If you’ve ever had a child wake up with a fever on a day you have a major presentation at work and your spouse is out of town on business, you know childcare stress. Whether it’s a teacher workday, sickness or simply juggling after-school pickup and client meetings, working parents know the delicate balance of business and family.
Having reliable, regular childcare can greatly reduce this stress and bring more order your home. Part-time babysitters and after-school programs may help, but having a steady childcare provider in your home means knowing you have someone to step in every day and in emergencies.
One solution is an au pair, young international visitors who travel to the United States on a J-1 Visitor Exchange Visa to gain a better understanding of American life while living with an American family and caring for their young children.
But you don’t want to hire just anyone to live in your home and care for your children. An au pair service can assist with screening, selection and support.
If you think an au pair would be a good fit for your family, take the following list into consideration when thinking about employing an au pair.
1. Outstanding service
Be sure that the agency you use has a personalized support team of experts to assist you and your au pair – from getting started and finding a match, throughout the exchange term and transitioning from one au pair to another.
2. Flexible and dependable child care
With an au pair, you gain the flexibility and convenience of live-in child care to simplify your life. An au pair helps take the stress out of dealing with sick days, school closings, doctor appointments, soccer practice and other life events that cause your schedule to fluctuate from day to day.
3. Program options to fit your family
Depending on the age of your child or children and the number of hours you need child care, a service provider can offer a variety of options that work for your family.
4. Plenty of options to choose from
Seek out an agency with a wide range of applicants from around the world. Au pairs should have recent child care experience, pass a multi-tiered screening process and background check and attend a comprehensive orientation program before they can join an American family.
5. Enriching cultural experiences
Au pair exchange is about more than great child care, and you should be interested in sharing culture, language and customs. Your au pair provides a window to the world, and your children will receive a global education during their formative years. Through au pair exchange, your family can build an international network of friendship and understanding.
6. A comprehensive orientation
A mandatory orientation prepares au pairs for life in the United States. Orientation also should include American Red Cross training for infant/child CPR and safety and an optional AAA driver safety course.
7. Accountability and integrity
Look for a reputable agency with plenty of experience and review. Au Pair in America is the first au pair program in the nation and has provided more than 100,000 families with dependable childcare. As a division of the American Institute For Foreign Study, its resources enable reliable visa processing, comprehensive insurance for au pairs and discounts for host families interested in any of AIFS’s renowned programs.
To learn more about au pair child care services, visit AuPairInAmerica.com.