Live in nanny vs au pair....

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Live in nanny vs au pair....

Postby BobbyK » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:10 am

Hello all,

I'm debating whether to get a live in nanny, au pair or housekeeper and would appreciate your thoughts based on your own experiences please!

There are the obvious differences in how much sole care childcare they can all do but could someone tell me please how many hours an au pair works? And can she have sole charge of children? We are also still very much in the baby phase, I have two girls, one is nearly 3 and the other is one. Can an au pair look after them without me there? Does an au pair do housework/cleaning/ironing etc?

A live in nanny is obviously the best solution from a childcare solution but do they also do housework? Ie could I get rid of my cleaner?

Lastly, a housekeeper I know is essentially there for the house and can do some childcare, does anyone have one who does sole charge childcare?

What do the various options cost? Live in nanny vs au pair vs housekeeper ?

I'm just trying to find the most cost effective way of having some more permanent help around!

Thanks in advance everyone
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Re: Live in nanny vs au pair....

Postby MGMidget » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:51 am

An au pair typically works up to 25 hours a week and an Au Pair Plus can work up to 35 hours a week. They would normally expect to have to do some housework as part of this but the majority of the time is usually on childcare. They are not properly trained in childcare or housework so you are unlikely to get such a high quality service as you might expect from an experienced nanny or housekeeper in their respective roles. That said, of course, their are plenty of untrained nannies and housekeepers but the expectations would be different and you would expect some references so you could check up on how they performed in their previous roles. References from au pairs can be very unreliable, even falsified at times and harder to verify if they are from overseas.

There are no fixed rules as such but the guidelines are that au pairs should not be given sole care for long periods of time with children below the age of 3. In practice, if you advertise on au pair websites you will probably get plenty of applicants willing to consider the job if you are offering good accommodation in a nice area of London. However, I would not recommend relying on the average au pair to look after a 1 year old unless you are there with them and they are an extra pair of hands - in my view the guidelines are there to protect you and your children!

Also, regarding housework, au pairs are normally expected to do 'light housework' rather than whole house cleaning so asking them to chip in with some duties is fine but expecting a full housekeeper service not so unless you make it clear before they accept the job what their expected duties will be and you keep within the guideline hours. Otherwise you are likely to have a very unhappy au pair who was expecting the job to be mostly childcare.

Most nannies, live-in or not, don't expect to do much housework. That said, if it is what you need then there is no harm in advertising what duties you would like them to do and see who applies. You could always pitch the job as live-in nanny/housekeeper and see who you get. Often it is less experienced nannies who are looking for live-in jobs anyway and they may be more willing to be flexible about their duties.

Housekeeper - I've no experience of having one but having seen one or two performing this role I would say that their strength seems to lie in the housekeeping. It can be hard to find someone who is equally good at both housekeeping and childcare.

If you need someone to look after a 1 and 3 year old sole charge for long periods I would say the live-in nanny would be best and list out some housework duties as part of the job if you wish, although I would recommend keeping it as light housework duties to be done when the children are napping. So that would mean keeping your cleaner. I did have a nanny in the past who also cleaned our house but I offered her the cleaning job as an extra job on her day off if she wanted to earn extra money which she did. I wouldn't have expected her to try and clean the house at the same time as looking after a young child. I appreciate mums often have to do this but nannies expect not to have to do both at the same time!

A live-in nanny will want to do mostly childcare and not much
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Re: Live in nanny vs au pair....

Postby Mills1234 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:34 am

Our nannies have kept their own room, bathroom and the child's room clean and been responsible for their own and children's laundry. They've kept the kitchen and play areas tidy after they've used them, but they've not been expected, nor would be prepared to I imagine, do a full house clean. We've always had a cleaner in once a week.

We've been amazingly lucky and had two nannies who have given our daughter huge amounts of attention and interaction. She has been, and rightly so, the focus of their day, and consequently we have a happy, content and well developed little girl.

I had similar debates to you when we first looked for childcare, but the nanny housekeepers I interviewed did just not make me feel as confident, nor my child as relaxed, as the nannies we hired. I would also say, as someone that is now at home full time without a cleaner or nanny, that fitting in the hours we previously had a cleaner for wth my daughter around is far from straightforward as you don't get 5 hours to focus on it, and consequently I get most done when she is asleep at lunch or before she wakes at 7am. I would not expect an employee to work those hours, or go without a lunch break, so it would bite into your children's awake time quite considerably. However, as I say that's a separate issue to the quality of childcare, and with young children we felt that should be the focus.

I agree with MGMidget, my understanding was that au pairs should not be expected to have sole charge of young children for any great length of time, nor full on cleaning duties, they don't get paid much for those reasons I imagine.
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Re: Live in nanny vs au pair....

Postby mollys » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:25 am

If money is not such a consideration then I'd definitely go with a live in nanny and keep your cleaner
I only have experience of au pairs and ours is fantastic, but no doubt a fully qualified, experienced nanny would be better.
Having said that, an au pair is a great option if you're at home with the children too (rather than at work). You don't need to be there all the time - our au pair happily takes my boys out without me - to the park, to friends houses etc and has done since they were tiny, which gives me time to do other things. She also does the cleaning - but as previous posters have said, if you want more than just light housework then make it really clear from the beginning as lots of au pairs don't want to be a live in cleaner and the last thing you want is for them to be miserable or feel hard done by. is really good for finding out more about au pair hours, salaries, expected duties etc.
Good luck!
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Re: Live in nanny vs au pair....

Postby mdawson » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:45 am

Does anyone know the best way to find an aupair who already works within London and is looking for a new family? Are there any good websites I can use? Is it best to post an advert as the family looking for an au pair or respond to someone who is advertising themselves as an au pair?
Many thanks,