The high cost of living, interest rate hikes and the recent 1% increase in VAT is making the role of ‘stay-at-home mom’ almost redundant. “Mothers staying at home with their children is simply no longer the viable option of years past,” says Tiffiny Thomas from Blue Bird Aupairs. As a result, parents are left with the critical decision of what to do with their precious assets in the afternoons – do they send them to aftercare or do they get an aupair?
“There is no black and white when it comes to choosing an after-school solution for your child as things like budget, schedules, ages and personality need to be taken into consideration,” explains Tiffiny. She adds that even once you have made your decision, circumstances may change and you may need to seek the alternative which is why it is important to keep an open mind and make sure that you know what the pros and cons of each option are.
• Children get to interact with their friends in an informal surrounding
• If the aftercare is part of the school, they can take part in extra-mural school sports
• Food and snacks are generally included in the cost of aftercare
• If the aftercare is based at their school, your child will not have to travel on the roads without you
• Very little (or no) supervised homework which then needs to be done in the evenings when your child is tired and less likely to concentrate
• Aftercare generally does not cover school holidays
• A full day at school can leave your child irritable and exhausted
• No personal, hands-on love and care
Pros of an aupair
• Your child will get plenty of one-on-one love, care and attention
• An aupair can do homework with your child and spend extra time of subjects they may battle with, doubling up as a tutor
• Aupairs can transport your child to and from various after-school activities, which is a great help for parents (and children) with busy or unpredictable schedules and extra-mural activities that are off campus
• An aupair can double up as a baby sitter during the holidays
Cons of an aupair
• It can take time for your child to get to know your aupair
• Not all aupairs have formal early childhood training
• You will need to make sure that the fridge is stocked up for afternoon lunches and be prepared to pay for other additional costs like petrol
“It is important to remember that no two aftercares (or aupairs!) are the same!” says Tiffiny. She adds that you should ask lots of questions for clarity and also make sure that you align your budget in terms of what you are able/willing to spend on a monthly basis for after-school care. “Both options can be affordable, provided you shop around,” she concludes.