March 17, 2014

Considering live-in childcare? Advice from the experts

3 minutes
Advice for host families

We recently asked our host families what advice they would give to someone who is considering au pair childcare. And, the advice? It’s real, honest advice that we will be sharing over the next couple of weeks as it relates to the benefits (and challenges) of au pair childcare.
Choosing your childcare is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. There is a lot at stake, and it’s a personal decision–and can become even more personal when welcoming an au pair to live with you. To families unfamiliar with the program, the thought of having a young adult between the ages of 18 – 26 years old live with them can be daunting. But, according to our host families, taking that leap of faith with live-in childcare has turned out to be the biggest AND the best decision they’ve made.
“I can understand a concern in regards to the comfort level of welcoming a stranger into your home and further more entrusting your children to them.  However, we have been nothing be pleased with the au pairs we have welcomed.  They have been excellent in caring for our children and have become members of our family.” -Conlon family, VA
“We wanted someone that would become like a part of our family for the year to help us take care of our children.  With both parents working, and one regularly travelling for work, we needed the assistance. Make sure you are comfortable with someone living in your house, be able to provide them with their own space and be willing to welcome them in as a part of the family.” -Nesbit family, MA
“If you are open to having someone love with you it is a wonderful option for high quality care. I needed reliable, high quality, cost effective childcare. All in all, Zuly (our au pair) has a big role and has performed wonderfully.  She is sweet and loving with the kids, organized in the house, and open for making changes or my requests.  I appreciate her very much and my kids love her like an aunt.” –Murray family, SC
“We were intrigued by the idea of cultural exchange and the possibility that our children could be bilingual if we selected au pair with a different native tongue. Being in their 20s, au pairs tend to have a lot of energy which is an ideal quality for the childcare of newborns and toddlers.  Initially, we were concerned about the idea of having someone live with us, but we have realized that the advantages definitely outweigh losing access to a bedroom in your home. When our au pair is on vacation or out for the evening, our home seems to be missing something wonderful that is around when she is home.” -Wang family, CA
“How does taking care of new-born triplets AND a 2 year old sound?!  That’s exactly what our au pair, Gabi, signed up for a year and a half ago and, no, she’s not crazy!  Gabi is efficient, engaging, warm, punctual, tough when she needs to be and caring. It’s not as invasive as you would think to have an au pair living in your home.  It’s actually fun and makes the home a warm, inviting place to raise children.”  -Klidjian family, GA
“We had a lot of challenges with childcare in the U.S.. We wanted more for our children, perhaps someone with a better background, more driven and motivated.  We have found that there is no comparison in the kind of childcare, the flexibility, and the family feeling to having an au pair.  I would suggest that families not be fearful of having someone live in your home.  This was an adjustment for us, for sure, with some resistance from my husband.  But once we struck the right balance, it works very well.  And we couldn’t go back to any other way now….it just works so well.” – Sharma family, MA