Holiday breaks are around the corner! ‘Tis the season to line up your childcare. Schools will soon dismiss children for several weeks from November-January.
Finding a reliable and attentive caregiver for your children can be a challenge. Whether you’re considering help from an outside childcare facility such as a day care center or home daycare or maybe you have an infant at home or small children who aren’t in school yet and you’ve thought about a nanny or au pair?
With four children and a baby on the way, I’ve been going the au pair route for the last five years. It’s been the best solution for our family because it’s flexible, consistent and affordable. The questions I get the most is “How is it having your au pair live with you?” and “What does your au pair do on her free time, does she hang out with you?”
Honestly, having had seven au pairs in nearly six years I can say, “I’ve had the good and the bad” but the good out weighs the bad so it works for me. We’ve also had au pairs from Mexico, Brazil, Poland and Ukraine so imagine all of the cultural experiences my children have had from different cuisine, holiday experiences and languages. I heard of the agency we use from other au pairs in the area. You can ask me anything about my own experience or the program by clicking here.
Another Chicago-area parent weighs in on the option that’s best for her and could give you some ideas while your searching for the perfect fit for your family…
Hope Nicols says that K. Grace Childcare fits her needs best. She is a busy mom with a husband who travels each week. She says finding a last minute sitter for an unexpected night out wouldn’t be possible without K. Grace. “What I love about K. Grace is the sitters that come through my door,” she shares. “Educated, polite, caring, sweet people. Every last one of them. Considerate, good with all ages of children and fun for my children to hang out with.”
She adds, “K. Grace sitters are great and I have a couple that I use regularly but when I’m in a pinch and KGrace needs to send someone in on short notice, it’s always someone who comes in, hits the ground running and makes my children smile.” Which is what all parents want to see! And, Ms. Nicols says the care is also affordable. “Many women I talk to pay up to $15-$17 for two- to three-child households – and they are paying that to sitters who aren’t background checked, and don’t have CPR or First Aid training. I absolutely trust K. Grace to choose the right sitter for me and to make sure she does a good job while she’s with my children in my home. Dealing with sitters is a giant, sometimes annoying task that goes along with the role of parenthood and K. Grace just takes that out of the equation.”
If nanny share is more your speed, you might want to consider Bump Club and Beyond Nanny Share which is a place for families looking to find a nanny share with another family to connect with each other. This tends to work for those who have flexible work schedules or just need a few days for errands and alone time. Click here for more information.
It’s also not a bad idea to check out your local park district; they often offer activities and programs that are on the days off as well as your local gym. Extra days off can be a good opportunity to connect with friends from your child’s class, maybe a few parents want to trade off and have a small group of kids over and all take turns? This can help save money and give you that extra time for holiday shopping or less time off of work. As the holidays approach, and you begin to weigh your options, I’m sure you’ll find the best solution for your family or ask around, you never know what you might discover from other parents.