Childcare Options for Working Parents – Summer Blackhurst
Summer Blackhurst is a writer for Go Au Pair and mother of an 18-month old girl, 3-year old boy and 5-year old boy. She has interviewed close to 200 Host families and Au Pairs about their childcare experience with nannies, daycare and au pairs.
Tips for Working Parents considering Childcare Options
In general, when parents look at their childcare options, they assume the choice is between a nanny or daycare. Some don’t take into consideration using a foreign nanny because they don’t know it is an option or they are worried about living with another person or assume this type of childcare would be too expensive. There are a number of angles to look at when deciding between an au pair or a nanny or daycare.
Daycares are more affordable if you’re only sending your first child, but the more children you add to the mix this number doubles and triples and so on. The hourly cost of having an au pair can be much less than using a daycare because the price doesn’t rise with the addition of children. Generally, au pairs are less expensive than a nanny, but nannies don’t live with you. Parents weighing the costs of childcare can research the costs in their state by visiting the Interactive Map of the U.S. from Childcare Aware.
One of the reasons people don’t choose au pair childcare is the fear of losing their privacy. Host families say their fears of living with another person melt away as they start the interviewing process and find a close friend in the au pair batch. The au pairs become a part of the family and as they live together, and they have a lot more flexibility. There are also no late fees if the parents are late getting home from work, as there are with daycares. Au pairs are also available to work weekends and evenings, which is unusual for a nanny and not a part of the daycare program.
Families involved in the au pair program swear by the sanity moms feel when they have live in help. Daycares don’t help with the sanity at the home factor, especially when it comes to kids getting sick parents have to scramble for last minute care or, they have to miss work.
Consider Help at Home
Driving children around is limited to nannies and to au pairs. Many nannies have their own car to get around; some au pairs may need to use the family car on their time off, but it also means they are able to take the kids to after school activities and can run to the store to get the last minute ingredients for dinner. Actually, Au Pairs can even make dinner and breakfast and lunch for the kiddies, and they’ll do their laundry, leaving time for parents just to be with their kids when they get home after work instead of trying to catch the house back up on the chores.
The final thing unique to au pairs is the cultural exchange, and at times, they even help children to become bilingual. Ultimately, if an au pair makes sense, the family would need to have a room available for the au pair and a need for 45 hours of childcare, unless they want to go with the Educare program that covers 30 hours of childcare.