Deciding on a child care option is a challenge for mums returning to work. Nicole Kofkin from Smart Au Pairs outlines the idea of using an au pair as a nurturing alternative to day care.
If you’re returning to work and are looking at the choices available for nurturing child care, you may have considered options such as day care or perhaps an au pair. Day care may be offered from a centre or family day care which is from a professional carer’s home. An au pair provides care for your children in your own home, which can provide a nurturing alternative to traditional forms of child care.
Au pairs are usually young people from overseas who live in your home for about three to six months. They provide about 25 to 35 hours of child care and light housework each week, and you provider them with food, accommodation and an allowance.
A nurturing option for child care, having an au pair enables you to have your children at home while you are at work. This means that they are in a familiar environment – able to nap in their own bed and play with their own toys, for example.
Your child is also able to keep to a routine without getting disrupted by other children. In a shared environment, children may be disturbed by others during nap time, or your child’s routine might need to be changed to fit in with the schedule that may be required when bigger numbers of kids have to be taken into account.
As a mum, you are familiar with the safety measures in place around your home, you know the standard of cleanliness and you know about the quality of toys and play equipment with which your child will have contact.
When you have an au pair in your home, there is continuity of care which creates a stable environment for a young child. There is no change of primary carer on different days or at different times, which means no need for your child to adapt to different adults providing care, and your child gets one-on-one, undivided attention from the au pair.
A challenge for mums heading off to work is the morning rush, getting yourself and your child ready, and then in the afternoon the possibility of rushing to get to a child care facility by the time it closes. Having an au pair at home means you avoid that stressful time for yourself and, most importantly, your child. Kids can be tired at the end of the day, and it’s reassuring as a mum to know that they are surrounded by home comforts and are with a nurturing carer, even if you are caught up at the office or in traffic on the drive home.
Depending on the agreement between parents and au pairs, your child could be taken to fun or educational activities outside of your home while you’re at work. Engaging activities such as musical groups and library activities are options which will ensure that your child has nurturing care. Other activities you may choose are classes such as swimming or music lessons. An au pair may even just take your child to play regularly in the park.
An au pair can provide nurturing care for your child, but you may be concerned about finding someone you can trust with that care. A reputable Australian au pair agency will help you to find an au pair who has been carefully selected and screened. With the support of the au pair agency, you get the final say in who is caring for your child.
Providing a nurturing child care arrangement by having an au pair to look after your child can help alleviate the guilt that mums often feel when they need to return to work.
Nicole Kofkin started Smart Au Pairs to help working families access an affordable and nurturing child care solution. A busy mum herself, Nicole wanted to help other families to best balance their work and family commitments. For more information on au pairs, get in touch today.