The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Interesting Child Care Option

I am blessed to be able to stay home with my children; therefore, I do not need to worry about child care - whether my children are receiving the kind of care I want for them, whether they are being influenced in ways I do not want them to be, whether I can afford the cost of having them in child care.

I know that many, many families are not blessed in this way, and I have watched others as they struggle to find child care that meets their desires and is affordable, too. It's a big responsibility deciding who is going to raise your child when you are unable to do so yourself.

I recently found out about au pair care, a program that matches European young adults (18-26) with American families who need help with child care for children between the ages of 3 months and 12 years. The au pair is basically an exchange worker who commits to live with a family for 12 months, agreeing to take care of no more than 4 children for up to 45 hours per week (no more than 10 hours per day) in exchange for pocket money, some time off, and the chance to learn about America's culture.

Apparently, having an au pair in your home is not an unusual occurrence in Europe. It seems like it could be a beneficial arrangement for both the au pair and the host family. If I remember correctly, my mother went to Europe as an exchange worker, picking strawberries as the contract required and then traveling. Being an exchange worker gave her the opportunity to see places and people she would never have had the chance to see otherwise, and being an au pair gives these youngsters (well, some are not much younger than I am *laugh*) the same chance.

Have you heard of this or know of anyone who has hosted a foreign exchange student or worker?


Karen_thrifty said...

Wow. That sounds really interesting. I didn't know such a thing existed. It sounds like a more affordable child care option. There's not really much for a tourist to see around here though. lol