Busy parents – you know how difficult it can be to find safe, reliable childcare – and to find someone who can really become part of the family. Is there such a solution? Many families have found that they can have it all and gain exposure to another culture by welcoming an international au pair into their home and their heart!
Hosting an au pair has been growing in popularity across the country. Families can rest assured their children are well taken care of and have a positive role model in their lives. It solves the problem of bouncing back and forth between daycares, nannies, extended family members – their children are in the care of someone they know and trust.
These au pairs are eager to join a family and experience as well as share in the cultural exchange aspect of living in the United States. Au pairs are young adults age 18-26 from over 25 countries who are excited to be a part of an American family. These au pairs love children! He or she becomes a “big sister” to their host children and a trusted extended family member that the host parents depend on.
Au pairs are live-in, can provide up to 45 hours of childcare on a schedule that works for the family. They do this in exchange for a weekly stipend and opportunity to experience American culture while living with a loving and caring host family for a year. One of the best advantages? Hosting an au pair is quite affordable – for less than $1600 per month per family (not per child).
Au Pairs are thoroughly screened while in their home country. Once they complete their extensive online training before arriving the U.S., they will spend a week at our dedicated Au Pair Training School in New York to help them prepare for their year abroad. They review child safety and development and become adult and pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid certified by the American Red Cross.
What can au pairs do?
-Care for children
-Pickup and drop off from school / activities
-Helping with homework and some language learning
-Taking children on outings, playdates, parks, playgroups
-Preparing meals for children
-Doing children’s laundry, tidying up their rooms/playrooms/bathrooms
How does this compare to a nanny or daycare as a childcare option?
Nannies offer one-on-one childcare, take care of sick kids and develop a trusting relationship with you and your children. They can be highly qualified and able to work with your child’s temperament and aid parents in meeting specific developmental goals.
Other things to consider when hiring a nanny:
-High costs and need for salary negotiations
-Lack of quality candidates
-Lack of a qualified agency in the area
-Lack of night or weekend coverage
-Hassle of verifying her legal work eligibility
-Absence of a back-up plan if she falls ill or quits
-Little or no regulation or support from a third-party agency or staff member
-Wage reporting requirements to state and government agencies
Daycare offers reliable childcare in a group setting that is regulated by the state you live in. Children are able to socialize, play and learn (depending on the daycare). Daycares vary greatly in curriculum (if they offer a learning environment), cleanliness, teacher-student ratios and security. Day cares with a great reputation often have a waiting list.
Other things to consider with daycare:
-High costs and “per child” rates
-Hassle of transporting children to and from the daycare facility
-Inflexible hours and expensive late fees
-High staff turnover and staff inexperience
-High child-to-staff ratio
-Lack of coverage when children are sick
-Tendency to expose children to colds and other illnesses.
Anna Stratton is a professional National Au Pair Childcare Consultant who enjoys helping families find loving, reliable, quality and affordable au pair childcare for their children of all ages. As a mom of twin 7 year old boys, she understands the needs of busy parents and can assist with your childcare search!