Who has considered hiring or have hired a live-in nanny or au pair from another country?

Tina - posted on 12/13/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I am wondering how moms feel about hiring and having live-in childcare. I started working as a coordinator for an au pair organization and it seems that it takes a certain family to share their home with someone, with enough income and space for a live-in and to have a cultural exchange (language, customs, etc). What is your opinion? I really want to be successful, and to share helpful information to young families here on the West Coast. Thanks, ladies.

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Tina - posted on 12/13/2010

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To clarify, the au pair program is a temporary childcare arrangement for one year, with a one-time option to extend for 6, 9 or 12 months. All au pairs belong to a partner agency in a foreign country where they are screened, and are then given the option to work for our agency and are further screened by us and have to meet requirements of the Department of State. They also trained through our program in Seattle before being placed, and it is a requirement that they have child care experience. Au pairs are very carefully matched with a family in our program according to needs and wishes of the family and au pair. They even speak to each other over the phone before being placed. The family is screened as well, in order to ensure the best possible situation for an au pair. The trial period is a really good idea, but unfortunately that is not available. It is an extensive amount of work to bring an au pair into a home (including an person interview with the family), however, we do have of course policies to ensure the best possible match, and work closely with the families and au pairs the entire time. This includes help in resolving any problems before a potential reassignment with another family/au pair. This cultural exchange program is the most highly regulated of the programs by the State Department. :-)

Theresa - posted on 12/13/2010

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I agree with Amber. I also would have to have proof of the woman passing extensive background checks. I think I'd want a trial time as well. Maybe a few weeks to make sure she's a good match for the family and visa-versa. I'd want to make sure she's comfortable, the kids are comfortable and my husband and I are comfortable. I also think I would have to set up ground rules for what's expected of her both "on duty" and "off duty". Depending on cultural backgrounds appropriate dress maybe an issue to discuss. Maybe I've watched too many movies, but I wouldn't want some cute au pair walking around in a little nighty. :) Maybe you could set something up almost like adoption agencies do. Both the parents and the au pairs submit a dossier; what they want and expect, family background, beliefs, likes/dislikes, hobbies, etc. Then you can better match them together. You maybe let each au pair choose a few families that they think match up with them well, then let the family choose between the several au pairs that have chosen them as a match. I don't know if that would work or not. I don't know much about the au pair/ live in nanny world. That's a little (OK a lot) above my income range. I know it can be a wonderful thing. My husband's aunt moved from the midwest out to the east coast to nanny for a family. It's been years since they needed her as a nanny, but they still consider her part of the family and get together with her. Hope my ramblings help you in making your service a success. :)

Tina - posted on 12/13/2010

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Thank you for your opinions! Like I said, it takes a certain family to host an au pair, and people have different needs. There are many situations where someone might need or want a nanny. For example, multiple children (octomom?), illness in the family (this happened to me), working and/or traveling parents, or a family wants to experience cultural exchange which is the purpose of the program in the first place. This cultural exchange program is one of four regulated by the Department of State in order for families and young students around the world to experience life in other countries to bridge the cultural divide and promote understanding. It's not for everyone though, and I am trying to understand the needs and wants of families so thanks in advance for your input! I really appreciate the time to respond.

Medic - posted on 12/13/2010

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It differs because when you pick your kids up from daycare you are the ONLY one there to care for them, you can't pawn them off on the nanny at night because your too lazy to do anything.

Amber - posted on 12/13/2010

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@ Jennifer- How does it differ from taking your child to daycare while you work? Aside from the fact that they are in your home and could have dinner ready when you got there, so that you could enjoy a meal with your family....

To answer the OP, I think I would have to work odd hours or travel a lot for my job to want one. I would want to know that my children were in good hands, at home, and comfortable if I couldn't be home with them.
I wouldn't want to take a career that would require me to be away from my children that much. But for some people, it just is how their life has unfolded.

Medic - posted on 12/13/2010

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I think it is a ridiculous idea! Why would I have kids for someone else to raise? Especially paying someone else to live in MY home and be with MY kids all the time...just plain laziness in my opinion. If a person cannot get their priorities straight and put their kids first then they ought not to have them.

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