The ABCs of Daycare

More on the ABCs of daycare

Au pairs and nannies. We'd all love to have Mary Poppins floating in on her umbrella to tidy up the nursery and have the baby asleep by sunset. If you have an extra bedroom and don't mind sharing your living space, an au pair can be ideal. An au pair is typically a foreign woman, working through an agency, who gets a small salary and room and board in exchange for daycare. If you don't have the space to house an au pair, or want more privacy and don't mind shelling out the extra money, a day nanny might be the solution, especially if you also have an older child who needs to be driven to various preschool classes and activities.

Pros:

  • Hours can be more flexible than daycare centers
  • One-on-one care for your baby
  • Some housekeeping services and cooking
  • Baby can stay home, so there's no need to carry supplies to daycare--or bring viruses home

Cons:

  • Difficult to meet in advance if au pair is from a foreign country
  • Someone else is running your house
  • Her professional training might be limited
  • May have to pay taxes for a nanny
  • May have to tack on an agency fee

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