In this busy world, it’s important to find a child-care solution that meets the needs and flexibility of your family and also offers the best support and learning opportunities for your children.
There are many factors to take into consideration when looking at your options. Given the benefits of hosting an au pair, it’s not surprising the number of New Zealand families who have chosen in-home care as their preferred solution.
Here are some of the benefits of hosting an au pair.
The cost of hosting an au pair is not as much as you might think. Many host families find that it’s a more cost-effective form of childcare than the pay-per-child-per-hour model, especially those with more than one child. You can get full time care and education for your children from only $300 per week for up to four children. With Au Pair Link you’ll also have access to 20 Hours ECE government subsidy for children aged 3-5 years as well as WINZ and OSCAR childcare subsidies.
The benefit of having an au pair living as part of your family means flexibility. You won’t be tied to a start and finish time like you are at a preschool ECE, and you also won’t need to go searching for a reliable babysitter as your au pair will be right there!
If your children are at different ages and stages, an au pair can help you meet all their needs. If some experience outside the home in a playcentre or early learning centre is desirable, your au pair is available to help with the transport requirements, or with Au Pair Link, they can attend organised playgroups and outings.
It can feel overwhelming ensuring your children’s needs are met, along with finding someone who supports your choice of learning style. An au pair will work with you to help keep your children’s care and education on track. If you hire an au pair through an agency such as Au Pair Link, your family will be allocated your own qualified ECE teacher who will meet with your au pair and children every month to ensure their learning is on track and everything is going well. They will supply age appropriate learning kits and resources, and also organise weekly playgroups, outings and meet-ups for socialisation and learning. Your on-call teacher is also there 24/7 if you need any advice or additional support.
Au Pair Link whisk all of their au pairs away on a three day orientation before starting with you. This is where they learn child first aid (through St John), theoretical driving lessons, they learn how to cope with culture shock, along with childhood education and behaviour management strategies. They also organise plenty of weekend au pair trips away too!
Hosting an au pair is covered under New Zealand law so any licenced service provider must meet minimum standards of care and education. If you source an au pair through a licenced provider, your carer will develop a learning programme especially for your child that takes into account their age, development and interests. They will receive on-going training and support from their agency, and often will also be able to access further resources.
Au Pair Link 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 (which can happen, but is rare!)
It’s true that kids thrive on routine and consistency and having an au pair in your home can help ensure routines are well established and adhered to. With an au pair, the number of caregivers is reduced, and your children do not have to constantly adjust to having different adults caring for them.
Having an au pair in the house is having another adult, and an extra pair of hands, in the house. If you are parenting alone a lot, having company can be supportive, reassuring and fun. In addition to keeping the kids entertained, busy and learning, they can also help sort the washing mountain, meet the neverending feeding requirements, and keep the toys and play areas tidy.
If at least some of your children are school age, an au pair is a great help in getting the kids ready and out the door. They can even do the drop off, pick ups, and help with after school activities!
While a child’s immune system develops as they are exposed to viruses and germs, the onslaught of different illnesses they’re exposed to in a preschool environment can mean children lurching from one illness to the next. For working parents this can be a huge pressure and some find that they prefer their children to be cared for in their own home. Less sickness, and less time off work for you!
Having an au pair means if your child is sick, there is a familiar caregiver right there at home with them.
Au pairs in New Zealand are usually young people from overseas. Having someone from a different culture in your home is a fantastic way for your children to experience that culture, including the language and cuisine, and in doing so enrich their lives.
What would you like best about having an au pair?
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.”