Au Pair: Is Hiring One Really a Need?

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When looking for childcare, you may have heard of hiring an au pair. This is common in Europe, in particular, with many young adults traveling to help look after children while also having the opportunity to travel. If you haven’t heard of an au pair, you may be wondering what one is and how they differ from a childminder or a nursery.

What’s an au pair?

An au pair is someone that comes to your home, lives in with you, and help look after your children. They have limited hours they can work, so don’t expect them to be able to help you all hours of the day, but this can be a good option to consider. Au pairs generally come from another country and use the opportunity to learn the local language and travel. They are often not paid in cash, but rather, are treated as a part of your family. You’ll give them a room and help them integrate into your family and the area you live in.

This is a great choice if you enjoy bringing new people into your home, and you need someone that can provide hands-on care for your child. This can also be a great benefit for your child as they get someone who can give them their full attention, unlike in a nursery situation. Your au pair may also help around the house as a part of the agreement, which can help take some of the burden off you. You can search through www.childcare.co.uk to find an au pair that matches your needs. 

There are some limitations to using an au pair, though. Depending on the amount of help you need, you may find the hours that an au pair can help you limiting. There’s an option to increase the amount of time your au pair is contracted to, but this will cost extra. You also need to take into account that you’ll have to feed another person when they are living in your house. Along with this, you need to be happy with a stranger living in your house and have the trust in them to respect it. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, then this may not be the option for you.  

What are the alternatives?

If you’d like someone with a little more experience, then it’s recommended that you use a nursery or a childminder rather than an au pair. Nurseries can be found easily by searching online for childcare centers in Austral, for example, and looking at the reviews. A childminder is also just a Google away. Both nursery employees and childminders need to be registered, meaning that if there are any issues, you have a clear line of communication to rectify it. If you’d still prefer someone coming to your home and would like the flexibility that comes with an au pair, then a childminder is the best option. This will be more expensive, but you get the experience that comes with this.

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