March 25, 2013

Low au pair cost vs. rising childcare costs

2 minutes
Childcare options

You might think having an au pair costs a fortune, but you would be wrong.  Cultural Care Au Pair host parents, Becky and Nick Manicone, recently appeared on CNN and dispelled that myth, explaining that their au pair costs less than other forms of childcare where they live in Virginia.

Childcare costs on the rise

It’s true that childcare costs are soaring.  A recent report from ChildCare Aware of America shows that many families are spending more money on childcare than they do on their mortgages.  It also shows that the annual cost of childcare in many areas exceeds the cost of college tuition.
The sharp increase in the cost of traditional day care centers and nannies is pushing families like the Manicones to consider alternative childcare options.  While some families are lucky enough to have family nearby who can help out with the kids, many families have to look for full time childcare so that both parents can work.

Au pair cost vs. nanny cost

The Manicones were shocked to find that hiring a nanny in their area would cost around $50,000 a year.  With nanny costs that high, some families decide that it’s more cost effective for one parent to stay home with the kids.  When they compared the cost of a nanny to the cost of an au pair, they found they would save thousands of dollars, and have more flexible coverage when it comes to setting their au pair’s schedule.

Au pair cost vs. daycare cost

The cost and quality of day care centers varies greatly from place to place, but in Virginia the study showed the average annual cost of having one infant and one 4-year-old child in a day care center was $18,966.  Beyond the high cost of day care, the Manicones also found long waiting lists that basically made it impossible for them to enroll their children.

The verdict on au pair cost

So how much does an au pair cost?  The average total au pair cost comes to $360 per week for 45 hours of childcare, regardless of how many children you have.  Check out the current au pair cost breakdown from Cultural Care Au Pair.

But according to Becky Manicone, more important than the au pair cost is the quality of childcare you get and the relationships you build with your au pairs:

“We love our au pairs!  Each one plays a special role in our family. We stay in contact with them after they leave and have even visited them in their home countries. One of our au pairs included our daughters in her wedding in Colombia. Our family was thrilled to visit her country, participate in her wedding and meet her extended family. I can’t imagine using any other type of child arrangement for our family. Our au pairs have enriched our lives and give us peace of mind knowing that our children are well cared for and loved, with the added bonus of our children being able to spend their after school hours at home. The flexibility is a life saver for our busy family.”