Finding the perfect childcare solution for your family can be really difficult. Your family’s requirements are unique and there are a number of different childcare solutions available.
Find out the key differences between hosting an au pair, and using an Early Childhood Centre (ECE).
Expecting the unexpected
If there is one parenting constant, it’s that nothing is constant! Kids’ appointments, work requirements, cold’s and flu’s, medical appointments, school camps, committee meetings… the list just goes on. It’s a rare week that has no additional things to add in to the usual schedule.
Catering for constant change requires flexibility and having an au pair living with you in your home gives you this. You are not tied to a fixed start and finish time for your childcare – the au pair is right there with you in your home, literally holding the baby(s) and helping you balance everything and keep everyone calm.
Catering for cost
The cost of childcare can be a significant part of a household budget. The government funds 20 hours free ECE (for children aged 3, 4 or 5) for licensed ECE services and there is also a means tested 10 hours childcare subsidy available also.
Many host families of au pairs find that it is actually cheaper than using an ECE, especially if you have more than one child. If you host an au pair through agency such as Au Pair Link, they will be able to organise to receive the 20 hours ECE, OSCAR or childcare subsidies that you are eligible for.
Bugs, flu’s and viruses
At times, especially during winter, it can feel as if bugs and viruses are a constant. At any given time one or more of your children can be sick – or contagious and therefore attendance at an ECE is not advisable. The flexibility of having an au pair living with you means sick children can stay at home in bed or having a quiet day. And if you are sick, so can you!
Familiarity and socialisation
Kids love routine and familiarity. Most ECE’s have a regular daily and weekly routine that the children get to know, and there are continual opportunities for social interaction. It is possible there may be regular staff changes and children starting or leaving that ECE Centre. This is unsettling for some children. In comparison, being based at home with an au pair means fewer changes and potentially less stress.
Au Pair Link take all of their au pairs on a three day orientation where they learn child first aid (through St John), theoretical driving lessons, culture shock, along with childhood education and behaviour management strategies. They provide playgroups, exclusive outings, education resources and organise au pair trips away too! Your family will be allocated your own qualified ECE teacher who will meet with you, your children and your au pair on a monthly basis to ensure everything is going well. They will be on-hand 24/7 for guidance and support.
They help with settling your au pair into the New Zealand way of life, provide you with support and mediation. They can help place another au pair with you should your first choice not work out.
What childcare solution will work best for your family?
Written by Robyn for Au Pair Link
Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.
Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass.”