Some very dear friends of ours have an Au Pair. I wrote all about it last June.
I mentioned at the time about looking at getting a local university student in to care for the boys 2 afternoons a week. Well low and behold, we did.
As of the end of February we have had a loving young 3rd year student collect the boys from school 2 afternoons, bring them home, organise afternoon tea for them, assist them with their basic homework needs and then just generally be here until we get home at 5pm.
And the amazing thing about it.......it actually works for our family. Tuesdays before Judo are now so stress free and relaxed, everyone has eaten before Judo so no trying to serve dinner to 2 very tired boys at 7.30 at night! Chores are completed so no racing around the house getting frustrated because nothing is getting achieved. I am loving it.
We made sure they had their own car, in good condition with all the current insurance needs. We were not too fussy in whether they were studying childcare or not, we didn't need someone with that specific skill, although it was very easy to gauge whether they knew about children or not.
The person we chose is 20 yrs old and is the 2nd oldest of 5, with her younger siblings currently being 10 and 12, so got the immediate feeling she has been around younger ones for a few years and understands them.
We purchased 2 new carseats for her car, as both boys are still in seats and will in fact remain in some form of safety seat for at least another 6 years! Both seats will grow with the boys, both have backs on them at present but have the ability to grow to booster seats when they just need that little extra height to use the seatbelts in the car. So even though this was an expense we just had to carry, it was a worthwhile one. When she finishes at the end of the year, then I am sure we will employ another next year, even then when we purchase a 2nd vehicle ourselves then we will need seats in that car too.
I was very sensible and actually made a contract up between us that we all signed. She was happy with this and I feel this made us all comfortable with where we all stand etc.
I organise dinner for the nights she is here and then she just has to do a small amount of preparation work to serve it to the boys. If rice or pasta is involved then she cooks enough for us as well.
Money wise, then we are paying 60c more an hour than we were paying putting them into after school care for the hour, but the benefits so out weighs the money. The boys are more relaxed, they are at home enjoying their own surroundings, they have eaten at a sensible time of day therefore have more energy for Judo and they are getting their homework finished, which sadly did not happen last year very much at all, mainly because being at after care 4 days a week they got very tired and were not interested in homework at 6pm.
The plus side of this is that in the 3 weeks she has been here Alex's teachers are already commenting that he has come along really well with his reading etc because he is getting his sight words better and following through and this is showing in class. This was an area of concern for all at the parent teacher meeting last month we had to discuss our aims for the year. Alex is not as high in the reading levels as they would have expected and so therefore work needs to be done more around this area, so to see some improvement already is awesome.
Oh and the other thing....the boys love her!