There are many reasons why hosting an international au pair is a great child care option for American families. We would like to share some of the best features of the au pair program that will benefit your family long after the holiday season ends! Here are the top 5 ways that hosting an au pair is the gift that keeps on giving:
1. You’ll experience new traditions and share your own family’s culture.
By hosting an international visitor from another culture, your family will have the opportunity not only to learn about and experience the customs of your au pair’s home country, but also to share your own family’s unique traditions with your au pair. Your family might not give a second thought to why everyone wears those goofy hats on Thanksgiving or camps out in the backyard one night each year, but explaining and sharing your quirky family traditions injects new life and meaning into them.
2. Two words: Snow Days
Winter weather events strike fear into the hearts of most parents, especially those who have tried—often unsuccessfully—to work from home with small children afoot. When schools and daycares close because of bad weather, that often means that parents must take personal or vacation time as well. Families with au pairs, however, have the convenience of live-in child care, which means that snow days and other unexpected events aren’t nearly as disruptive to the family’s schedule.
3. You’ll give your children the gift of language
When you host an au pair who speaks another language, your children will naturally start picking up the language as well. From singing songs and counting in their native language to reading books and playing games from their home country, au pairs expose children to new languages and help them to develop their vocabulary. This first-hand exposure helps children develop a strong foundation in international languages from a young age, a valuable life skill.
4. Two more words: Sick Days!
If you’ve ever guiltily wondered whether or not your child’s fever-reducing medicine would kick in before daycare or school started, don’t worry—you’re not alone. Having a sick child usually means that a parent also has to take personal time to stay home and care for the child. Once again, families with au pairs benefit from the flexibility that having in-home child care provides, as au pairs are able to care for children who are not feeling well.
5. Your family could make a life-long friend.
Your au pair’s exchange experience might end after one year (or up to two if you opt for the extension year), but the real familial relationship that develops between your family and your au pair could last for years to come. We often receive updates from past host families and au pairs about reunions that they have had both in the U.S. and abroad. Families have attended their au pairs’ weddings, and au pairs have returned to the U.S. to visit their grown host children long after their exchange year. These special relationships are the very heart of the au pair hosting experience.
Is your family considering hosting an au pair in 2019? Learn more about becoming an Au Pair in America host family!