With more dual-working and single parent families than ever before, parents are finding it difficult to balance life, family, and work. Families need a trustworthy caregiver who can offer the flexibility a busy family requires. One option that is gaining popularity is hosting a live-in au pair.
These au pairs are adventurous, educated, young people from other countries who spend a year living with a host family in America, experiencing American culture, attending local colleges, and taking care of children.
Although the au pair program has been around for more than 18 years, many American families are not familiar with it. The U.S. Department of State regulates all au pair programs in the United States; au pairs live and study in the United States for one year on a J-l cultural exchange visa, in exchange for roviding 45 hours of childcare per week.
Au pairs are usually 18- to 26-years old and speak proficient English. The au pairs I meet bring great enthusiasm into the home and are excited to teach their host children about a new language, culture, and music.
A host family can set their au pair's working hours according to their hectic schedule, having the au pair drive the children to and from school or to appointments as well as supervise older children during after-school hours and vacation breaks. Au pairs can also assist with light household responsibilities, such as preparing meals, doing the children's laundry, and helping the children keep their rooms and play areas neat.
For an active family with children, hosting an international au pair costs about $300 per week and is one of the most affordable childcare options available. Hosting an au pair not only provides the flexible and affordable childcare families need, it also creates an international bond that will last a lifetime.