January 29, 2019

New Year, New Childcare

Make 2019 the year you welcome an au pair!

5 minutes
Childcare options

Now that we’re about a month in to 2019, it’s time to take a real, hard look at our new year’s resolutions. Of your hopes and dreams for this year, what is realistic, what is too ambitious, and what have you already started to make progress on?
Maybe your goal was to go to the gym every day—or eat more veggies. Or perhaps your resolution was to spend less money shopping—or to read more books! For countless parents around the country, a popular new year’s resolution is to find a childcare solution that works well for their family. A way to breathe new life into their routine, and a caregiver that gives their children the focused attention they crave and deserve.
A truly special way to revolutionize your childcare is to welcome an au pair into your home and your heart. Au pairs give your family more free time, more flexibility and a more enriching experience because of their passion for cultural exchange. When you host an au pair, you open your world—and most importantly, your children’s worlds—up to another culture and another way of life. In many cases, your kids are exposed to a new language, new traditions, new foods, new songs and games … and new people! Your children learn to become more tolerant, more open-minded, more well-rounded, more culturally curious and more of a global citizen than you ever dreamed they could be.
Of course, the flexibility of an au pair is unmatched. Compared to the more rigid schedules of daycares and nannies, au pairs are able to work hours that you decide (as long as it’s no more than 45 hours per week). They’re full-time childcare providers that are adaptable to the needs of your specific family and your ever-changing priorities. Perhaps your job isn’t consistent every week—or perhaps shifting school vacation schedules make childcare difficult to nail down. No matter your unique situation at home, there’s an au pair out there that’s perfect for you.

If your resolution for 2019 was to have more free time—specifically, family time—an au pair is the ideal solution. Because your au pair lives in your home with you, their flexibility affords you more time to concentrate on the things that really matter: Spending time with the people who matter most. Better yet, with the special bond that so often forms between an au pair and host family, it’s likely that time with your au pair will start to feel like true family time. They become an extended family member of sorts; a new piece of your collective heart and home.
Consider the stories of Cultural Care Au Pair host families—real parents who transitioned from daycare or other forms of childcare to an au pair. They discovered how life-changing having a dedicated caregiver like an au pair could be for their children, and how seamlessly they fit into their busy, everyday lives:
Kate Sande, host mom from Minnesota
“Both of our children were in full-time daycare before our au pair Debi arrived. My husband Patrick and I have busy jobs, like many people, and the rush to shuttle kids to and from daycare, the constant illnesses, and challenges with schedules when one of us was traveling for work was getting to be too much. Debi came in and instantly the balance in our daily life improved.
Debi entered our home life seamlessly. She really is a member of the family. Our entire extended family has gotten to know her and love her as much as we do. Debi cooks incredible Hungarian meals and it’s always restaurant good. Debi notices when something needs to be done and pitches in without hesitation. But she also knows when it’s her time off and is time to rest. We love hearing about Debi’s culture and family—and she is always willing to share a fun new word, or cultural and family traditions that are special to her.
The transition from daycare to being home was a big one for our daughter Greta. She was used to a highly structured environment and having children her age around all day. Debi was incredibly patient during this transition. She introduced structure by doing interesting activities throughout the day such as making paper food, wallets, money, and cell phones. I will come home to Greta and Debi playing “ice cream stand” with the ice cream cones they made. Or they will make intricate alphabet art, which now hangs up in our house because it’s so darling.
Debi is truly Greta’s older sister and Greta misses her terribly when she is away. When Debi is gone for the weekend, out of the blue Greta will say, ‘I MISS DEBI!’ One morning, really early, Greta woke up crying because she thought Debi went home to Hungary. Greta had never woke up crying before because something made her sad.”

The Daniels family, host family from Iowa
“We are dual-working parents, and we have an infant and two young school-aged children. Our life is such that the balance of work and family has always been stressful, and we were in survival mode for years making it all ‘work.’ For countless years, our kids Mary and JP were in daycare services since they turned eight weeks old. I really thought I was getting the best of the best in childcare in the daycare centers. The idea of an au pair came up among my professional colleagues, and I brushed it off as if it were some theoretical idea that might never translate to an ideal reality for me. When I was pregnant with my third child, I came to the realization that balancing the roles of a military family, dual-working parents, running a household, dreaming of possible career progression, and now caring for a third child required more than what the daycare would ever offer. We have no family in the area we currently live and have very limited friends for support. The idea of an au pair became more enticing for flexibility. Although skeptical, I made the leap …
Our au pair Nadja has increased our overall quality of life, our appreciation for other cultures, and the meaning of family … because we can actually be a family with a sound, healthy, and balanced infrastructure that she stabilizes for us every single day!”
Sarah Rera, host mom from New York
We came to the au pair program after years of daycare and afterschool sitters who would flake out, school holidays spent working from home and weekends spent doing the laundry of three little girls who change outfits more frequently than Lady Gaga. Something had to give.
Inviting our au pair Natalia to join our family is the best decision we have ever made. My only regret is that we didn’t find Cultural Care sooner.
Natalia has integrated perfectly into our family of five with kids aged from 3 to 7. She takes initiative around the house to clean, help the girls, or think of things for them to do. She gets my oldest daughter to eat, which is nearly impossible if she’s not served pizza and chicken nuggets.”