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Is Nursery at Work a Good Thing?

Just like any supposedly cure-all for a social problem, on-site nursery for employees does not necessarily always work. It does, however, solve some problems for both employers and employees. Depending on the individual employers and employees involved, an onsite child care facility may be an answer that solves many problems associated with an out of balance work-family balance.

On-site day care reduces anxiety many parents have about putting their children in child care centers where they are not nearby. Being able to visit during lunch hours or breaks can be a significant relief to a parent. Nursing mothers are also able to return to work sooner and still be close to their infants. On-site nurseries are also often licensed by a governmental authority, which further eases parents’ worries that their children are not receiving age-appropriate care and safe supervision.

Employers also benefit from on-site nurseries in many cases. While it is not feasible or practical in all cases, those employers who do offer child care at work have typically seen a significant reduction in the amount of money they spend on labor each year. In the book Kids at Work: The Value of Employer-Sponsored On-Site Child Care Centers by Rachel Connelly, Deborah S. DeGraff, and Rachel A. Willis, two companies included in an approximately 1,000-strong employee survey that offered on-site nursery saved $150,000 and $250,000 per year in wages.

Moreover, employers with on-site nursery report reduced absenteeism and turnover. They are also able to recruit and retain workers they may not have otherwise been able to entice to work for them.

The most important part of education is proper training in the nursery.

Plato

Furthermore, employees were very willing to help subsidize childcare costs out of their paychecks, even those without children. They understood that on-site nursery would improve morale and productivity among workers with children. That would make the work environment generally more enjoyable for everyone. Furthermore, they were willing to help pay for on-site child care because they liked that the employer was willing to help its employees. Workers were willing to pay between $125 and $225 per year, on average, to help pay for work site child care.

On the other hand, it is true that in American society, about 27 percent of women work in blue collar jobs, and many of their employers would not consider on-site child care. Also, child care responsibilities in American society typically fall to women. Employers are also not offering health care services as often as they used to. Asking them to provide child care on-site is not likely to happen.

Perhaps a better alternative would be to provide longer maternity and paternity leave for parents. Flexible work schedules would also be a good option for many employers compared to providing on-site nursery. Nursery workers cannot take children to the doctor or care for them when they are ill, and school-aged children still require care between 3 and 6 p.m.

So, depending on a particular employer’s situation and the attitudes and financial situations of the people it hires, on-site child care may offer a good solution to labor problems like absenteeism and tardiness. Still, other employers may find similar benefits in more flexible work schedules and paid leave for both male and female new parents.

How to Become an Au Pair?

An au pair is much like a nanny, except it involves rendering your childcare and some household services in another country. Quite often young women attend higher education and work at learning the new country’s language while they attend to the required domestic responsibilities. This is a live-in position, where the au pair is treated as an equal member of the family. This means that you would take your meals with the family, and attend activities with them, as well. You would be allowed your own room in the family house. However, you should read the contract, between the parents and yourself, carefully. Make sure that you agree with all the provisions and requirements.

Basic Requirements

The basic requirements to become an au pair may vary from country to country and between household to household. Many young women become au pairs in Australia, France, Germany, Finland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Canada. Au pairs are also employed in the U.S., from outside countries. However, au pairs from the U.S. are often prized for their ability as English teachers for the children.

  • General age: 17 to 30 years
  • Minimal child care experience
  • No drug use, smoking is sometimes allowed
  • Conversational language abilities, in the country’s spoken language
  • Committed to certain period, usually 6 to 12 months

Education and Resume

If you are planning an au pair experience in your future, work at engaging in activities and education that will add to your resume, and so add to your choices of opportunities. Don’t discount the babysitting you have done as childcare experience. However, look for opportunities to volunteer, or work, for childcare at church, recreational facilities and day cares. Take classes in early childcare, ages newborn, toddlers, to age 10. Take a conversational language class of the countries primary language. There are short-term au pair preparedness trainings, which certainly would be of benefit.

A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.

Paulo Coelho

When putting together your resume, start with a list of your experiences, education and any special abilities or skills. Work at phrasing these items in a professional manner. Gather references and include copies with your resume. The more you can offer, the more au pair choices you will have. Remember, your resume is the first introduction you will have to a host family. It is true that you will be working with children, but your resume should not look childish. You are a professional and your resume should reflect that.

Host Family

Once you have narrowed your choices down for an au pair position, ask a lot of questions. Perhaps you have already read the contract over. Verbally confirm any areas of the contract that you are unsure of, or for which you just want verification. Before heading off to a new country, learn the customs and travel cautions. Get to know as much as you can about the country and area of the host family. It’s always nice to bring something very specific from your country, as a gift to the host family. Disney movies, in English, are great gifts for children.

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