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Mindme - Director of Customer Relations at Mindme.ie

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I am returning to fulltime work later this year and I am looking to hire a live in au pair to look after my three children. We have never had a childminder or au pair let alone a live in au pair! How do we choose the perfect fit for our family?

Answer:

More and more working families are turning to hire live in and live out au pairs as the cost of childcare increases and childcare places decrease. This can be daunting if you’ve never hired childcare before and particularly if you are looking to have someone share your home and be a part of your family.

There’s so much fear around sorting out our childcare problems that it’s incredibly common for families (and au pairs too) to paint a glossy, seducing picture of what life as an au pair might look like. Out of fear that no one will be interested in living with a less than perfect family, we can all be guilty of making the job seem like something it is not.

Be honest, identify and manage your expectations! To save yourself the pain of hiring the wrong person, take the time to write down you and your family’s needs. Be brutally honest with yourselves about what tasks an au pair could do to lighten the load, while of course maintaining a respectful and fair relationship

  • Decide on no more than five vital things you require you au pair to do.
  • Write a detailed profile, not only covering the ins and outs of the job but painting a true picture of who you are as a family.
  • Do include what your challenges or current work-life balance are and how you feel about it, for example – are you looking after elderly parents, or are your kids going through a challenging phase?

The key to success is giving your au pair enough to do, and enough ownership of her position, that she can feel a real sense of pride in her efforts. It’s about valuing this person in your home and making the best of their skills and talents. Not just the ones that get the dishwasher loaded, the school bags in the boot and the kids into bed alive, and all before 10 pm!
And finally, do remember that as of January 2019, the minimum wage for a live in and live out Au Pair is €9.80 per hour. Families with live in Au Pairs can deduct €54.13 per week or € 7.73 per day for food and board.

Catherine Wickham is Director of Customer Relations at Mindme.ie, Irelands largest care website. She is also a creative entrepreneur and mum of two.

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