The challenge of juggling full-time jobs and raising children is something parents know all too well. They face the struggles of arranging after-school pickup, shuttling kids to swimming, soccer or music lessons, and simply trying to find a babysitter for a Friday date night. While many people turn to their high school-age neighbor or hire a nanny for a few hours a week, for some families, it may be worth considering an au pair as a live-in childcare solution.
Au pairs are typically young international visitors who travel to the United States on a J-1 Visitor Exchange Visa to acquire a better understanding and appreciation of American life while living with an American family and caring for their young children.
There’s a good chance your family has never even considered an au pair, but here are 5 signs is a good choice for you:
1. You are looking for a child care solution that works with you
If you’re a parent, you know how unpredictable life can be. There are work days that don’t end exactly at 5 p.m., kids that need to be picked up early from school and last minute meetings.
Since an au pair is a live-in child care provider, parents don’t have to worry about rushing home to relieve the babysitter when life gets a little crazy. Au pairs provide up to 45 hours of child care per week, so you can work together to craft a schedule that fit your family’s needs.
2. You appreciate personalized support
When it comes to the care of your children, you want an ally to provide the support you need, when you need it. An organization like Au Pair in America works closely with parents to choose the best au pair for their unique child care needs.
Parents have access to a full team that helps ensure the family and the au pair are satisfied and supported. All au pairs and families commit to 12 months, and your au pair can apply to extend her stay for up to an additional 12 months.
3. You want flexible options
Au pairs from Au Pair in America care for children of all ages – infants from 3 months old, pre-school and school age children. Parents can select from a variety of options, including the Extraordinaire program for families that want au pairs who have a formal educational child care degree or two years full-time experience. The EduCare program provides 30 hours of care per week. This is exclusively for families with school-age children who require care primarily during the early morning and after school hours, with some weekend and evening hours.
With multiple program options and a pool of pre-screened au pairs from more than 55 countries, parents have a lot of freedom to choose a caregiver with the background and qualifications that appeal to their family.
4. You want a reputable source of child care
Since 1986, Au Pair in America has worked with the U.S. Department of State to provide families with opportunities for cultural exchange and flexible child care. It was the first organization to offer a Red Cross safety program and a customized AAA driving course for international drivers. All au pairs have a minimum of 200 hours of documented child care experience as well as orientation they are required to attend before traveling to the family’s home.
5. You want the best for your children
Among the advantages of hosting an au pair, children grow up with experienced caregivers living as part of the family. Plus, they receive hands-on support, cultural enrichment and international perspective. No matter what their age, children may learn to like a wider variety of foods, begin learning a second language, and come to appreciate songs, stories and holidays of other cultures. Many children who grew up with au pairs have shared that their education, social network and career prospects were positively influenced and improved as a result of the intercultural care they received.
To learn more about the benefits of hosting an au pair, visit AuPairInAmerica.com.