Au pairs lend international flair to Vail
Special to the Daily
Eagle County, CO Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Child care is a major concern for Eagle County families that need to find a safe, enriching environment for their children during the workday at a cost they can afford – some have found the answer by inviting au pairs into their homes.
Adding an au pair to the household offers much more to the entire family than hiring a babysitter. Flexible schedules allow the parents and the au pair to help with children when caretakers are needed most, whether it’s before or after school, on a weekend or in the evening. In addition, a foreign au pair brings a little of her or his country into the home, giving everyone a chance to learn more about each other’s cultures.
“Over the years it has been growing in popularity,” said Sharon Kauffman, host mother and regional development director in Colorado with Cultural Care Au Pair, a national firm that trains au pairs and matches them with families. “There are a lot of different reasons to get an au pair – it appeals to a wide variety of people. I see it as a really nice option for parents. It’s great to have choices.”
Cost is a consideration, but at about $340 a week per family, an au pair can be less expensive than traditional daycare for families with several children.
“This is very affordable when you look at daycare” Kauffman said. “At some point, children get too old for daycare, but they are not safe to be at home alone.”
Tatiana Morris, the local childcare coordinator in the Vail area with Cultural Care Au pair, said her experience as an au pair is unforgettable.
“It is the part of my life that comes up the most,” Morris said. “I have really enjoyed my experience with the host family. They were very friendly, always trying to make sure I feel great in their house and helping me to get familiar in the area. And that attitude really gave me a lot of inspiration to take a great care of their three little kids, who became as dear for me as my own family.”
The au pair provides up to 45 hours of child care a week for a full year, with the option to extend the au pair’s stay for an additional 12 months. Because they live in the home with the family, the scheduling can be adapted to cover the time when they are needed most. The au pair can also provide assistance with small household chores related to children such as helping with their laundry or meals.
Cultural Care Au Pair screens both the au pair and the family to make sure they will work well together. In addition, before coming here the au pair must attend training school that stresses child safety and they continue to receive training throughout the year.
“The kids have a great time. It’s like having an older sister. They enjoy being around other young people, and being able to go home after school,” Kauffman said. “The kids also get the consistency and quality of care one caregiver can provide.”
Host families are responsible for paying a weekly stipend to the au pair and help them attend educational programs or courses while they are living here. The cultural exchange is a unique part of the program that gives children the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world.
For more information about the program, contact Tatiana Morris at 970-393-0599, or e-mail Tatiana.email@example.com
Tatiana Morris is Vail coordinator for Cultural Care Au Pair.
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