This week I had a call from a busy working mum Chloe who was looking for an 'au pair.' The longer I spoke with Chloe the more I realised that her expectations of what an au pair could deliver were too high.
With two children, aged 4 and 15 months old, Chloe hoped her au pair could care for the children while she worked part time. She expected around 35- 40 hours per week and wanted to pay £150 per week, plus food and board.
As with many parents Chloe was interested in having a high calibre candidate who could drive. A good cook and someone who would be active encouraging the children's development were also on her list.
So why wasn't an au pair suitable for this role?
Typically, an au pair is a young person who wants to travel abroad, live with a family and study or learn English while they help the family with childcare and around the home. They are usually not experienced or qualified child carers. They often speak English as a second language.
Au Pairs are usually reasonably young and will be living a long way from home. They need a good amount of guidance from the parents about what needs to be done in terms of care for the children as well as around the home. It is likely they will not be familiar with basic childcare skills such as how to potty train or how to encourage fine and gross motor development.
An au pair can be a brilliant support to an at home parent who need ad hoc and part time help with the children, however they should not be left in sole charge care of young children on a regular basis, or expected to deliver a high standard of educationally based care to your children.
So what type of help did you recommend?
For Chloe we recommended she considered 'mid calibre' live in nanny candidates. By this we mean an experienced and/ or qualified child carer who has the capabilities to take sole charge of the children on a regular basis.
A mid calibre candidate is usually a younger candidate or 'nanny in training' who has a passion for childcare and good knowledge of skills required- but hasn't had enough work experience to be considered a high calibre nanny.
She will be happy to consider roles offering slightly fewer hours as she builds her CV and professional profile. More mature than a typical au pair she will be capable of taking care of day to day tasks and guiding the educational, social and emotional development of the children.
Yes, she will be more expensive but you may be surprised by how much. We place most of our mid calibre candidates at between £250-300 after tax per week.
As professional nannies in training these candidates are focussed on child care as a career and highly motivated to do a top job. For Chloe, the difference of £100 per week to experience that higher calibre of care was worth it, and she quickly secured a lovely Kiwi nanny who is already proving indispensable!
To speak to a KiwiOz consultant about the type of care that might be right for your family, call us on 020 3427 5423.
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