Daycare problems are a concern for many parents. A daycare center is a solution many parents turn to out of necessity, but even the most awesome daycares have aspects that aren’t ideal for every family.
While daycare solves one problem, it can also come with its own problems, including lapses in communication, inconvenience to the parents, and separation anxiety for the child.
Daycare Problems Parents Commonly Experience (and How These Problems Disappear with an Au Pair)
1. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is one of the most common daycare problems. It can be overwhelming for a child to be thrown into the midst of a crowd of children at daycare. But even if your child isn’t shy, separation anxiety can still arise. When your child can’t stand you leaving, it puts a real damper on your morning drop-off.
Parents often report that their children feel less separation anxiety with an Au Pair instead of daycare. Tiffany, Host Mom to Colombian Au Pair, Angelica, says, “The guilt that I had leaving my child in daycare has been alleviated.”
2. Potty Training Issues
There’s nothing more frustrating to a parent than going through potty training only to discover your child regresses every time he/ she goes to daycare. Though many daycares enforce a potty schedule, it may not align with your child’s needs. This is one of the daycare problems that causes the most stress for parents.
Because Au Pairs only watch your children, they’re better able to provide one-on-one attention. This means that your Au Pair can support your child’s potty training based on your child’s body, not the daycare’s schedule.
Typically, Au Pairs truly love the children they tend. Tiffany says this has made all the difference in her childcare experience. “My children are being cared for by someone who loves [them]… I don’t have to worry about the children being taken care of in the way that I would want.”
3. Food/ Diet Issues
Many daycares focus on giving children healthy snacks like cheese, fruit, and milk to drink. Even if your child doesn’t have food allergies, the food they eat at daycare can impact their digestion and change their potty schedule. Some parents have problems with their daycare trying to send a child home due to diarrhea. This may be due to diet changes imposed by the daycare, not because the child is sick.
Not only do many Au Pairs cook, but they often have more time to prepare food than the parents do. They don’t need to send children home over a diaper blow-out, and they can pay closer attention to whether your child is sensitive to a particular food.
Shaun, the Host Dad to an Au Pair from El Salvador, says, “When our son is being a picky eater, she makes delicious foods for him just the way he likes, and she makes mealtime more fun by having conversations with him.”
4. Child Behavior
Even if your child is well-behaved at home, behavior issues can arise when you place your child in a new environment. Children purposely test their teachers’ limits and the boundaries of the people around them at daycare. So, if your child already struggles with certain behaviors, daycare can exacerbate those issues. And child behavior is one of those daycare problems that doesn’t just go away overnight.
Au Pairs have the luxury of focusing on your child and your child’s specific needs. If your Au Pair is having trouble with child behavior, you can help them directly. If you work from home or have a nanny cam, you can even peep in from time to time to see if your children are being respectful and listening to your Au Pair.
Tiffany says, “I have converted several daycare families to being au pair families because of the value of the experience.”
5. Communication with Teacher(s)
Some daycares schedule teachers for a half-day, which can make it difficult to speak with your child’s morning teacher if you need to address something. You may find yourself relying on office personnel to relay a message to the teacher.
Because Au Pairs live with you, it’s easy to catch up with your Au Pair about the kids. You get the added benefit of hearing their stories about the kids, while also ensuring you’re always on the same page.
In fact, most Au Pairs become an extended member of your family. Danel, an Au Pair from South Africa says, “My Host Mom reminds me of my favorite Aunt… I always look forward to spending time with her and having the best conversations.
6. Being Asked to Bring Special Supplies
If your daycare plans a special activity for the kids, they may ask for specific supplies one day. It’s no secret that parents already have too much to remember. Though this isn’t a huge problem, it can be an annoyance when your child isn’t even in grade school yet.
Au Pairs simplify your life and help keep track of special events. Many parents say their Au Pairs help them keep track of other things, too—like car keys, trash days, or where a child’s favorite toy is hiding. Au Pairs aren’t required to do these things, but sometimes they become so integrated into the family, it just happens.
7. Friction Between Child & Teacher
Sometimes a daycare teacher just doesn’t jive with your child’s personality. If your child’s discipline or childcare requirements conflict with a teacher’s style, it can create friction at daycare.
Au Pairs are motivated to join this program because they love children. The same may be true of daycare teachers, but Au Pairs have something daycare workers don’t: their goal is to become part of your family. This means they’ll be focused on bonding with your child right from the start. They know it’s vital to having a successful experience in the program.
Stacie, who hosted an Au Pair from Ecuador, said, “The trust & the bond we have with Ale is invaluable. We truly feel lucky to have her in our lives.”
8. Naptime and Scheduling Changes
Sometimes the daycare’s schedule can be a big adjustment for a child. Their naptimes may run later or earlier than your child is used to, and this can throw off your schedule for a while. This can cause daycare problems, particularly if you need more flexibility in scheduling.
With an Au Pair, you have more flexibility to do whatever works best for you and your kids. If your child doesn’t do naps, they don’t have to. If you need to work a night shift one day, your Au Pair can start watching the kids at a later time that day.
9. Daycare’s Schedule
Remembering when the daycare is closed for holidays just adds to a parent’s mental burden. Plus, the fact that daycares are only open at certain hours doesn’t exactly leave a lot of flexibility for your own schedule.
Au Pairs are allowed 1.5 days off per week, at least 2 days off in a row once a month, and vacation time during their year. Go Au Pair also recommends giving your Au Pair at least 4 holidays off. However, their days off can be flexible and you never have to worry about losing childcare because of a holiday. Instead, you can offer your Au Pair holidays that you already have off, and you can plan vacation time when you know you’ll have backup childcare, or when you’ll also be on vacation.
10. Using Your Sick Days for Your Child
This one is the worst. Parents often feel they can’t use their PTO for anything but their own sick days, and their kids’ too. Add in the times when daycares think your child is sick when they’re fine, and you’ll why many parents don’t take vacation time.
Au Pairs are able to care for your kids even when they’re sick. (Though, your Au Pair is still susceptible to the common cold, so you may want to make sure she’s armed with plenty of soap and disinfectant!)
In fact, Au Pairs often have time to focus on things that the parents may not have time for. So if your kids are sick, you could ask your Au Pair to disinfect surfaces and wash the kids’ hands more often to prevent the rest of the family from getting sick, too!
See Why Families Say Au Pair Childcare is Life-Changing
These are just some of the many ways Au Pairs change the lives of families all over the USA.
As Stacie says of her Au Pair, “We feel so incredibly fortunate that we do not need to stress about the well-being of our children. We are confident that they are well cared for and safe every day.”
Find out more about Au Pair childcare.