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Au Pairs: A Solution for Military Families
Joining the military isn't just a job. It's a lifestyle, and when you make your career in the military, you need to be prepared for all the requirements, enriching experiences, changes and challenges it poses — including the way it shapes your family life.
If you claim the title of both military member and parent, you know how important it is to provide and care for your child while also meeting your service duties. With deployment, relocation and work requirements, however, it can sometimes be challenging to keep up with both — and that's what reliable child care is for.
Many military families have unique child care needs. One or both parents can be on duty, deployed or required to travel, making it difficult to maintain proper care for children and keep a stable lifestyle. If you're a military parent seeking to keep your kids safe, comfortable, healthy and happy in military lifestyles, consider hosting an au pair to provide you with peace of mind. Reliable, flexible and affordable, au pairs are the best child care choice for military families. Interested in learning more? Here's everything you need to know before bringing an au pair into your family.
Throughout this article, we’ll cover everything you’ll want to know about:
- Facts About Military Families
- Benefits of Au Pairs Working With Military Households
- Nannies vs. Au Pairs for Military Families
- Common Questions About Au Pair Child Care for Military Families
- Au Pair Child Care Discount for Military
- Pair With the Perfect Child Care From EurAupair
Facts About Military Families
While military lives are honorable and rewarding, they come with a certain degree of changeability, and that can affect kids' lives and perceptions — but it certainly doesn't have to do so negatively. Consistent, reliable child care can help support both parents and kids to provide a positive life and parent-children relationships. Here are some stats about the lifestyles of kids growing up in military families:
- Military families relocate three times more often than civilian families — on average, every two or three years.
- Sometimes, both parents get deployed at the same time. As of 2009, almost 3 percent of active duty dual couples had children in the military. It's not uncommon for military children to require care outside their immediate family during the times both parents are away.
- One out of every five active duty parents has deployed three times or more.
From seeing their parents deployed and waiting for them to return to needing to adjust to frequent moves and changes in child care providers, growing up with military parents can be challenging for children, but the right kind of child care will reinforce the positive side of the military while providing for all their needs. An au pair is the perfect care provider to help give your kids the kind of happy childhood that will make them admire you and your work immensely — perhaps, like studies show, even enough to persuade them to follow in your footsteps.
Benefits of Au Pairs Working With Military Households
If you're considering inviting an au pair into your household to care for your children and ease your lifestyle, you're probably wondering whether it's the best choice and what it can offer you to complement and improve your unique lifestyle. As a specifically flexible, reliable child care option perfect for military families, au pairs offer so many benefits, including:
With an au pair, families have up to 45 hours of child care per week, so if the parents are on a night assignment, a spouse deployment or travel, the flexibility of an au pair is more convenient.
If the families are required to move to another base, they won't have to look for a different caregiver.
When the work hours of the military parent don't match with the local daycare center or the number of children in the family makes other forms of child care cost-prohibitive, an au pair is the best option.
2. Quality Child Care
As the au pair program is regulated by the U.S. Department of State, au pairs must meet specific guidelines to qualify to provide safe and reliable child care. Under an au pair's care, your child or children receive the attention, affection and care they deserve.
3. Additional Household Help
When you live a busy military lifestyle, sometimes it can be hard to keep up with the daily responsibilities and small tasks in your household — and when you're focused on work and your kids, those tasks can pile up. With an au pair, you receive not only a live-in child care provider, but also an extra pair of hands for help around the house.
Your au pair can assist you with light child-related housework and chores, help your kids with their homework and even drop them off and pick them up from after-school activities or sports. When you're dealing with a spouse's deployment or adjusting to relocation, this extra help can make all the difference.
4. Relocation Assistance
Having a position or a spouse in the military can mean moving around a lot, and every time you pick up and go, you'll have to find a new child care provider and work out a schedule with them, all while dealing with the stresses of packing, unpacking, organizing and coordinating your move.
With an au pair, you can say goodbye to these issues and count on your move going a lot more smoothly — because not only can an au pair help you with your move, but they can move with you. Your au pair can assist both with child care and preparation to give you more energy and time to pack and plan your move, and when you move to your new location in the USA, you won't have to face the stress and uncertainty of finding new child care.
5. Consistency When Settling In
When you're settling into your new place and getting used to the community, sometimes it can be hard to connect with people right away and feel like you belong. With a new position, a new home, a new school for your kids and the task of making all-new friends, your au pair will offer consistency, reliability and quality child care to help everyone adjust more easily and feel more at home.
6. Reliability and Peace of Mind
When you're worried about your kids and their needs, activities and schedules — along with how things are going at home, what you'll make for dinner and how you'll keep everything balanced — it can be hard to focus on your duties at work with your full concentration. Knowing you have an experienced and reliable au pair taking care of your kids' needs at home will take the burden off your mind and let you focus on military responsibilities.
7. No Long Waiting Lists
When you're searching for suitable child care, many daycare centers and child care providers have backed-up waiting lists, lengthy application processes and a considerable waiting period before you find child care to match your needs — which means you'll have to go without it and figure something else out during that time. Unlike other child care providers and centers — including military child development centers — the au pair process is smooth and efficient, letting you apply for the program and welcome your au pair in eight weeks or fewer.
8. Keeping Kids and Parents Connected
If you're worried your lifestyle might not give you enough time to get in the quality hours and emotional connection you'd like with your kids, your au pair can help.
If you or your spouse is deployed, your au pair will make it a priority to keep your kids connected with you by writing regular letters and emails, scheduling and coordinating video chat times and focusing on crafts that can help your kids learn more about your lifestyle or give to you as gifts. Even if you're stationed at home, your au pair will come up with creative activities to support your lifestyle and keep you connected with your children.
9 Cultural Immersion and Meeting Individual Needs
The au pair can give a one-of-a-kind social outlook to their family, including their language, culture and way of life, while the military family can provide the au pair with knowledge of American customs and history.
Au pairs are more than child care providers — they are role models, older siblings and friends.
With firsthand exposure to other languages, culture, cuisine and customs, your children will also benefit from this rich cross-cultural experience for years to come.
Nannies vs. Au Pairs for Military Families
Because an au pair provides live-in child care and gets placed through an au pair program, you may be wondering about the difference between an au pair and a live-in nanny, who you might have to hire independently. To help you understand why an au pair is a better choice for a military family, here are how the two types of child care differ:
- Au pairs are part of a foreign exchange program and come from different countries, providing rich cultural exposure and perspective for your kids, while nannies don't participate in any cultural exchange and can be local.
- An au pair is a young person who must fall within a specific age range, and due to their ages, au pairs are free to devote their time and energy to your family. Nannies may be any age and can often have families or other responsibilities outside your home.
- Au pairs become a part of your family, while nannies are considered employees.
- Au pairs can provide child care up to an agreed amount of hours (not to exceed 45 hours/week) and for pocket money each week, while nannies can only work according to labor laws and wage requirements and may be more expensive.
When you welcome an au pair into your home, you are investing in a dedicated, reliable, child care provider who will be devoted to and accepted into your family as more than just a contracted employee.
Common Questions About Au Pair Child Care for Military Families
If you need to know a little more about au pairs and what they provide before welcoming one into your family, check out these au pair FAQs:
1. What Does An Au Pair Do?
An au pair is a young person from a foreign country, who is sponsored by a program designated by the U.S. Department of State, to help care for your children and participate in a cultural exchange program.
Your au pair can assist with various child care and household tasks like waking up the kids in the morning to get them dressed and ready for school, making them breakfast, dropping them off at school or the bus stop on time, picking them up at the end of the day, taking them to and from other activities and providing meals, supervision and other support or activities throughout the day. The au pair can also assist you with light housework like the children's laundry, bathing kids and other small duties. You can discuss the specifics of your au pair's duties depending on your personal needs.
2. Where Will the Au Pair Live?
As part of the cultural exchange and to provide the proper child care, your au pair will live in your household with you. The program will require you to provide the au pair with her own bedroom, so consider your living situation to make sure this arrangement will work for you.
3. Can the Au Pair Live in Military Housing?
If you're living on a military base, determining whether your au pair is allowed to live with you is an understandable concern. Depending on where you're stationed, you'll need to go through an approval process before welcoming an au pair into your home.
Your au pair will need to show his or her J-1 visa which she secured prior to arrival into the US and which notes her as part of the EurAupair program. Next, whichever spouse is active-duty must fill out a "Special Consideration Pack" at the visitors' office. The approval process is relatively simple — once you get the OK, your au pair will receive a photo ID for access on and off base.
4. How Many Hours of Child Care Should You Require to Need an Au Pair?
An au pair can provide child care for up to 45 hours a week and operates on a flexible schedule according to your specific needs — meaning she can work nights, some weekends or other nontraditional hours to provide the care you require. If you only need a couple of hours of care a day, an au pair might not be the best choice, but for many military families with changes in workload, upcoming deployments and unusual or heavy work hours, an au pair provides the kind of live-in reliability you need.
5. Can Au Pairs Help a Family Move?
When you prepare to move to a new assignment and face the challenges of figuring out what to do with your kids during pack out, arrival and reintegration, you won't have to worry about finding new child care or juggling the move and the kids without help. Your au pair will be there to assist you with child care and light household duties every step of the way — while you pack, when you move, when you arrive and as you settle in. He or she will go where you go, providing consistency, support and care for your kids.
Au Pair Child Care Discount for Military
Child care can be expensive, especially when you need it around the clock, but hosting an au pair is a cost-effective way to gain live-in reliability, support and consistency for your kids in your home. Families typically pay up to $370 a week for their au pair's services and needs, but at EurAupair, we offer a special au pair child care discount for military families to make your experience even more enjoyable and rewarding. Every day, American military families are serving our country, and EurAupair is thankful to support them and honor their commitment by offering a $600 discount off the program fees.
Pair With the Perfect Child Care From EurAupair
If you're looking for the peace of mind and reliability of flexible child support and warm, family-friendly care, EurAupair is ready to help you welcome your own au pair. As a nonprofit, affordable au pair program with a personal touch, we provide comfort, care and personal service for your family. To learn more about giving your kids the cultural exposure and enrichment of au pair child care while easing your burden as a military family, contact EurAupair today or submit your application online. We look forward to hearing from you!
*Please refer to our Fees & Costs page for an updated list of discounts and promotions