Is a Nanny or Au Pair Right for your Family?

If you are keen for your child to be cared for at home, but there isn’t a family member available,  then hiring a nanny or au pair is worth considering. There are pros and cons to both options so take your time to think through what will and won’t work for your family.

Thinking of Hiring a Nanny?

Hiring a nanny is a great choice as many of the benefits to your child are the same as having a stay at home parent whilst also giving you the freedom to continue your career. You can choose someone who fits in with your family values. Benefits of a nanny include:

  • Hours are more flexible than a day nursery or childminder so they can fit around shift work or unusual working patterns.
  • They work in your home which provides a familiar environment for your child and there’s no changing carers as they grow. Your child is therefore not subject to the stress of starting a new routine.
  • They provide one-to-one interaction so your child will bond well with them and their learning will be enhanced.
  • They may provide extra services such as light housework, laundry and meal preparation making your life easier.

Are there any Cons?

There are a few things to carefully consider before deciding if a nanny is the right option for you:

  • Nannies can be expensive compared to other options however this is less of an issue if you have more than one child or if you can share a nanny with a friend or colleague.
  • You are their employer and will be responsible for tax, national insurance and paid holidays.
  • There is no formal registration for nannies as there is with childminders so you will need to check qualifications, first aid certificates and references carefully yourself.

Would an Au Pair be Right for You?

An aux pair is typically a foreign young person who comes to live in your home and works full time in exchange for a bedroom, meals and a weekly allowance. They are more cost effective compared with a nanny but as with all childcare options, there are things to consider before deciding they are right for your family.

A New Cultural Experience.

One of the biggest benefits to employing an au pair is that they bring a new language and culture into your home. Your child will learn a lot about how people in another country live and this is a wonderful experience for them. Other benefits include:

  • They work full time hours and this can cover evening babysitting duties too.
  • Living as part of your family means your child can develop a close bond with them.
  • They will expect to contribute to household duties such as tidying, vacuuming and washing dishes.

The possible cons are:

  • nanny3They may lack experience with young children and will learn on the job.
  • Hiring through an agency means the selection may not be down to you.
  • They require their own room. Is your house big enough? Will losing the spare bedroom and sharing your home with someone else impact on your family?

Both nannies and aux pairs work closely with your family to provide the type of childcare you want in your own home environment. However nannies are not in abundance and finding one in your area who is available and fits your requirements may prove difficult. Whichever form of childcare you choose, consider all the pros and cons and be happy with your choice for a more relaxed working life.

Photos:Volkan_83, Donnie Ray Jones andRolands Laki

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