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Snow Day Child Care: The Rising Solution for Budget-Savvy Parents
People tend to joke that meteorologists can never give an accurate forecast. However, sooner or later, they definitely get weather patterns right.
When big snow storms and other inclement weather events hit, parents can be thrown into a tizzy. Who will watch their kids when they have to be at work or visiting clients for important meetings? How can they make it in time to pick up their children when school closes early? And what do they do if their youngsters cannot safely stay at home alone for the rest of the day?
Many moms and dads struggle with these dilemmas every winter. After all, not all employers are flexible enough to offer work-from-home solutions or provide parents with the option of bringing kids to work for the day. In such situations, having a live in au pair is a great, affordable arrangement.
How Au Pairs Take the Sting out of Snow Days
Au pairs enjoy a unique arrangement with their Baltimore, Philadelphia or Washington, D.C. host families. They essentially provide a bridge for child care when parents cannot be available. Plus, because they live in the house, they do not have to drive to the residence to get started on days when kids are not in school.
For instance, take the situation of a New York City au pair and host family. Overnight, a storm struck the city. Though the snow was originally supposed to be only about an inch deep, the front stalled over Manhattan. Inches of snow began to pile up, and schools started to close one by one.
By the time morning arrived, the verdict was clear: The kids would not be going to their classrooms. However, the parents were still expected to get to their jobs, which was not a problem because they had a live in au pair. The au pair was originally going to take some downtime during the day and start work after she picked up the kids from school, but instead, she switched her working hours from evening to daytime. A crisis was averted without anyone realizing there was a crisis at all!
These are the types of peace-of-mind situations that happen for families who host an au pair in Baltimore or any other city or town. After the first time this type of snow day child care emergency comes and goes without any problem, moms and dads are thrilled that they have an au pair onsite.
Child Care Snow Day Cost Savings Add Up
Having another adult to depend on for trustworthy, last-minute child care during a snow day event like an early dismissal is a true relief, yet it can also be incredibly affordable, which is important for mothers and fathers who are budget-conscious. In fact, hosting an au pair in Philadelphia or another major location can present quite the savings over time.
First, parents never need to worry about any downtime for their own professions. If moms and dads work hourly or are part of the gig economy, they could lose wages if they were to spend time trying to find a babysitter or simply taking a day off.
Even parents who are allowed to work from their homes often find it challenging to focus fully on their work with kids running around. This issue lowers their productivity levels, forcing them to spend more time on tasks than they otherwise might. In business, time is money, and wasted time equates to wasted dollars.
Au pairs also save their host families money because their cultural exchange and child care services have already been paid for. They will not ask for extra money to spend time with the kids on a moment’s notice. When you host an au pair, you'll be responsible for giving the au pair a specific weekly stipend. The stipend includes this type of emergency or unplanned child care situation.
Additionally, your au pair will have established a strong, loving relationship with the kids that is already solidified. Your children will feel like they're just hanging out with their big siblings when they spend a snow day with the au pair. Therefore, they're less likely to whine and beg their parents not to leave. That benefit is worth its weight in gold, as any mom or dad trying to get out the door knows.
Ways to Make the First Snow Day Exciting
Most kids love a good snow day that keeps them out of school or earns them an early dismissal to beat the mounting snowflakes. After the first snow day, your au pair and kids will probably be able to come up with fun things to do. However, the first time your au pair experiences inclement weather arrangements, you may need to step in with some fun things to try.
Below are a few favorite ways for au pairs and kiddos to turn any snow day into a truly memorable adventure:
- Spend the whole day baking and cooking: From whipping up a batch of gingerbread cookies to making a lasagna casserole for dinner as a treat, au pairs and the children they take care of will appreciate being able to explore their culinary talents. Plus, your au pair can teach your kids how to successfully clean and put away dishes!
- Play outside in the snow: This activity is really a no-brainer as long as everyone has proper winter gear. From building snow people to making snow angels, au pairs and youngsters can have a blast. Encourage your au pair to give the children breaks to rehydrate, eat and warm up between outdoor activity sessions.
- Take a long walk in the snowy neighborhood: Do you live in a walkable residential area? Few things are as satisfying as being the first to leave footsteps in the crunchy, newly fallen snow. Again, proper footwear is a must-have for this type of activity.
- Watch some holiday classics online or on the television: If the end-of-year holidays are approaching, kids and au pairs can snuggle together and check out everything from Charlie Brown and the Grinch to movies like Elf and A Christmas Carol. You may need to explain to your au pair how to access these classics.
- Create lots of handmade items: Kids tend to be quite reliant on tactile experiences, which means they love to make items by hand. Coloring pictures, making homemade cards, learning to knit or sew, making slime and writing funny poems can all be great pastimes.
- Learn the au pair’s language: Many host families hope their kids will fall in love with the au pair’s country and language. A snow day is the perfect excuse for your au pair to start introducing your children to words and phrases used in the au pair’s homeland. What better way could your youngsters find out what snow, sleet and ice mean in a foreign land?
- Take time out for some education: Older children may still have homework due the day after a snow day. Au pairs should be cognizant of that fact. Plus, the au pair may have homework to finish too. Together, they can take an hour or two and get their work done so that they can play afterwards.
How to Plan for Child Care Early Dismissals
As a side note, you will probably need to explain to your au pair how child care early dismissals work. Your au pair may not be familiar with the concept. If your child does not ride a school bus, your au pair will need to safely pick up your child if school ends early. Be certain the au pair understands this possibility in advance of the initial early dismissal.
You should also talk to your child's school about your au pair coming for the kids. Many schools will not release children to anyone other than a parent or guardian unless you have given them prior approval. Make sure your au pair is listed as an emergency contact, particularly in the event of a weather-related school closing.
Finally, always stay up to speed on your au pair's working hours and schedule. Au pairs can work only 45 hours a week and not more than 10 hours a day. They will also be enrolled in college-level courses, which may conflict with an early dismissal. It's much better to talk about all the potential snags before they happen, such as how to provide child care coverage if your au pair has already worked nearly 45 hours by the time a snow day rolls around.
When Inclement Weather Strikes, Be Thankful for Your Au Pair
Interested in knowing more about the many ways hosting an au pair can be beneficial for your whole family without costing too much? Fill out an online application form from EurAupair today. We will help you start on the path to finding the perfect au pair arrangement for your child care needs.
Never worry again when you see the approaching blue, purple or pink blobs on the radar! You'll be covered for snow day child care when you have a live in au pair in your home.