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Take a look at the nearest knee grazed, bug torturing child that you can see. If you haven't a complete distaste for the vile little creatures then you may be qualified to earn a few euros or dollars from them.
Children like having everything done for them, require constant attention, and have the attention span of a flea. If you have some experience in keeping them safe, happy or occupied then throughout Europe and America you will find parents willing to entrust their sprog to you.
Au Pairs & Nannies
Taking on an au pair job is a good way to experience a foreign culture and learn a language. An au pair can expect about £60 to £100 a week, living as a member of the family.
While a money saver, some au pairs report that living with the family can make you available to child or parent virtually on a 24seven basis and that privacy can be difficult.
According to Debbie Bushell of the Solihull Au Pair & Nanny Agency, your duties will include "about five hours work a day, which will probably consist of looking after the children and some light housework (i.e. dusting, hoovering etc). There may also be some babysitting in the evenings. In return you can expect one full day off plus study time and other time by arrangement."
It is fairly easy for girls to find placements in Europe, though boys have a tougher time. Mary Poppins is preferred to hairy Poppins.
You should be between 18 and 27 (varies slightly for some countries), able to grasp the concept of a duster, and like children. Agencies may charge a fee once a family has been found for you but many do not.
For the States you should be an 18 to 26 year old, non-smoking driver with childcare experience to qualify for the Au Pair in America scheme. Childcare International is another agency that can arrange placements in America.
Earnings are around $200 per week, living with a family, return flight and insurance. In return, you put in 45 hours of childcare and light household duties.
Qualified nannies are significantly better paid and qualified. The London Au Pair & Nanny Agency is a useful agency to contact for more details.
An alternative route into nannydom is to apply to ski tour companies operating in the Alps. Many run crèche facilities and children's clubs. Esprit Holidays require NNEB, BTEC or RGN qualified nannies to run in-chalet crèches and snowclubs in France and Switzerland, looking after children aged four months to eight years old. You should be over 20 to enjoy the perks they offer: board and accommodation, pocket money, lift pass, ski equipment, medical insurance and travel expenses. Apply in June or July. Summer work for nannies is also available; apply in February or March.
The winter season usually runs from December to April or May. Tour operators usually prefer you to be able to speak French, Italian or German, though it is not essential. Maturity, experience and flexibility are more valued qualities.
Inghams require nannies for Austrian, French, Italian and Swiss resorts and Powder Byrne employ nannies working in France and Italy.
Powder Byrne also require childcare counsellors to handle the nippers at scallywags clubs during the summer season in the above countries plus Portugal. Positions for the summer season (April/May to September) are usually filled by February but it can be worth ringing 'round later to see if you can replace any of the estimated 50% who drop out. Mark Warner are also a good bet for employment in both summer and winter.
Try Sunsail for nanny/nursing jobs on yachts in the eastern Med, Canvas Holidays, Club Med, Airtours and Eurocamp for a position as a children's courier. A European language is usually essential.
The wages for these posts are generally grisly but compensated by a fun social life.
In America fobbing off children onto others is a well organized activity: seven million children go to summer camp each year.
You go about your work at camp surrounded by a big sky and beautiful countryside. The job itself involves instructing the children in activities such as archery, football, painting, scuba diving or pottery.
If you crave privacy don't apply. Do apply if you are aged 18 or 19 ½ (depending on which organization you apply through) to 35, are fit, hardworking and believe that you can stand American children for long bouts at a time. In return you can expect about $700 to £1000 pocket money for the season, return flight, board and accommodation and time to travel after camp. For brochures contact Camp Counselors USA, Camp America or BUNAC
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The Au Pair & Nanny's Guide to Working Abroad - the latest edition is available from amazon.co.uk
Please note some wage rates and details may have changed since this article was last updated