There are so many reasons to host an au pair! Flexible scheduling, cultural exchange opportunities, the trustworthiness of an in-house caregiver. But one of the biggest reasons our host families love having an au pair is because at the end of the day, an au pair is so much more than a childcare provider for your kids.
An au pair acts like a big sister/big brother to your children—a great role model, and a friend.
When you choose au pair childcare, you welcome someone new into your home that quickly becomes an extended member of your family. Making the decision to host an au pair opens your door to a fresh new dynamic at home; it opens your world to a foreign culture and maybe even language; and it opens your heart to a caregiver that will love and watch after your children as if they were their own.
Take German au pair Judith, for example. Her host family—the Overbaughs of Kansas—have four young girls that Judith cares for on a daily basis. She does an excellent job of managing the girls’ busy lives in a fun, enriching way.
“When anyone asks us to describe Judith, our response is that she is a real-life Mary Poppins,” says host mom Sarah. “She makes chores a game, such as creating after school scavenger hunts using treasure maps, that involve our daughters doing their five after school chores and culminate in something fun like a special snack in the tree house.”
Sarah continues: “She teaches them to play games, takes them on adventures, and her imagination never stops. Every day when we come home, we’re amazed at how excited our daughters are to tell us about all the wonderful things they did with Judith that day—from baking treats, to making jewelry for all their aunts, to reorganizing their bedroom to have more room to play school.”
The Overbaugh family even credits Judith with getting their girls’ out of the habit of constant TV-watching—and into more fulfilling kinds of play. “Before Judith came, the girls used to want to watch a show or two after school,” says host dad Mat. “Now, they’re so excited to get home and play with Judith that the only time the tv is turned on is when the seven of us are cuddled on the couch cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Judith has quickly become an exemplary role model for the kids, showing them how to become a strong, self-assured woman. “While Judith has lots of fun with our girls, she also sets a great example for them, which is one of the things we always wanted,” says Sarah. “She’s helping them grow into confident, independent little girls who are caring and responsible.”
For example, according to Sarah and Mat, Judith takes her au pair responsibility to teach them to be clean and respectful very seriously. Tuesday night is now “pick up, clean up” night with Judith—where all the toys, books, puzzles, and games are to be put away before the house cleaner comes. Judith teaches the girls to be respectful of their toys as they put them away and also to be thankful for the fact that they are lucky enough to have a house cleaner.
Sarah has also noticed her girls becoming more considerate thanks to Judith, saying that her three-year-old twin girls now give her compliments when they like Sarah’s earrings, or when they notice that she’s wearing a new nail polish color. “I attribute this to all the compliments that the girls get from Judith,” says Sarah. “She’s a very thoughtful person and it’s wonderful to see this characteristic shining through in our daughters.”
The love between au pair Judith and the Overbaughs is strengthened by the fact that Judith now feels like a true member of their family. Sarah and Mat agreed that the choice to host an au pair was, at first, a nerve-wracking experience—but that they couldn’t be happier with how well it’s worked out.
“My husband and I both have demanding jobs,” says Sarah. “But Judith takes away so much stress since we know our precious daughters are getting the best care possible from her.”
Judith makes them healthy snacks, takes them to the library once a week, and ensures all their homework is done before their parents even get home from work! This allows them quality time as a family together in the evenings, which is so important to Sarah and Mat.
“She is truly an exceptional au pair who goes above and beyond every day to help our family,” confirms Mat. “We’re blessed to have her as part of our family forever.”