With many families having two working parents these days, child care is a necessity for most families. The prices for day care can range from anywhere from $75 per day and up to over $100 a day, it certainly is not cheap, especially if you have more than one child using day care or before and after school care.
An au pair is an affordable childcare alternative to traditional day care – from just $170 per week families can host a live in au pair who can help with child care and light house work. An au pair is a young foreign girl (or guy!) who comes to Australia to experience our local culture, improve their English skills and travel around the country, a bit like a gap year where they get to work and earn their travelling money.
Typical au pair duties include getting the kids ready for and off to school for the day, picking them up when school ends, taking them to after-school activities, helping them with homework, making dinner for the children and getting them ready for bed. Light housework can also be part of their duties, such as laundry for the children, vacuuming and general tidying, but these should be agreed in advance. If required, families can also include a night of babysitting to give parents some valuable time together. Average hours for au pairs are 25-35 working hours per week.
It should be noted that au pairs are not nannies – they do not have the same level of qualifications or experience but most will have experience looking after children and enjoy working with young children. They are also not to be left in sole charge of children under 12 months old, but can certainly help out with babies when parents are home. An au pair agency will run background checks on all au pairs so using an agency will ensure your chosen au pair will have a police check and a working with children check.
So instead of paying exorbitant day care fees, why not consider hosting an au pair in your family? All you need is a spare bedroom for the au pair and the willingness to embrace a new person into your family. Most au pairs stay with their families for around 6 months, although it could be as short as 3 months depending on the family’s needs and the au pairs visa restrictions. Smart Au Pairs is a respected Australian au pair agency which helps match families with their perfect au pair – register to start your search for an au pair with Smart Au Pairs online today.