For many parents and caregivers, time demands are among the most stressful aspects of raising children. It can feel like there simply aren't enough hours in the day for everything that needs to happen between breakfast and bedtime. Live in childcare can be the solution to your family's busy schedule.
Your kids are your top priority. We know that ensuring they are taken care of is an important part of every day. From early-morning school drop-off to weekend practices, each day's schedule is often jam-packed not to mention unpredictable.
We also know that parents and caregivers learn to expect the unexpected. Snow days, sick days, and countless other events can complicate a family's already-busy schedule.
Finding last-minute care for a child is often challenging, meaning that an unexpected day off school can easily turn into a missed day of work for a parent.
It's not easy to keep up with the demands of raising kids. That's why the live in childcare that an au pair provides can be a solution to these all-too-common problems.
When an au pair becomes a part of your household, they don't just make it easy to ensure your kids are being cared for by someone you can depend on. They can also give you time back in your family's busy schedule.
At AuPairCare, we strive to make it easy to add a live in caregiver to your household. Read on to learn more about our live in child care providers, and how they can shape a new dynamic in your family.
Who Provides Live in Childcare?
Choosing who to entrust with the care of your children is a huge decision. We understand that finding care that is both reliable and high-quality can be a challenge. Our team at AuPairCare can help you find the perfect live in au pair who will be committed to caring for your kids. So, what exactly is an au pair?
An au pair is a type of live in child care helper who travels to the United States on a J-1 visa. An au pair's main responsibility is to provide care for their host family's children. They can also help with light housework related to childcare.
Au pairs come from many countries around the world as participants in a cultural exchange program. They bring language, traditions, recipes, and more from their home country to their host family, creating an immersive cultural learning experience for the children they look after, while simultaneously experiencing the new cultures and traditions of the United States.
During their program year, au pairs become like family members. The live in care that an au pair provides allows them to form close relationships with their host family that can last long after their program year ends.
Most kinds of childcare are provided at out-of-home locations like daycares or after-school care centers. Some caregivers provide in-home childcare, like babysitters and many nannies. Only a few kinds of caregivers provide the unique services that live in childcare offers.
Since both au pairs and some nannies provide live in childcare, what distinguishes an au pair's childcare service from a live in nanny? There are a number of key differences between these caregivers, including:
- Cultural exchange opportunities and benefits
- Federal regulations
- Pay structures
As recipients of cultural exchange visas, au pairs must meet strict requirements set by the United States Department of State. These caregivers are generally between 18-26 years of age, and come from dozens of countries around the world.
Nannies usually work in their home countries, and anyone can become a nanny. Independent nannies aren't required to meet any regulations. Nannies that work through agencies need only meet the requirements of their employers, which can vary significantly.
Some nannies live with the families that employ them, while others commute to and from the family's home each day. On the other hand, au pairs will never need to commute, since they always provide live in childcare. In fact, the room and board au pairs receive from their host family is considered part of their compensation.
Au Pairs Live In Nannies Relationship Au pairs have close, familial relationships with their host family. Nannies are the employees of the host family and have a professional relationship. Payment Au pairs are paid a weekly stipend that considers their room and board in their compensation. Nannies receive a rate of at least minimum wage. Housing Au pairs receive a private bedroom in the home of their host family. Some nannies live with their host family, while others live separately. Responsibilities Au pairs focus on childcare, and may also help with light housework related to caring for kids. Nannies may divide their focus between childcare and housework. There are many differences between the live in care provided by au pairs vs. nannies. Partnering with an au pair agency like AuPairCare ensures that your family will receive the highest standard of childcare, with ongoing support throughout your au pair's placement.
Close Relationships Help Children Thrive
When a live in au pair joins your household, they form a unique bond with your family. Living under the same roof allows the relationship between an au pair and the children they care for to become exceptionally close and supportive.
In fact, many of our host families have said that their au pair became like the older sibling their children never had. We hear stories from au pairs and host families that have stayed in touch for years, even traveling across the globe to visit one another.
These close, loving relationships don't just help kids develop confidence and a positive self-image. Healthy relationships are a crucial piece in supporting the way a child's brain develops.
The nurturing relationships in a child's life help them develop key social-emotional skills like prosocial behavior, self-regulation, and even a sense of right and wrong.
Seeing emotional responses from the people they care about helps children learn about these emotions, how to handle them, and the actions that cause them. They might learn that throwing their toys makes their caregiver unhappy, and that's not an outcome they like! Loving relationships are the key to developing empathy in children.
Plus, engaging with a supportive caregiver through playing or talking helps children develop language and social skills. The time a child spends with a live in childcare provider helps them trust their caretaker enough to take risks in learning these skills.
When a child trusts their caregiver, they know to look to them for responses. For example, if a young child spills a cup of water, the response they get teaches them how to handle that situation in the future. It could teach them how to problem-solve, how to move on from frustration, and more.
When they trust their caregiver, it helps them internalize the responses they receive. These responses teach them about conversations, imaginative play, and every other situation they encounter each day.
Having a close relationship with loving caregivers helps kids grow and develop in many other ways, including:
- Modulating stress
- Learning how to handle negative emotions
- Having support when trying new things
While kids often have strong relationships with caregivers like teachers or babysitters, the support a live in child care helper can offer kids is unparalleled. These caregivers become a part of the child's home and family structure, helping to nurture them and give them a wider support network.
Cultural Exchange with a Live In Caregiver
One of the most unique aspects of receiving child care from a live in au pair is the opportunity for cultural exchange. Learning about a new culture is an enriching experience for every member of a host family.
Our AuPairCare live in childcare providers come from 40 countries around the world. They travel to the United States on J-1 visas, which are unique for participants in cultural exchange programs.
When au pairs come to live and work in the United States, they bring their unique home cultures with them. Many au pairs love to share their culture with their host families. They may teach them traditional recipes, celebrate holidays together, and even share their home language.
Maggie, an AuPairCare au pair from Mexico, had the opportunity to share many aspects of her culture with her host family. She taught her host family to cook authentic recipes like sopes, flautas, and chilaquiles. Maggie and her host family even celebrated traditional cultural holidays like Dia de los Muertos together.
One of the best surprises for Maggie's host parents was the way the children she provides care for have been exposed to a new language. They explained that their preschool-aged children are fluidly integrating Spanish words and phrases into their conversations.
Maggie has capitalized on the organic opportunities that arise in everyday life to teach her host family about her language and culture. The ability to teach kids to seamlessly replace 'œdonut, please' with 'œrosquilla, por favor' around the breakfast table is a unique benefit that only an au pair's live in service allows for.
The live in childcare that an au pair provides gives them the chance to constantly immerse their host families in their culture. This means that the kids au pairs care for learn about a new culture and language in a way that goes well beyond rote memorization and flashcards.
An au pair can blend their culture with their host family's culture to make each day into a learning opportunity. That way, kids have the opportunity to organically engage and naturally apply what they learn.
This kind of cultural exchange has benefits for children that extend well beyond what they learn from an au pair. Exposure to cultural diversity can:
- Help children develop tolerance
- Foster empathy
- Make children more inclusive of others
- Increase a child's understanding of differences between people
- Boost a child's self-confidence and self-efficacy
- Increase educational success
Exposure to cultural diversity is enormously important for young children. Live in childcare from an au pair creates an opportunity to immerse kids in a new language and culture, bringing new meaning to the learning experiences that arise each day.
Flexible Childcare for Your Schedule
Many families are stretched thin, especially when it comes to finding enough time in each day for the myriad tasks that pile up. Between getting the kids to and from school, practice, and appointments, making it to work on time, and sitting in traffic in between, we understand it can feel like a lot of time gets away from us each day.
For example, families spend an average of over an hour in the car each day. As a whole, Americans spend about 84 billion hours each year behind the wheel. What else could you get done in that hour of time each day?
When your source of child care lives in your family's home, they can help give your family time back in creative ways. Many families and caregivers report that managing time demands is one of the most stressful aspects of raising kids. Live-in child care can help your family reduce this stress.
As live in caregivers, an au pair can help with many time-consuming tasks that other types of childcare providers cannot, such as:
- Bathing and dressing the kids
- Helping prepare meals for kids
- Cleaning up after the children's mealtime
- Ensuring that homework and school projects are finished
- Driving kids to and from school, practice, and outings
When an au pair shares the responsibility for many of the time-consuming tasks involved in raising kids, they help to give you valuable time back in your day. These partners in parenting allow you to get more done each day, while still having the assurance that your kids are well-cared for by someone you trust.
A live-in au pair can provide childcare services for their host family for up to 10 hours a day, or a total of up to 45 hours per week. They also work with their host family to decide on a schedule that meets the family's needs.
That means an au pair can keep a flexible enough schedule to ensure your children always have high-quality care available for them.
Last-minute school cancellations from a snow day or a sudden illness can often translate into a missed day of work for at least one parent. With a live-in au pair providing childcare, your family's schedule can become much more predictable and easy to manage.
How to Hire A Live-In Childcare Provider
At AuPairCare, we make it easy to add a live in childcare provider to your household. Our team is made of industry experts, many of whom have been or hosted au pairs themselves. We understand how important it is to find a caregiver that will be the right fit for your family.
We strive to make it simple to hire an au pair. To partner with AuPairCare for live in childcare, a host family simply needs to:
- Match with and interview potential au pairs
- Choose an au pair and set an arrival date
- Prepare for their arrival
Our hands-on approach helps us ensure that every placement will be a resounding success. We provide personalized matching services to help each family find the perfect caregiver. We facilitate interviews and help families prepare for their au pair's arrival. We even handle booking their flights.
We also coordinate all the behind-the-scenes au pair program details, like helping au pairs secure a J-1 visa, and ensuring each candidate meets all the requirements set by the Department of State. These requirements include:
- Spoken English proficiency
- Passing a background check
- Being between ages 18 to 26
- High school education or equivalent
In addition to these requirements, AuPairCare has our own criteria that au pairs must meet, including previous childcare experience and a personality assessment. Our au pairs also receive training in topics like first aid, safety, and child development before their placements begin.
Our au pairs also have the option to continue studying more advanced topics during their program year through the Au Pair Academy. This allows au pairs to become experts in providing infant care, supporting the learning of school-aged children, and other specialties.
Once a host family has hired an au pair, AuPairCare continues to provide support for their entire program year. Within a few days of each au pair's initial arrival, we conduct an orientation to help them adjust to their new role. Then, a local Area Director will continue to check in each month.
Our team at AuPairCare is committed to ensuring that the entire process of adding an au pair to your household is simple and stress-free, from the initial interview until their flight back home.
The Trust and Convenience of Live-In Childcare
One of the biggest challenges in finding childcare is developing a trusting relationship with a dependable caregiver. Many parents and guardians prefer to have a reliable adult-like another family member watch their children, but between work, last-minute schedule changes, and other obligations, this simply isn't always feasible.
Adding a live-in childcare provider to your household is like adding another family member who is there to focus on caring for the kids. Au pair program benefits range from cultural exposure to facilitating positive social-emotional development.
Live-in childcare providers like au pairs can form close, familial relationships with the families they provide care for.
Out-of-home Childcare Relationships
Out-of-home childcare providers tend to maintain professional working relationships with their clients.
Services Au pairs can provide childcare, help with light household tasks, and more. Daycare centers and other care providers focus only on providing childcare.
A live-in au pair is focused only on your family's children. Out-of-home childcare providers are generally responsible for many children at once.
During their time with their host family, au pairs truly become like additional family members. These childcare professionals can transform the households they join by:
- Providing high-quality childcare
- Helping families gain time back in their busy schedules
- Developing close relationships with their host family
- Sharing their culture with the family they provide care for
Considering adding live-in childcare to your household? Contact us to find out more about our program details and how an au pair can become an integral part of your family's dynamic.