au Pairs in the area. If so, encourage your Au Pair to make friends locally.
· You should speak English to your Au Pair, and, if possible, help her find English language courses nearby.
· You will need to provide time off to attend any language classes. Au Pairs should also have two days off, and should only be asked to babysit for a couple of evenings each week.
· Be kind, flexible and treat her as though she were your teenage daughter, but also be sure to let her know what your rules are and what you expect from her. Set ground rules about friends visiting, playing music, using the phone, and similar matters.
· Ask her to be reasonable too. For example, you wouldn't expect her to eat all the cereal at night, leaving none for the children in the morning!