Meet our Host Families
As our American host families are located all across the USA with different lifestyles they are all very unique! Some live near a large city whilst others live in a small town. One or both parents may work and the number and age of children varies from family to family. But there is one thing that they all have in common - a need for flexible childcare and a genuine interest in learning about a new culture whilst teaching you about their own.
In the Spotlight: Both Parents Working
The Bauer Family in Massachusetts
Host parents: Sheila and Andi
Host children: Elena (8) and Alex (5)
Host family since: 2003
Current au pair: Mirjam from Austria
The Bauer family has hosted nine au pairs since their daughter Elena was just an infant - and they have embraced the program entirely, considering each of their au pairs like family members, or "nieces".
The au pair program works so well for us because of its flexibility. We are able to rely on our au pair in the morning to help with getting the children to the school bus and picking them up in the afternoon too. Her schedule can be adjusted to accommodate the school year or summer vacation. Also, I prefer an au pair because she can coordinate play dates and get them to activities, rather than have them at an after-school program. It's important to be clear with your au pair about your day to day expectations - you should provide her with a written schedule and a clear set of daily tasks.
We like having our childcare provider as part of our lives - the children and even their friends and parents get a chance to connect with our au pairs. Finally, our au pair has really allowed our children to be exposed to other languages and cultures, and I think they have a better understanding of the world because of this program.
In the Spotlight: Both Parents Working
The Newman Family in Colorado
Host parents: Rachel and Brent
Host children: Mason (5) and Clayton (2.5)
Host family since: 2008
Current au pair: Luise fromGermany
Host mom Rachel says of her au pair, Luise, “She makes our house a fun place to be for the kids. She goes above and beyond with what she does with them. Our kindergartener had a hard time adapting to the demands of school. So immediately after she arrived she began ‘tutoring’ him at home. She has a plan in place and works on something different every day. We immediately saw his success within weeks of her starting this. He is now much more confident in school.”
The program works great for us because it gives us flexibility with childcare. Sometimes we may need her to not work in the morning, but then work later into the evening. In a normal daycare center you can’t do that.
I feel much more comfortable with having an au pair because I can determine my kids’ schedules and allow them to do fun things. The other aspect that I have really loved, especially with our last two au pairs, is the connection that our children have had with the girls. They have become part of our family that I’m sure we’ll talk to for the rest of our lives. It’s great to be able to give our kids that cultural aspect at such a young age.
In the Spotlight: A Family with 3+ children
The Rau Family in Virginia
Host parents: Dariece and Charlie
Host children: John (15), Ian (14), Gannon (8),Jackson(6) and Kristian (4)
Host family since: 2006
Current au pair: Juliane fromGermany
Says host mom Dariece, "Juliane is 19 going on 30 (in a good way)! She is so mature and responsible that everyone thinks that she is much older. She is a wonderful role model for our children - and other au pairs. For instance, I have had several other au pairs tell me how much they like her and that I am very lucky to have her. I totally agree!"
My children are currently in four different schools and involved in various activities after school. These include activities like soccer, swimming, and other sports as well as scouts.
It helps my life to be less stressful knowing that I have that extra person in our lives to help out. Juliane brings a mature, but playful spirit to our household. Without our au pair, my children would not be able to do the extra activities they so enjoy! She not only energizes my children, but she energizes me as well.
In the Spotlight: Single Parent Family
The Sekera Family in Illinois
Host parent: Lori
Host children: Lucas (age 6), Courtney (age 4), Angela (age 1.5)
Host family since: 2010
Current au pair: Nina from Germany
Having Nina in our home is like having a friend close by for me and the children. It was difficult at first, but all the children seek her out now, reluctant to let her sleep in. Nina doesn't just take care of the children, she thinks of solutions to their troubles, talks about their development and plans their activities.
From a day-to-day life perspective, being a single parent and having an au pair is like having a roommate—and while I didn't welcome an au pair to keep me company, Nina has done that on a few occasions when we've talked late into the evening. It was certainly an unexpected benefit to regain a bit of that lost partnership of parenting and day-to-day life.
In the Spotlight: A Family with Multiples
The Sternburg family in Massachusetts
Host parents: Cheryl and Robert
Host children: Alex (10), Joshua (9), Amanda and Julia (1 ½)
Host family since: 2009
Current au pair: Laura from Colombia
The Sternburgs have hosted three au pairs. They help Cheryl get the older boys off to school each morning and care for the twins until Alex and Joshua return from school. The Sternburg family relies on 9 hours of coverage Monday - Friday and gives their au pairs most weekends off. There are many other Cultural Care au pairs in their area which provides an instant group of friends.
There is no doubt that in these past four months Laura has grown to truly love our children and treat them as her own, and our children love her back in return. With the various personalities in our home, she has learned how best to get along with everyone and make challenges into learning experiences. She always has a positive outlook and can assess how best to handle any and all situations. Having a family with multiples can be so much fun yet also challenging at times. Another set of hands in the house ensures the stress level is at a minimum.