Although families nationwide are impacted by child care issues, those living in rural areas face unique challenges when it comes to securing suitable child care. Long commutes to daycare centers and seemingly never-ending waitlists can be frustrating and really limit your child care options. A 2018 report by the Center for American Progress found that about 3 in 5 rural communities are considered “child care deserts” and lack adequate access to child care providers. This is where au pairs can be a total game-changer.
Here are some of the (many!) things that families living in rural areas love about au pair child care:
✅ Bye-bye long commutes and waitlists…
Instead of spending a significant amount of time driving to-and-from the closest child care provider (with openings), you can relax. With a trusted au pair living in your home, you can save time and reduce the stress of sticking to a rigid drop-off and pick-up schedule.
✅ Finally – you have options!
When you live in a rural area, you may not have a lot of choices when it comes to local child care providers. Here’s the thing – when you decide to host an au pair, you’re not restricted to people living close to your zip code. Au Pair in America has a massive applicant pool of au pairs from countries across the world, so you can find someone who matches your family’s interests and needs.
✅ Personalized and flexible child care
Unlike group child care settings, an au pair focuses solely on the needs of your children. By living with your family, an au pair can really get to know your children and give them individualized attention. Another benefit of hosting an au pair is that you have access to child care outside the traditional 9-to-5 work hours. This can be a lifesaver for families living in rural areas.
A 2020 report on Early Care and Education in Rural Communities found that “a higher proportion of families in rural areas work nonstandard hours compared to families in high-density urban areas” and “suggesting that they may benefit from additional access to child care available at nonstandard hours.”
✅ The cultural exchange experience, of course!
Cultural exchange is at the heart of the au pair program and one of its biggest benefits. If you live in an area with limited exposure to a wide range of cultures, hosting an au pair can be a really important, enriching experience for your family and au pair. Au Pair in America recruits from more than 60 countries, which means you can easily find an au pair who can help your family connect with your heritage, learn a new language, or build a meaningful connection with someone from a particular country or region of the world.
So, if you live in one of the many rural areas across the United States and need child care, consider hosting an au pair.
It’s important to note that all au pairs must be placed within an hour’s drive of an APIA local representative, so be sure to check with us to see if we service your particular area.
Here are some final pro-tips for finding the right au pair match for your family: Remember – rural can mean different things to different people. It’s best to be upfront about what your town’s like. When interviewing potential au pairs, be sure to discuss the unique aspects of living in your area, such as the distance to the nearest grocery store, access to public transportation and how far you live from the nearest major city.