With summer fast approaching, parents of school-aged children are faced with the mountainous task of finding quality childcare. There are so many options out there. Will you register in camps, hire a babysitter, or beg Grandma for help? One solution that deserves consideration is hiring an Au Pair. This solution can be affordable, flexible, and can provide children with an incredible bonding experience.
We connected with Michelle of Canadian Au Pair Solutions to find out more about this option, for summer and beyond.
CC: Can you tell me a bit about how you first became interested in working with Au Pairs?
Michelle: Erin was the first to explore Au Pairs as a childcare option over 10-years ago. Both of our families have irregular work hours and shift work so the flexibility and convenience of an Au Pair was the best option for us. Erin helped me navigate the Au Pair process my first time just over 5 years ago when it was time for me to return to work after maternity leave. Since that time, our families have hosted some amazing girls from all over the world including France, Germany, Ireland and Quebec. We’ve formed some great lifelong relationships with all of our Au Pairs and continue to stay in touch.
Michelle: With our experience hosting Au Pairs, we were regularly getting contacted by co-workers and friends and people via Facebook who needed help getting started with the Au Pair process. We recognized that people needed accurate and reliable information regarding Au Pairs in Canada and that’s how Au Pair Solutions began.
CC: What makes an Au Pair such a great option?
Michelle: Au Pairs are a great option for so many reasons! First of all, Au Pairs are a very affordable option compared to traditional childcare options (daycares & nannies for example). Au Pairs are paid minimum wage per hour and can have monthly room and board deducted. The convenience of having in-home childcare is huge – for example, there’s no more having to wake the kids up early every morning before the mad-dash out the door to daycare before heading off to work. Au Pairs are a very flexible option as well when it comes to scheduling. Au Pairs can work split shifts for before & after school care, irregular shift patterns and don’t require a guaranteed number of hours each week (do not require full time hours).
CC: What types of family situations/working arrangements are best suited for an Au Pair?
Michelle: Au Pairs are best suited for all families – whether it be those who work from the home, shift workers or anyone that needs a flexible and convenient childcare option.
CC: As a working parent, what's been the hardest lesson you've learned or the biggest area of growth for you?
Michelle: As a working parent, the hardest lesson I’ve learned is that I cannot be everything and do everything all of the time. It’s hard being a working Mom and keeping those proverbial balls in the air is a constant struggle! I’ve learned to let some of the little things go and ask for help when I need it. It’s OK to ask for help and my Au Pair is a huge help to me when it comes to this.
CC: What advice do you have for parents looking for an Au Pair for this summer?
Michelle: The number one piece of advice for families looking for an Au Pair for summer childcare is to start your search as early in the year as possible! Au Pairs are legally required to have an International Experience Canada Working Holiday Visa in order to come to Canada. This visa process can take some time so the more time you have to prepare, the better. If there are any families currently looking for a summer Au Pair, they can contact us so we can provide direction on how to most effectively conduct their search.
About Canadian Au Pair Solutions
Michelle Brander along with Erin Findlay are the owners of Canadian Au Pair Solutions. Michelle has two children ages 6 and 3. Along with being a professional consultant with Canadian Au Pair Solutions, Michelle is employed full-time as a specialized civilian with a Lower Mainland law enforcement agency. Michelle is also a part-time instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in the Forensic Investigation Program at BCIT. Michelle holds a degree in Crime & Intelligence Analysis from BCIT along with specialized training in crime analysis, internet investigations and open source research. Michelle is passionate about advocacy for Au Pairs and Helping families through the process of hosting Au Pairs in Canada. Michelle can be contact via email at firstname.lastname@example.org