For some of us, the end of the year didn't just mark a change of pace during the holidays, but also time for planning the year ahead. With a difficult 2009 of high unemployment and devaluing stocks, 2010 is bringing new opportunities, new hiring and new hope to a lot of Americans.
Maybe one of your challenges this year has been childcare… the nanny got married and moved away, or the daycare you wanted is maxed out and you ended up with a situation you are not happy with.
Maybe a more-demanding schedule from your job have made it difficult to be on time to pick up baby at daycare and toddler at pre-school, or you have had to move unexpectedly and your new hometown does not offer the level of childcare you were used to. Or you a simply a busy mom trying to juggle motherhood, a home, a career and being a wife, a friend, a daughter.
As you plan your career and family objectives for 2010, consider the following questions:
1.) How many hours of childcare do we actually require each week?
2.) Could our family have more time together if we had a helper handling the driving or helping with the kids' laundry?
3.) Could our couple benefit from a baby-sitter already used to the family’s routine for a “date night” when we have some hours left for the week?
4.) Would it help us to have someone take the kids to their extra-curricular activities and help plan games, homework and house chores?
5.) Would our school-aged child benefit from homework help in Spanish or German while our toddler started learning a few words of the language with no effort?
6.) Would our family enjoy sharing our home and our life with a young nanny eager to experience America with us? Would our children learn more about what is so special in their own country as well as the nanny’s?
7.) Would our extended family enjoy sharing holiday traditions with our au pair and wouldn’t our kids love to make our au pair’s home recipes?
8.) Would our children benefit from being able to spend more time in the comfort of their home rather than after-school care?
9.) Would our children learn more new things and gain more confidence with personalized, one-on-one care rather than having one childcare provider for four to six children?
10.) Would our family benefit from hosting an au pair in 2010?
As an au pair program consultant, I enjoy discussing the challenges and opportunities of hosting an au pair. I help parents decide whether family hosting an au pair is the right childcare option for them and what a difference it would make in the year(s) to come!