National Nursery Rhyme Week

This week is National Nursery Rhyme Week and a few au pairs wanted to share some rhymes from their native language.

Here are their contributions with an English translation – a great opportunity for you to learn a rhyme in another language!

If you would like to learn more nursery rhymes in English, the BBC has put together a great collection that you can find here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/schoolradio/subjects/earlylearning/nurserysongs.

german-2

Jaqueline, Ilford, Essexdutch

Evelien, Redhill, Surreyspanish

Gemma, Redhill, Surrey

french

Celine, London

german

Lisa, Maidstone, Kent

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Annual Au Pair River Cruise – Book NOW!

The date for the annual Au Pair River Cruise has been announced! Every year, Smartaupairs invites all au pairs who are placed with one of our host families to join us for the event. It’s extremely popular so we recommend booking your place as soon as possible!

Thames River Cruise

Sunday 17th May 2015

All day excursion from just £10 per person

Come and join hundreds of other BAPAA au pairs on a private boat trip to Greenwich. You will travel past famous bridges and historic buildings along the river from Central London, with many exciting views of Westminster including the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, and then head downstream through the city to the Thames Barrier, Greenwich and back again. At Greenwich you will have time to have a look around – there are lively markets, historic buildings, the famous Royal Observatory and Meridian Line, the Maritime Museum and a beautiful park with wonderful views over London. Bring a picnic or buy lunch in Greenwich.

  • 11am – boat leaves Festival Pier
  • 1pm – boat arrives at Greenwich
  • 4pm – boat leaves Greenwich
  • 5pm – boat arrives back at Festival Pier

The trip costs £10 per person or £12 for friends (non-BAPAA)

You must arrive by 10.45am as the boat leaves promptly at 11am from Festival Pier, in front of The Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank. (Opposite side of the river to Embankment tube.)

Nearest tube station: Waterloo or Embankment. Nearest mainline train station: Waterloo.

If you wish to stay in London for the night of Saturday 16th May, hostel accommodation is available through International Students House, 229 Great Portland Street, London W1. (www.ish.org.uk) Telephone 020 7631 8310, quoting BAPAA.

Britt Boat Trip
Au Pair Britt won our photo competition in 2014. This is her entry taken in Greenwich Park.

Payment details: You can pay via PayPal (even if you don’t have a PayPal account) – go to www.paypal.co.uk and make the payment to finance@bapaa.org.uk. You must include your FULL name, the name of your agency in the UK (Smartaupairs) and your host family, plus the names of any friends going on the trip with you (stating BAPAA or non-BAPAA). You must print off the PayPal receipt or ticket and bring it with you on the day, as you will need to show it when you board the boat (tickets displayed on smartphones will not be accepted)! You must pay in advance for your ticket and refunds are not given.

Smartaupairs will be running a photo competition so REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR CAMERA!

Entries are to be emailed to aupairs@smartaupairs.com by 29th May 2015 and the winner will receive a £20 Amazon voucher. Click here to see some of last year’s entries.

Smartaupairs reserves the right to use any images from the boat trip for the purpose of future promotions.

Any questions? Please e-mail aupairs@smartaupairs.com

Switching from a Nanny to an Au Pair

Rebecca Robinson, editor of national parenting site www.theworkingparent.com, has written this guest post for the Smartaupairs blog. The Working Parent offers advice and information to parents juggling work and family, covering a huge range of topics from pregnancy to childcare, mortgages to family holidays.

 

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Switching from a Nanny to an Au Pair

There are many childcare options out there and parents will choose what is best for their circumstances and their family. While the most common forms of childcare are nurseries and childminders, these aren’t always suitable for everyone; some parents just need additional help with childcare in their own home, or want the flexibility of hours that a nursery or childminder can’t offer.

What can a nanny offer?

Nannies and au pairs offer parents the flexibility of childcare within the family home and both have different roles and responsibilities to each other, which is why many choose to switch from a nanny to an au pair when their children get older. Fully qualified nannies will have qualifications in childcare and work experience enabling them to care for children from birth and beyond. You can opt for live-in nannies or a nanny that doesn’t live with the family and just comes into the home during their contracted hours. For the additional experience and qualifications, you can also expect to pay much more for a nanny.

Why opt for an au pair?

An au pair on the other hand, will be coming into your family from a foreign country to learn the language, help out with childcare and earn a little money whilst doing so. They aren’t employed by you or paid a salary in the traditional sense, instead they’re paid ‘pocket money’ to reflect the duties and childcare help they offer in the home. This usually works out considerably cheaper than a nanny. Au pairs are expected to help look after older children and should never be solely responsible for a child under 2 or for children with significant additional needs.

Moving from a nanny to an au pair

Because of these differences and especially when children start school, many families switch from having a nanny to an au pair. There is no longer the need for specialised qualifications as children grow older and au pairs can provide the perfect combination of flexible childcare and help in the home, along with the opportunity for children to learn a new language. Au pairs are keen to brush up on their English and many parents are keen for their children to also pick up new skills from their au pair too!

As well as childcare, au pairs are also expected to help out in other areas a nursery or childminder could not, such as helping the children get ready in the mornings, assisting with homework, light house work duties or other tasks while the children are at school and assist with bath and bed routine.

More flexibility

Au pairs can also offer more flexibility as children get older and many families choose to host an au pair during the summer holidays. For many families, and especially those with several children, this can prove a much cheaper option than other forms of childcare such as summer camps or childminders. For working parents, this can be a great option which relieves the stress of finding suitable childcare that fits in around working hours during the summer.

Benefits of an au pair with school age children

For parents of school age children, having an au pair is financially a great option.

It’s clear that as children grow older and their requirements change, switching from a nanny to an au pair is a natural progression that can suit families both financially as well as with the needs of the children and parents. For more information on hosting an au pair, click here.

 

Photo Competition Winners Announced!

The annual Smartaupairs photo competition was opened earlier on in the month, when many au pairs joined us for the BAPAA Boat Trip.

Since then, we have received a number of lovely photos and have had a tough time deciding on our winners! Finally, we have selected Britt from the Netherlands and Monique from Germany, and both will receive a £20 Amazon voucher.

Thank you to everyone who sent a photo to us – here are the winners and some of our favourites!

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How to register your au pair with Ofsted

A number of our host families have enquired about registering their au pair with Ofsted in order to make use of childcare vouchers.

There are many different stages to Ofsted registration and it can be a fairly lengthy process (usually 12-14 weeks). Please note that the process cannot begin until your au pair has arrived in the UK.

break for fruits

Current guidance on the subject from the British Au Pair Agencies Association (BAPAA) is as follows:

  • The au pair or nanny should call Ofsted and tell them that they want to become registered under the voluntary Ofsted registration scheme for home-based childcare.
  • Ofsted will send out a form in the post to be filled in.
  • The form must be returned with a valid Paediatric First Aid Certificate (further information below).
  • Ofsted will carry out a police check (even if the au pair already has a CRB).
  • If the person has lived in the UK for less than 5 years, then he/she will have to get a ‘good conduct letter/ certificate’ from his/her embassy which needs to be written in English or translated into English by an authorised translator. This depends on the country of origin of the au pair or nanny, so check with Ofsted first. Ofsted confirm that it is also acceptable for the au pair or nanny to get a police check from their country of origin and send it to Ofsted, but it must be an official document, on letter-headed paper, stamped and translated into English by an authorised translator.
  • Ofsted will then send through another form (called a verify form) that must be taken to the post office, together with a form of ID (eg passport) so that their identity can be checked.
  • The application fee, currently £103, must be paid.
  • Annually, on the anniversary of the registration with Ofsted, the fee becomes payable again, as long as the au pair wants to remain Ofsted-registered.
  • The au pair also needs a childcare (or similar) qualification from their home country, or from the UK, which is equivalent to level 2, or they must enrol on a Common Core Skills and Knowledge course (further information below).
  • The au pair is also required to have personal public liability insurance, most households have an insurance which would not cover the au pair if she has an accident so she would need to acquire on of her own.

Smartaupairs recommends Babyem’s Ofsted compliant courses:

Common Core Skills and Knowledge Training

http://babyem.co.uk/common-core-skills-knowledge-training/

The common core skills course is accredited at level 3 through Open College Network, providing au pairs registering with Ofsted with an official childcare qualification and covers the 6 common core skills areas required by Ofsted.

These areas are:

  • Communicating with children, young people, their parents and carers
  • Child and young person development
  • Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child
  • Supporting transitions
  • Multi-agency working
  • Sharing information

Ofsted compliant Paediatric First Aid

http://babyem.co.uk/paediatric-first-aid/

The paediatric first aid course covers all the necessary requirements for registration with Ofsted. Course content is as follows:

  • Planning for first aid
  • Dealing with Emergencies
  • Resuscitation of babies and children
  • Recognising and dealing with shock
  • Anaphylactic shock/Electric Shock
  • Bleeding, burns and scalds
  • Choking
  • Fractures

Considering an au pair as an alternative to a nanny?

Smartaupairs recognises that a number of our host families have employed nannies in the past, however as their children get older and the amount of care required decreases, they have found the au pair program to be a more suitable and cost effective option.

Smartaupairs has collaborated with Sara Dawkins, active nanny and freelance writer, in order to discuss the reasons why you may wish to consider hosting an au pair as an alternative to employing a nanny.

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1. Changing Roles and Costs

As your children become older and more independent, you will find that the hours and care required from your nanny will be reduced – you may no longer need a full time carer for your children.  However, if you are employing a nanny, you are still obliged to pay a full time salary. An au pair can provide the same set of eyes to watch your children whilst putting less strain on your budget.  Although you pay for an au pair’s room and board plus pocket money (beginning from £70 per week and in the vast majority of cases, below the tax threshold) this is by no means the hefty hourly wage associated with nannies.

2. Sharing Ideas 

An au pair is more than just a live-in babysitter. A great deal of cultural understanding and enlightenment can be brought into the home due to the nature of the au pair program. Whether you are learning new recipes or about festivals and traditions in your au pair’s home country, the sharing of information can help your family to discover different cultures in a fun and interesting way. As the majority of au pairs are non-native English speakers, there is also the opportunity for your children to learn a new language.

3. Different Attitude

Many families prefer more the more relaxed atmosphere of an au pair as opposed to the rigid professionalism of a nanny.  For au pair candidates, the program offers much more than just the chance to earn money – they have the chance to experience everyday life in the UK, perfect their English and become part of a host family. Many au pairs and families form a bond that lasts a lifetime and often visit each other long after the placement is over.  It is this relationship that makes the program special and for this reason, many families prefer it over having a nanny who may view their role as nothing more than just a “job”.

 

Co-Author Bio

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Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of http://www.nannypro.com/.  Learn more about her: http://www.nannypro.com/blog/sara-dawkins/.

My Au Pair Experience in the UK

Tabitha from Germany joined host family in Essex in September and has been reflecting on her placement as it comes to an end. She wanted to share with us the positive experiences, as well as the challenges she faced during her placement.

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“All in one I find that, being an AuPair was the hardest and the greatest thing I have ever done in my life.

 

It was hard to leave my family, friends and boyfriend behind, to live in another country with another language. I came in this really nice family, who made me part of their family and now I have got a family in Great Britain. We had our bad days, but I really appreciate that they have always been there for me and that they taught me so much.

 

When I just came I looked only after one child. She wasn´t easy to manage in the first few weeks, but we got to know each other and now I´m really feeling sad to leave her.

 

I got to know my host mother. She was so nice to me and she became a really good friend of mine. I went with her to a lot of pregnancy courses and she also took me to some parties, what I found really great. Especially that one Indian party for Diwali. For that , my host mum put me in one of her old Indian costumes. I will never forget that day, there was Indian dance, Indian food and everyone had to take their shoes off, what I found was really strange. Also we had always our little, colourful lunches and our nice talks. Now I can talk about everything with her and I´m really going miss her so much.

 

When the baby was born I had to do so many things, that I had to grow up over night. My host mother gave me a lot of guidelines, which helped, but it was still exhausting to manage and organize everything. My host family let me go home to spend Christmas with my family as a treat. That was so great, but it was so hard to leave my family a second time and when I was back it was worse than in the beginning. In March it got easier, my host mum was recovered, the baby was sleeping and feeding went well and my family came to visit me in London. Also everyone got enough sleep.

 

The last two months were the best of the whole time. Finally it got warmer and the children grew more and more. I´m really looking forward to go home, but I can´t be really happy about that, because I will miss my family. I still don´t know how to say goodbye. The girls mean a lot to me, and also my host parents. All these times when we had nice evenings together, or when we just talked while we had dinner.

 

Also they taught me so much about healthy living and healthy food. I learned so many new recipes. We had a big variety of food. Nearly every day we had a different type of food. We had British, Indian, American, Thai, Italian and in the end eventually German. So I learned how to cook of all different types of food. And I couldn´t cook very well before, so my host mum had to be really patient with me, because I needed time to learn and there was once, that I let the garlic burn. Also I learned some Indian cooking from the childrens grandmother and from the cleaner.

 

With the different types of food I also learned much about the Indian, American and British culture. So I celebrated my first Diwali, the festival of lights, with them. We went to “Nanny´s” house and had lots of nice, fresh, Indian food. There were some more family celebrations, like birthdays, or for example when my host mum´s sister came from America. So they took me often to “Nanny´s” house, like I´m allowed to call her. That is another thing, I really appreciate, that I can call the children’s grandmother “Nanny”. One day she just came to me and said, she is Nanny, I can call her Nanny. I was so surprised, because I always had this thought in my head, that I´m just “the Au Pair”.

 

But I was more than just the Au Pair. For a long time, I thought it would be politeness, when my host mum introduced me as her friend instead of her Au Pair. Or when she made me tea, or all the times when we shared a drink and we had our “movie night” on Friday. Then when baby was born, I was just too exhausted to see, to realize how much I might mean for them. Now I can see. All that time, I was more than just the Au Pair. And to know that, is more than I ever thought would happen. I mean it is actually a part of the Au Pair program, but still, not everyone does this. Some families wouldn´t do that, and so I’m really grateful, that I could be part of a really nice family.

 

I´m very grateful for all, what my family taught me. I will never forget that important part of my life and I´m so glad, that I could shared it with my new British/American/Indian family. They will now always be a part of my life, because they taught me just so much, what will go along with me in my life.

 

I really hope, that we can stay in contact and can visit each other so I´m able to see, how the girls grow up.”

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If you would like to consider becoming/hosting an au pair, we can help! Contact us on 0800 917 8166 or info@smartaupairs.com.