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Being a working mum can be hard! Achieving a work/life balance can be a tricky juggling act and while you may be excited about going back to work or starting a new role, the thought of leaving your children with someone else can be a very daunting prospect. We’re going to walk you through one of the options that is becoming more popular for mums wanting an affordable childcare option for their children without sacrificing quality, personalised care – hiring an au pair.
One of the greatest advantages of hiring an au pair is that they can to work according to your schedule. This means that, should you have flexible or changing work hours, you can work this out with your au pair and they’ll be able to adjust their schedule accordingly when needed.
A familiar face to lend a hand:
Another advantage of having an au pair is that your child will be able to develop a relationship with them on a one to one basis. This also means that you can really get to know your au pair and trust them to align themselves with your parenting style so that your child knows what boundaries and rules are in place no matter who is looking after them. It also means that you’ll have a pair of helping hands to take care of the crazy morning routine and some help with light housework meaning the time you spend with your children is quality time.
While you may think hiring an au pair is expensive, when you compare the hours and flexibility of this option, the price turns out to be very competitive when compared to other childcare options. Remember, an au pair not only alleviates your need for after school care and day care for younger children, they are also available in the mornings and evenings to help with getting the kids ready for school and bed and to take care of your babysitting needs. The recommended minimum weekly pocket money for 25 hours per week is currently £70 per week.
New shared experiences:
Au pairs come from all over the world and bring with them a wealth of knowledge about different cultures and experiences. Whether you decide to choose an au pair from our European neighbours or further afield from Australia, your children will be exposed to a new culture, and possibly a new language, that will ultimately broaden their horizons.
Au pairs may not have the professional qualifications of other carers. They are often young people who perhaps only have babysitting experience. It is therefore very important to make sure you communicate your needs with the agency and your au pair. This will enable you to ensure that your au pair will be equipped to meet the needs of your family.
Your au pair has come far from home and will therefore live in your home for the duration of their stay. While many au pairs tend to use their free time to see the sights, hang out with other au pairs and have some well deserved free time in their rooms, it also means that they will be sharing your home and this can be challenging at times.
Safety & security:
Many families may understandably be concerned about having a complete stranger not only living with them but also taking responsibility for their children. Whilst no-one can completely alleviate your concerns about this aspect of hosting an au pair, you can certainly go some way to reduce them. By using a reputable au pair agency to find your au pair instead of advertising for one privately, your chosen au pair will have undergone professional screening and background checks. While most au pairs are not as qualified as a professional nanny would be, some will already have first aid qualifications and if they don’t, your au pair agency will be able to help arrange their attendance at one in your area. Au pair agencies will also help you find your perfect au pair by matching your requirements to their candidates. You will then get a shortlist of suitable candidates and be invited to Skype/FaceTime with the ones you feel would fit well into your family dynamic. Following your video call with the prospective candidates, you will be able to confidently choose the au pair who is right for you.
Like any childcare option, hiring an au pair can take some adjustment, but the overall positive impact it will have on your family, as well as the affordability factor, make it a great option for many families.