Childcare options

April 27, 2016 4:11 pm

As a parent, you have options when you’re choosing quality childcare for your kids. But sometimes, that choice can be tough: do you choose daycare, a nanny, or an au pair to take care of your kids? While all three options have advantages, I’ve personally taken the au pair choice for my kids, and I’m going to break down my choice and some of the reasons why I loved having an au pair.

New culture

One of the biggest reasons we wanted an au pair was the chance to have our kids exposed to a new culture in the safety of our own home. We knew that our au pair would speak a different language and have different customs than we did, and we wanted that diversity for our kids.

Aside from moving to another country and living there, there’s really no better way to expose your kids to new customs and traditions than to have a native move in with you and share his or her life and experiences with you and your family, and my kids ended up speaking a bit of our au par’s native language, which was a real gift to them and to us. That’s something you can’t get with daycare or a nanny.

Lower cost

Having an au pair is often a weekly fee, but if you go through a reputable service, then the cost ends up only being a few hundred dollars per week. After doing the math, it was far cheaper than daycare, which can be exorbitantly expensive for what we found to be mediocre care.

Because you provide their room and board, and the cost to add one more person to the food budget is minimal, their weekly allowance ends up being enough for them and cost effective for you, so it’s a win-win.

Help with housework

This is a small thing, but I can’t stress enough how nice it is to have someone to help you around the house! As parents, we get busy with our lives and responsibilities, so having a friendly face around the house to change a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher is really helpful and makes keeping the house tidy much easier.

Live in care

By far the best and most rewarding part of having an au pair is having the person live in your house. There are no commuting issues, you see them every day, and they become a part of your family. You get to talk to them and learn from their culture as they integrate themselves into your life. The relationship we’ve had with our au pair was rewarding and really fun, because she cooked us meals from her home and we took her to tourist sites around our city. It’s like having a foreign exchange student who looks after your kids and helps around the house, plus, you get a great cultural exchange to boot. It’s different than having a nanny, who comes and goes, because he or she lives with you and becomes integral to family life.

Every family is different, so you have to make the right choice for your family. I can only tell you from my experience that hosting our au pair has been a rewarding, fun, and cost-effective solution for me and my family.