The challenge of non-traditional hours: Au pair vs. nanny

April 2, 2013

Do you work Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00? An increasing number of employees work nontraditional hours. Health care, law enforcement, hospitality, retail, and military are common examples of careers with non-traditional hours, but more and more businesses are feeling the need to operate extended or 24 hours to keep up with the demands of a global economy.

For working parents, this presents a childcare challenge. Cultural Care Au Pair recently asked parents in our monthly Host Parent Poll to share whether non-traditional hours were a consideration in getting an au pair vs. a nanny and, if so, how an au pair has worked for their family. 43% responded that they or their spouse work non-traditional hours all the time or occasionally. Following are some of their responses.

“Absolutely! We need someone to be here whatever our work schedule happens to be in any given week.”

“I work shift-work and my husband is deployed. Au pair childcare fits our family perfectly.”

“Having an au pair has been great with a non-traditional schedule. I am able to schedule her in the evening when I have night work events. Having an infant, it was also important to me that I could have an au pair watch her at home. Because I work from home, I can also give her a weekday off when I need her to work on a date night on the weekends. It has worked out great for us.”

“When considering an au pair, our family routine, schedules, work load, business travels and non-traditional work hours were all factors. We aim for consistency, structure and balance for all in our family, including the au pair.”

“Having an au pair was key decision with our non-traditional hours. Our schedule changes every week by one day for both of us. Child care was a huge stress that is no longer an issue.”

“My schedule requires more flexibility in a child care provider than most nannies or any daycare can accommodate.”

“Working non-traditional work hours were our reason for an au pair vs. daycare. There is no day care center open at night when we work.”

“I do have non-traditional hours during certain seasons when I coach. I come home later in the evening due to games and having an au pair has worked to our advantage as we do not have to be present at a certain time every single day to pick up our kids.”

“It was absolutely a consideration. Previously we had a nanny to work normal hours and then needed a second person to help with afternoons, evenings, and weekends.”

“Yes, it’s definitely a consideration because of the flexibility and ability to adjust hours as needed.”

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