Choosing an Au Pair
We recently welcomed our seventh au pair into our home. This has been a wonderful childcare option for our family. Friends and strangers alike though, often wonder about our decision and have many questions! First, you should know that having an au pair is like having a young person who you've never met live with you and care for your children! This is both cultural exchange and childcare. i know that sounds scary, but when you choose a reputable company to work with (we use Cultural Care Au Pair), the au pairs will receive a fairly extensive screening and orientation before being placed with your family. The program is regulated by the Department of State (you can see all the regulations on their website). When choosing an au pair, I tell people that first you have to figure out what is the job description for life in your family and most importantly, since they live with you, what type of person will fit into your family? Do you need someone who is rule oriented or more "go with the flow". Does your "job" require a lot of driving (if yes, ask LOTS of questions about the au pair's experience behind the wheel!). Do you want someone who will chat you up at the dinner table? Or do you prefer someone who goes her own way in her free time? (We actually prefer the au pairs who spend time with us!). I just started my own blog to document this year's experience with our au pair and it's called aupairinformation.tumblr.com.
I just took on the new role of being the local childcare coordinator with Cultural Care Au Pair in Newton, MA. If anyone is interested in hosting an au pair or would like more information on the program, please feel free to contact me. You can find my contact information on my Website: www.jsappenfield.aupairnews.com
We've been a seven year host family (actually also with Cultural Care Au Pair) and can't say enough about it. Yes there have been ups and downs during that time but the flexibility, affordability and cultural exchange that this unique form of childcare brings makes it all worth while. I always tell friends who are concerned about losing their sense of privacy, once you have children....don't you kind of lose it anyway. And to have the extra set of hands to help out has been invaluable. My daughter presently has the stomach flu and our au pair just jumped in and helped out with laundry, distracting/playing with my son so he wouldn't obsess over why his sister was sick. If you haven't considered it, it's worth it.