April 17, 2014

The number one reason parents choose au pair childcare? Flexibility.

3 minutes
About au pairs

In a recent poll to our host parents, we learned that the number one reason families switched from other forms of childcare to Cultural Care Au Pair is flexibility. Parents also mentioned the affordable cost and opportunity for cultural exchange as reasons for choosing au pairs over daycare or a nanny but flexibility was the clear winner by 22% of responders. The results also indicated that families feel that the ability to accommodate their required hours or schedule is the most important consideration when choosing childcare.

While daycare centers have established hours of operation and most nannies want a consistent weekly schedule, au pairs can work up to 45 hours a week (no more than 10 hours a day) on a schedule that you decide. So, if you need early morning coverage or want to schedule a date night every other Friday or need to work on the weekends on occasion, an au pair can cover those needs.
Here is what some Cultural Care host parents had to say about how an au pair satisfies their need for flexibility.

Parents who work non-traditional schedules
“Initially we decided to host an au pair because of our early work schedules. Through the years we have continued to use au pairs because of the quality of life they provide not only for the children but for the family too.”
Liz Rutkowsky, host mom in VA
“We are both physicians and work long hours. Flora gets up with the kids and takes two buses to take them to their separate schools. Flora manages the household… packs my daughter’s lunch daily… [does] the kids’ laundry.”
Angie Jelin, host mom in Washington, D.C.

Parents who travel frequently
“With three kids under 3.5 (at time of first au pair) and a father who travels often, we needed more hours and more flexibility than our part-time nanny could offer.”
Tenley Harrison, host mom in CA
“We travel a lot for work and wanted the flexibility that an au pair provides. Additionally, we really like the international aspect and having the person become part of our extended family.”
Kurt Nelson, host dad in MN

Parents who want the option to split their coverage during the day
“We chose to host an au pair because it is the only program that allows us to have the flexibility to change the schedule or split the days as necessary with our children’s varied ages.”
Linnette Wolfberg, host mom in IL
“My husband travels often and I work from home. I wanted the option of a changing schedule or a broken day (assist in the mornings and then in the afternoons) that I didn’t have with my nannies. Instead of a sitter, you get a sister for your children.”
Susan Sutherland, host mom in NC
“An au pair fits our needs better than live out care arrangements now that our kids are in school, and we need help at different times of day.”
Gary Steele, host dad in VA

Parents who need someone to manage the drop-off, pick-up and after-school schedule; and who have kids both in and not yet in school
“The flexibility of an au pair is invaluable to us. She helps us get our oldest two kids off to school in the morning and is also there after school managing play dates, sports, homework and anything else that comes up.”
Lisa Sousa, host mom in MA
“When our oldest started elementary school, we decided that after-care at the school wouldn’t be a good fit for her. Since we have both loved living abroad, we thought the chance to host a foreign student would be a great option.”
Deborah Schneider, host mom in VA

Parents who like to go out on the weekends
“When we have extra hours left in the week, my husband and I schedule a Saturday night date. The kids are excited to be home with our au pair and we don’t pay any extra or deal with the hassle of finding a babysitter.”
Lisa Sousa, host mom in MA
“[Our au pair] sat down with me and said lets rearrange this work week so that you guys can go on a date and put yourselves first. She really thinks of how to make the lives of everyone better.”
Megan Nelson, host mom in CA

Parents who need more flexibility in general to ease stress
“We truly need the help. We cannot do it without an au pair. The flexibility is wonderful! Jenny is punctual and never misses a day— she starts early or ends late if we need it, and always with a good attitude.”
Amy Guthrie, host mom in TX
“Having an au pair has given us so much flexibility and an overall feeling of less stress for our entire family. Bea has enriched all of our lives and is not just an au pair to us but a family member.”
Brenna Mielenz, host mom in CO

If you could use more wiggle room in your childcare provider’s hours, consider hosting an au pair. They provide the most flexibility out of any childcare solution out there!