Hudson Valley moms share their au pair experiences

Could your family benefit from an au pair?

Could your family benefit from an au pair

Play dates, piano lessons, home cooked meals, a Hudson Valley mom’s to-do list is endless! Wouldn’t it be nice to have a live-in nanny or au pair helping out around the house? I know what you’re thinking: “Sure an au pair would be nice, but I can’t afford that!” What if I told you, in-home care can be just as affordable as daycare?

READ MORE: Tips for choosing the best babysitter on the block!

Tiffany Bruno, a Spackenkill mom, spent six months researching different types of in-home care before selecting an au pair to take care of her little ones. Since Tiffany is a teacher, she spent her summer vacation teaching her au pair the ins and outs of her home and family. When it came time for her to go back to work, she had no reservations about leaving the children in the au pair’s care.

Many people believe the terms “au pair” and “nanny” are synonymous, but there are some clear-cut differences.

Choosing an au pair

An au pair is typically a young woman from another country, who lives with a family for a minimum of one year to provide in-home childcare services. 

In addition to supervising the children, an au pair also does light housekeeping, bathing and dressing of the children, assistance with homework, driving the children to and from activities, laundry and meal preparation.

An au pair can provide your family with invaluable flexibility; imagine a morning routine that doesn’t involve forcing sleepy kiddies out of their beds and into a daycare center.

Finding the right fit

Theresa Estes, a Hudson Valley mom, calls the experience “life enhancing.” Since she and her husband both commute to the city for work each day, being able to leave her girls in their own home is priceless. Her children are able to participate in after-school activities such as Girl Scouts and ballet lessons. It’s also a big plus to know her children are eating nutritious organic meals, prepared in their own home by their au pair.

Feeling comfortable with your au pair is essential. “These girls live in your home, drive your car and are entrusted with the care of your children while you are away at work — it’s a very big responsibility. An au pair is also the face of your family with respect to your children while you are away.”  Always remember, you are never “stuck” with an au pair. If you and your family are uncomfortable with your assigned caretaker, it is imperative that you contact the agency to make them aware and request a change.

Imagine, a live-in au pair to cook, clean and chauffeur your children! It may sound expensive, but is often the same price or cheaper than traditional daycare. Many agencies offer payment plans. The cost of using an au pair agency varies per caregiver.

Choosing a babysitter

Another alternative is hiring a nanny from an agency like Absolute Best Care Nanny Agency. Their sitters are screened with criminal background checks, thorough face-to-face interviews prior to placement, an extensive written application for all candidates, in-depth and verified reference checks, and proprietary state-of-the-art matching software called Nanny Smart Search™ to match to families exact needs.

A big advantage to hiring a sitter or nanny is flexibility. Absolute Best Care Nanny Agency offers many different services, including nannies, baby nurses, babysitters and housekeepers.

Making it work

“When welcoming a new au pair into your home, always remember why you chose an au pair in the first place,” said Jodi McCoy, Hudson Valley area director at Au Pair Care. “As human beings, we all bring a certain story to the table and learning your au pair’s story can be a great gift for your children.”

Having an au pair, nanny or sitter is like adding another member to your family. Many times, this person will become a “sister” figure to your children, forming a lifelong bond. It is important to remember your au pair is also an employee and there are certain expectations that you should have in place to ensure that everyone is healthy, happy and safe.

Jennifer Colucci is a local mom and teacher.