We have decided to get an au pair for the boys. Super excited!!! I love the idea of exposing our family to other cultures and having someone stay with us. I am looking forward to learning some of her (or his) native language and foods and helping the au pair improve her english and teach her about the American culture (and that we are not evil).
So here is some stuff I have learned while researching and talking to different au pair agencies:
What is an au pair?
-A live-in childcare provider from another country between the ages of 18 and 26
-They provide 45 hours of childcare a week or up to 10 hours in a day
One of the things I really like is that there is an extensive screening by the agency, including background checks, interviews, medical and mental checks and training. They also have monthly meetings with other au pairs in the area, led by an area manager so they can brush up on the rules, talk about experiences and other stuff. A lot of times they make friends w. the other local au pairs, which I think is great too.
A lot of the au pairs have videos so you can get a feel for their personalities, along with the interview questions and notes that were done, the screening info and a bunch of pictures to check out. So after you pick what company you want to go with you can go through their au pairs and start emailing any more questions and then set up a skype interview.
This website is great for interview questions and different au pair experiences: http://aupairmom.com/
Once when is selected, you pay the agency the hefty up front payment (like $9Kish) to lock in your au pair. This is also available in monthly payments, but with like a fee. (we have a girl we are crazy about so will probably be locking her in soon and hoping to have her arrive in August)
What she arrives in August she will land in New York City with the other au pairs scheduled for August arrival. They then have a 2 week training to go over rules, american culture and process type stuff. A lot of the women we have looked at have a lot of childcare experience, which is awesome. After the 2 week training, we arrange for her transportation to our city and pick her up. In the new house we will have a room for her with her own bathroom. She then gets paid a weekly stipend and stays here for 1 year. If you guys really like each other you can extend for another year, but 2 year visa is the max. We are looking to have an au pair until the kids are in Jr High so really want to make sure we have girls from all sorts of different countries.
The girl we currently are crazy about is from Spain, but there were girls from Columbia, China, Germany, South Africa, Thailand…really all over! I am so excited about this. I really think its going to be awesome!