Au pair and housework!

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Mum2Monkey
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Au pair and housework!

Postby Mum2Monkey » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:09 pm

Hi,

We have met an au pair we like. However, she has said she won't do cleaning / housework but will do childcare. This is the first time that we have hired an au pair and so I have no idea what they usually do or whether what she is saying is the norm.

I guess I was expecting that she would unload the dishwasher , put the washing on and clear the kids toys away. As the kids are at school all day, I though that would be ok. Does anyone's do more than that and, if so, what?

Thanks!

sandraf
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby sandraf » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:16 pm

When I had an au pair they helped out with very general tasks like unloading dishwasher, putting kids clothes in the washing machine, hanging them out to dry, then folding and putting away in their cupboards, keeping their bedrooms tidy, tidying away toys at end of day. They would always clean the kitchen after the kids tea for me but that was it. It was predominantly childcare and other cleaning tasks were completed by myself or my cleaner. I would just clarify this with the au pair, they may feel you are expecting them to clean the whole house too and that would be too much to expect I feel.

3littlemonkeys
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby 3littlemonkeys » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:19 pm

You may want to clarify what she means by no housework. The tasks you've mentioned I wouldn't put under the cleaning bracket really. Our au pairs have always tidied up the kitchen after children's meals, helped with their washing, unstacked the dishwasher etc. I would never ask them to clean the loo or do other cleaning tasks but I wouldn't take one on either who wouldn't help with what i would consider to be basic household jobs! Good luck with the search! It's such an enriching experience when it works well.

Bluebird27
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby Bluebird27 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:25 pm

I think just a little clarification with cleaning is needed as some au pairs get stuck doing all the cleaning around the house, which isn't right or fair. But as they live in the house, I think its expected they help out a little bit with general chores as they would anywhere they lived. They shouldn't be expected to do heavy cleaning or the parents laundry or anything like that. Generally speaking, since they are there to help out with the children, duties could involve tidying up after the children in any fashion whether that be food, toys, clothing, etc.

Flowermummy
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby Flowermummy » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:38 pm

Agree that the au pair would be expected to clean after the children (laundry, toys, cleaning up after meals, cooking their food) and after herself but not after the parents or do heavy cleaning such as bathrooms. Probably just a misunderstanding, as cleaning and cooking for the children and herself is pretty standard for au pairs.

sandraf
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby sandraf » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:53 pm

I also laid it all out in a manual which clearly stated what was expected. I emailed that to them to read first and let me know if any questions during skypes. Pm me if you would like a copy! No misunderstandings after the manual was issued!

F&F
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby F&F » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:32 am

I explained in my ad broadly what was expected (that they help out as any additional adult in the house would be expected to) and then sent them a copy of my manual/guide once we'd found someone we liked to be sure they knew what was expected. Admittedly we didn't have the manual first time round as it developed over time as we figured out exactly what we did want them to do (and to a degree, how to do it).
I really only needed my au pairs to look after the children 3 days per week so they probably had a little more housework than others.
We expected our au pairs to empty the dishwasher in the morning, help clear up after meals (or do it all of it was just them and the children eating), do the children's laundry (no ironing) including changing their bedding fortnightly and vaccuum/mop the kitchen floor twice a week. I also expected them to change their own beds fortnightly (I found they just didn't change them at all if you didn't include this!) and clean the bathroom that was used only by them or the children. Just remembered another big thing (!): they cooked dinner for the whole family the three days I was working (I ensured the ingredients were in and taught them the recipes - things everyone would eat such as spaghetti bolognese). I would never expect them to clean up after us adults, do our laundry etc.
So yes, my au pairs did quite a bit but they knew that's what they were getting into. A friend of mine gave me some great advice first time we were looking for an au pair - she said none of them will be good at everything so figure out what's most important to you i.e. the relationship the au pair has with your children is far more important than how willing/able they are to do housework - you may be prepared to let the housework go if you think this au pair is a great match for you otherwise! Good luck!

Kitkat04
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby Kitkat04 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:12 am

Ours cleans kitchen daily, tidies play room, and children's bedrooms, accoasionally cooks for them, and does ironing for whole family apart from big bed sheets and men's shirts. My cleaner does all the rest. Doesn't do many hours per week but gets paid above average. Everyone happy. All my au pairs have stayed well over a year. Just agree with them what you expect in advance and be kind and inclusive. Ironing was important for us and work is work! An au pair who states in advance she won't do much around the house would ring alarm bells for me. Sounds as if she doesn't have much experience with normal life or how busy and exhausting living in a house with children is. You don't want to end up knakcered while she is having fun with your kids all day. It's your house! Good luck.

MGMidget
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby MGMidget » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:36 am

In my experience Au Pairs don't read manuals properly. Unless your au pair has unusually good English you are likely to find that many things in the manual are ignored because they didn't read them or only read as much as they needed to to convince you to hire them! Therefore, don't rely on a manual being read, make sure you have also checked they understand what is expected.

You mention you have 'met' the au pair. If you have met face to face do you know how long she/he has been in the country and whether they have already worked as an au pair. The 'don't do housework' statement suggests they have previously worked as an au pair and didn't like doing the housework. Therefore, be a little cautious here and ask some more questions. If she has worked for another family ask to speak to them for a reference and then you can find out what the issues were with housework. If she denies working for another family then try to find out what she has been doing and when she arrived in the country. I have known au pair applicants to make up quite elaborate stories to cover for a previous false start as an au pair so do pay careful attention to what you are told. Once the au pair is living in your house it would be a traumatic experience for all if it was not working out and you had her living with you during her notice period so best to get this right.

That said, she could be lovely for your family, I just urge you to check things out further before deciding!

piper_halliwell
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby piper_halliwell » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:05 pm

It needs to be specified clearly during the interview, or rather in the ad.
The following - dishwasher loading/clearing out, sticking a load of washing in the washing machine and hanging it out to dry every day, cleaning the kitchen after you (and the kids) eat and HELPING the kids tidy up their toys (as opposed to doing it for them) at the end of the day - are NOT considered either housekeeping or cleaning. It's what every grownup does to prevent the house from turning into a dumpster.
The au pair needs to clean her own living space however.
I used to be an au pair many years ago and I was offered to do the cleaning too for extra pay which was fine with me.
In my opinion an au pair isn't high enough on the food chain (of child care) to issue statements like "I don't do housekeeping". If it's a nanny with either a degree from Norland and/or another one in child psychology and/or 15-20 years experience sure, she can get away with it easily.
Au pairs should be willing to do anything that's clearly stated in the ad they replied to. If they aren't, they shouldn't have replied to it.
Hope that helps! Good luck! :)

NYE31
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby NYE31 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:56 pm

From aupair.com

Below is a list of the main duties an Au Pair can perform while living with the Host Family.

Playing with the children
Driving and picking up the kids from school and other activities
Cooking easy recipes
Keeping the children's room tidy and clean
Ironing the children's clothes and do their laundry
Helping the children with their homework
Putting the kids to sleep
Light shopping
Unloading the dishwasher

An Au Pair should not be mistaken for a nanny or a housekeeper. The Au Pair program provides a cultural exchange for both parties. An Au Pair is not in charge of the household. Here are some duties the Au Pair should NOT do during her stay with the Host Family.

Cooking for the entire family
Cleaning non-shared rooms or work in the garden
Washing the car
Doing laundry or ironing clothes for the whole family
Clean windows
Taking care of others' children besides the host kids
Taking care of pets unless previously agreed

Kitkat04
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Re: Au pair and housework!

Postby Kitkat04 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:22 pm

I think that the above should be taken as a guide only. I'm certainly happier with mine doing the family's ironing (not very arduous if no men's shirts, big double duvets etc!) than driving my kids around esp in central London (huge responsibility!). Unreasonable host families will find a way to be unreasonable and vice versa whatever the agreement in place!


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