Summertime means lazy days, backyard cookouts, visits to the beach, and a well-deserved break from school for the kids. But if you’re a working parent, the unstructured days of summer also mean that you scramble to find seasonal childcare.
Summer childcare choices range from day camps to teenage babysitters to favors from family. And, more often than not, parents ust piece together a patchwork of these solutions to guarantee care for their children all summer.
Most families in face this childcare dilemma every year. But this year, many families are hosting a summer au pair and, for them, it is such a relief knowing they don’t need to worry about childcare this summer.
The summer au pair program was designed for families with school-aged children. For many families, hosting a summer au pair is a way to bridge the gap between children’s soccer camps, Grandma’s house, and play dates instead of bouncing back and forth between childcare options.
Summer au pairs are between the ages of 18 and 26 and come from Poland, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Brazil. A summer au pair provides up to 45 hours of childcare per week in exchange for a weekly stipend and the opportunity to experience American culture by living with a local family for up to 16 weeks.
I have worked with many families hosting summer au pairs and they just love the flexibility it gives them and their children. They were able to do a different activity every day or just enjoy the pool in the backyard.
In addition to the flexibility a summer au pair provides, the benefits of cultural exchange influenced my family to choose the au pair program over summer daycare or nannies. Summer au pairs open children’s eyes to the world; often, host children learn to sing Brazilian songs or play German children’s games. Although children are out of school and having fun during the summer, they are still learning about a different language, music and culture, and the lessons they learn from a summer au pair can last a lifetime.