Most parents aren't professional economists, but you don't have to be one to know that the cost of living in the U.S. has been increasing dramatically over the last few years.
A 2011 survey from Kelton Research indicated that Americans have noticed significant increases in their expenditures on even the most basic items - from groceries and gasoline, to utilities and health insurance. Many families are being forced to cut back on all expenses and some are sacrificing quality for affordability.
Managing the high cost of child care is a particularly challenging situation, since it has become a basic necessity for households where both parents work outside the home. And, while parents might be willing to move from name brands to store brands, one area they are not willing to sacrifice quality for affordability is the care for their children.
There are many types of childcare options to choose: day-care centers, nannies, au pairs, and camps to name a few. Let us take a look at the au pair program and the benefits it can provide to a family. An au pair is an international young person who provides up to 45 hours of child care per week for an American family.
Many times the hourly cost of an au pair is considerably lower than the cost of babysitters, nannies, day-care centers, and camps. The cost of an au pair remains the same regardless of how many children a family has making it a great child care option for families with multiple children.
Au pairs provide high quality childcare in the safety of a host family's home, giving the children undivided attention. Not only is an au pair an affordable child care option, it is an educational one too. Au pairs come from more than 40 different countries around the world.
In addition to providing loving care to the children, they also teach them games, words, and songs from their home countries. Educating children about different cultures and languages from a young age is important in our increasing global society, and an au pair is a unique way to provide children with a world perspective.
Many au pair agencies offer online matching systems that make it easy for parents to learn about each available au pair's hobbies, interests, and childcare background, plus view their photos and videos before making a decision.
Charlotte Colletta is an Area Director for AuPairCare. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 484-369-8161.