Category: Family Life

7 Ways to Cope While Raising Kids and Caring for Elderly Parents

Do you feel caught between a rock and a hard place? Is the rock your children and the hard place your parents? If so, then you might be a member of the sandwich generation. 

The sandwich generation is made up of adults who are raising children and taking care of their aging parents at the same time. And the result can be a bit squashing. The feeling of being squished between both lives is a sure sign that you’re dealing with sandwich-generation stress. 

Although providing for both your children and parents leaves you feeling overwhelmed, there are ways to cope. Continue reading for 7 ways to cope with the stress and start feeling better today.

1. Don’t Forget to Focus on Yourself

Before you can care for someone else, you must first care for yourself. Practicing good self-care should be your number one priority when feeling caught in the middle. When you’re feeling good and happy, others around you can sense it.

And they will feel the same way. To do this, you need to have a healthy work-life balance. Don’t take on more than you can handle. 

Remember to keep in touch with friends. Having a healthy social life is a great way to relieve some of that stress. And don’t forget to prepare for your own retirement. 

Plan ahead so that when it’s your time to retire, you’re not in the same situation.

2. It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Trying to care for both your children and parents is a lot of work. And it won’t come as a surprise to anyone if you need help. 

If you have siblings, consider asking them to share shifts with you. Or, have them step in when you need that extra helping hand. It’s also worth a shot to have open communication with your employer about your situation.

Your employer may be able to work with you by providing family-leave or a more flexible schedule. But for when things get really tough, it’s never a bad idea to hire help. You can bring in a part-time nanny to help watch the kids while you take your parent to the doctors. 

Or, you might consider hiring a senior-care aid to take your parent to the grocery store while you stay at home and help your children with homework. Senior aids are trained and know how to properly help the elderly who may need extra memory care and other senior-related conditions.

3. Get the Children Involved

Just because your children are younger, doesn’t mean they can’t lend a helping hand. Put together a list of chores for each child to do around the house. This can help you out more than you think. 

If your children are older and still live with you, ask them to start contributing financially. If they no longer live with you, you can still ask them for support when they have a free moment. And always keep some form of open-communication with them at any age.

Explaining to your children the situation in an age-appropriate way is a good way to help everyone understand what’s going on and how to help.

4. Get More Sleep 

Always remember to get more sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Not having the proper amount of rest can lead to irritation during the day.

A good amount of sleep is not only important to your physical health but it’s important to your mental health as well. And getting a good night’s sleep ensures that you’ll be refreshed and ready for the obstacles of the new day.

5. Eat Healthier & Exercise

Along with sleep, you also need to practice healthy eating and exercising habits. Foods that are high in bad fats and sugars make you feel more tired throughout the day. Consume foods that are antioxidant and vitamin-rich. 

These types of foods are mostly vegetables and fruits. And they’re great for supporting your immune system. Eat high in fiber foods as well, which will satisfy your hunger. 

And aim to put aside at least 30 minutes each day for exercise. Having a healthy diet and healthy exercise routine keeps your body energized and up for any task.

6. Set Up a Care Plan & Prioritize

It’s crucial to make a list of what things are most important. Be ready to let go of the things that are not. You can’t tackle everything in one day. 

Put off the least important things for a later date. And develop a care plan. But don’t do it alone.

Be sure to involve your parents and other family members living in the house when putting the care plan in place. Everyone’s input is vital to a successful care plan. 

7. Spend Quality Family Time

You don’t want your spouse or children to feel left out. So remember to always make time throughout your week for them. And spending quality time with the whole family, children and parents included, is more than important. 

The stress that you take on every day is for your family. They are what’s most important in your life. Take time to have family-fun days where everyone can relax and enjoy one another’s company. 

To ensure that you don’t forget to set this time aside, preschedule family-date nights. This way you know ahead of time that specific night and time is dedicated to pure family bonding.

Relieve the Stress of Caring for Children and Parents 

Caring for both your children and parents is a lot of weight to carry. But in the end, it’s worth it because your family is what matters most. You might not be able to change the situation that you’re in. 

But you can change how you cope with the stress. Keep these 7 tips in mind and live a less stressful sandwich generation life. And when you’re ready to plan those family nights, you can check out 5 fun decorating ideas for a backyard family party here!

The Top 4 Best Outdoor Summer Activities to Try With Your Whole Family

Ahh, yes, summertime. The sun is out, school is finished (for now), and you’re ready to hit the road for an amazing vacation or just hang out near home and explore the community. Either way, you know you can easily have tons of fun without breaking the bank.

With kids in tow, finding fun outdoor summer activities is paramount. And doing that on a budget makes it a tad bit challenging.

Pondering all of this incredible summer action should inspire you to come up with a few ideas that might just help you enjoy your next big summer break on a budget.

Don’t know where to start? Keep reading to discover our guide to the best summer activities.

1. Hit the Beach (It’s Free)

If you live near the beach, or even if you don’t, it’s fun to stroll the sandy shore as a family. Not only will you get to enjoy the soothing sounds of the surf hitting the sand, but the kids will love it, too.

After everyone’s done swimming and building sandcastles, take a leisurely stroll down the boardwalk. A few ice creams and maybe a souvenir later, and everyone’s happy.

One word of advice: always remember your sunscreen, and make sure you apply it multiple times if you’re hanging out for a few hours.

2. Explore the Great Outdoors

Nature has a lot to offer, and other than perhaps some park fees, you can explore it for a low price. Consider heading out to your nearest camping grounds and pitch a tent for a few nights. Memories are guaranteed to be made.

3. Go on an Adventure

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not try your hand at something completely new, like whitewater rafting with Quest Expeditions? When summer ends, you and your kids will have plenty of amazing stories to tell.

The number of outdoor summer activities is endless so get creative and look at hiking trails, local ranger programs, or fishing trips to truly immerse yourselves in the great outdoors.

4. Make the Backyard a Haven for Outdoor Summer Activities

You can easily transform your own backyard into an outdoor play area. Set up a space for some fun arts and crafts where you can build things like birdhouses or planters. 

Get creative and come up with some awesome outdoor games the kids will love. A simple sandbox is a fabulous choice for toddlers. Invite neighbors over, and you’ve got yourself a party. 

Have water balloon fights, roast marshmallows over a fire, and go exploring for birds and insects. These activities aren’t just inexpensive, they’re also a fantastic way to teach your kids and have some low-cost, authentic bonding time. 

Summer Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

Whether it’s a chill day at the beach or a camping trip, you can experience a myriad of awesome outdoor summer activities all at a reasonable cost.

Remember that your kids want to spend time with you, and in the long run, they’d much prefer that over an expensive luxury vacation.

Be sure to check out our blog for some more awesome frugal travel tips so you can make this summer one you’ll always remember.

Organization Hacks: 10 Organizing Tools Already Laying Around Your House

Getting rid of clutter gets rid of 40% of housework.

Is your disorganization costing you time?

If so, you need to pause and re-assess. You have heard the term, “time is money“, right?

Here are 10 random organization hacks to stop wasting time by decluttering your home. As a bonus, these are things you can find around your house or for cheap at a dollar store.

1. Plastic Lids

I can count on one hand how many people I’ve met my entire life that have their Tupperware cabinet under control.

It gets hectic quick, which is why you need to use an old CD holder or file rack to organize that mess.

2. Plastic Bags

We shouldn’t have any of these things considering what we know about how harmful plastic is to the environment.

Nonetheless, we’ve all been to the grocery store and forgotten our reusable bags.

When that happens — keep them!

You can store them neatly in an old, washed out Dura-lite container with the lid cut off. Then you’ll get two birds with one stone by re-using two plastic items.

3. Bath Toys

This works the same with loofahs and sponges, 

Use a hanging basket (perhaps a fruit one) to keep bath toys from dripping outside of the tub.

This trick works with loofahs and sponges, too.

4. Office Supplies: Pens and Scizzors

All right, there are a few things you can do in this department.

The first is to repurpose soup cans into pen holders. You can even decorate them for style points.

5. Office Supplies: Drawers

The second is to use old baking sheets or muffin tins inside of drawers. This is great for shallow spaces or those junk drawers we cram shut (oops).

6. Bobby Pins

Do you lose more bobby pins than you use?

Try storing hairpins in an old Tic-Tac container or on a magnetic strip.

7. Jewelry When Traveling

It’s easy to throw your jewelry into a tangled mess when traveling…and then spend forever untangling necklaces and earrings.

Put small earrings and rings in pill organizers to keep you from having to sort them out after your trip.

8. Loose Cords

Am I the only one who has drawers and piles of random cords?

Hopefully not… Regardless, we should all make use of binder clips by clipping cords in a bundle.

9. Tank Tops

Besides the kids’ room, our own closet might be the most disorganized space in the house.

To slowly start tackling that mess, put your cami tank tops all on one hook or hanger. When you’re ready, check out these other closet organization tricks.

10. The Most Versatile of Organization Hacks: Repurposing Old Glass Jars

I could go on all day about the various uses for mason jars. Cupcake liners, cotton balls, flour, you name it.

Here’s one way you can clean out used jars for repurposing.

All Organization Counts — No Matter How Small

To hype yourself up about getting the little and big stuff cleaned up, tell yourself this:  

It’s one small step for organization hacks, one large step for time well spent.

Once you get fully organized and regain 40% of the time you were spending due to chaotic clutter, now you can move on to saving money on cleaning.

Roughing It With the Fam: Camping Essentials for Your Next Family Trip

Millions of Americans pack up and go camping every year. The growing trend is becoming increasingly popular. 

Are you looking for an affordable alternative to your expensive family vacations in hotel resorts? Or, do you just want to get out into the wilderness? Either way, camping could be for you. 

When you pack your camping gear, do you always leave something behind?

Follow this list of camping essentials that you need to take on your next camping trip. Here we go. 

1. Tent 

While you could be planning to camp in either your car or an RV, most campers take a tent with them.

Unless you’re expecting to lie down underneath the stars, you’re going to need a tent to keep yourself warm and dry during the night.

Even in the summer, you can get rather cold during the night while sleeping. 

2. Sleeping Bag

You want to be warm and snug in your sleeping bag during your camping trip. Trust us!

But, consider the temperature and conditions when you’re camping. If you’re camping in cool temperatures, then you need to get a suitable sleeping bag. However, in the summer months, anything will do the job.

If you have a high-quality tent, you can even bring along your normal bedding to enjoy your home comforts away from home. 

3. Tarps 

Pack tarps (or tarpaulin) with you!

This is a water-resistant sheet of strong canvas or polyester which can protect you from the weather elements. 

When the sun is shining, tarps can provide you with refuge. When it is raining outdoors, you can find shelter under the tarps as well.

It also provides you with somewhere to store your dirty boots and shoes so you don’t get the tent wet and muddy.

You could also buy a portable gazebo to keep the sun or rain off your heads. Shop now here for more. 

4. Matches or Lighters

Are you going to be sitting by the campfire singing camp songs? 

Make sure you don’t forget matches or lighters to get the fire started. Otherwise, you could be left out in the cold.

If you’re expecting rain, then you’ll also need to pack waterproof matches.

5. Sleeping Mat

You don’t want to return from your camping vacation with a backache. That’s what can happen if you’re not used to sleeping on the ground. 

Bring along a sleeping mat to provide support between yourself and the earth. This should also prevent you from catching a chill from the ground beneath you. 

You can also purchase blow-up beds or camp beds which also suspend your body off the ground while you sleep. 

6. Cushions

You can always roll up a bunch of clothes to put under your head at night. However, if you need a cushion to sleep, then you don’t want to leave it at home.

You can also purchase inflatable cushions or small cushions which can be stuffed in a small for storage for camping.

7. Camping Chairs 

You may want to sit on the grass for a while. But after some time, you’ll be ready to sit in a comfortable seat. 

Once you’ve set up camp, you’ll be ready to sit back in your camping chair and enjoy the evening. 

If you pack a collapsible camping chair, you’ll be able to store it conveniently in your vehicle on your journey to the campsite.

8. Insect Repellent 

Mosquitos and other insects can be a nuisance of your camping vacation. You need to be prepared for these pests.

Start with buying some inspect repellent so you don’t get bitten from head to toe. However, you can also buy citronella candles to keep away bugs while you’re eating your picnic or BBQ.

9. First Aid Kit 

Whether you have packed your own emergency kit or ready-made first aid kit, it’s an essential item on your camping vacation.

If a camper falls, you’ll need a band-aid. But you should also pack a bunch of painkillers and other essentials.

Hopefully, you won’t need to take out. But, if you’ve got an emergency, you’ll be thankful that you brought it along with you.

10. Personal Care Products

You may be roughing it. However, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid washing altogether. 

Most campsites provide well-equipped bathroom and shower facilities for you to use. However, you’ll need to bring along your own soap and shampoo.

If you require any other additional personal care products, then bring them with you as well.

But, keep in mind that you’re camping. You won’t be doing anything fancy so leave the perfume and jewelry at home.

Wet wipes and hand sanitizer is definitely a helpful item to have at hand. Every time you eat, you’ll want to make sure your hands are clean.

11. Games to Play 

Camping is about spending time having fun together as a family.

You can take a baseball bat and a ball to play a game. Or, if you want a more relaxed evening, then a pack of cards is always a campsite favorite.

This is what camping is around about. So make sure you pack some entertainment and fun with you.

12. Cooking Equipment

Unless you’re planning on going out for dinner every night, then you’re going to need to take some cooking equipment with you.

If you’re trekking to your campsite, then you’re going to want to small and lightweight cookware.

You could take a Dutch oven or a cast-iron skillet to cook food. 

If you don’t want to eat out of your hands, also bring plates and bowls. You’ll also need knives, spoons, and forks too.

You should gather plastic or lightweight items when possible. This makes it easy to carry around and reduces the risk of breakages. 

13. Food to Cook

There is no point in taking cooking equipment without food. Make sure you think carefully about the kind of food you can cook on the campsite.

Whether you’re preparing BBQ steaks or camping French toast, make sure you have all of the right ingredients prepared. 

14. Some Reading Material

After you have set up camp, played some games and eaten food, it may be time for some alone time.

Find a quiet corner of the campsite and open up your book for some reading time. Whether you’re reading a recent best-seller or the daily newspaper, this is an essential item to have on your camping trip. 

15. Cell Phone and Charger

Just because you’re escaping to the countryside for camping, that doesn’t mean you want to escape civilization altogether.

Even if you want a “digital detox” on your vacation, it’s important to make sure you can charge your cell phone in an emergency. 

You might need to bring an extra battery pack to charge your cell phone. If you’re expecting rain, make sure you bring a waterproof cover as well. 

16. The Right Footwear

Leave your stilettos at home for your camping trip. You can ruin your family camping experience with inappropriate footwear.

You need to be able to trek to the campsite in your shoes. You make even need to bring along hiking boots for particularly muddy ground.

If you’re camping during the summer, sandals are definitely recommended for going to the shower rooms in the morning. 

17. Garbage Bags 

When you’re packing up after your camping vacation is over, you need somewhere to put your trash. 

There are usually high fines for leaving your trash around on the campsite. So make sure you have garbage bags to keep everything clean and tidy after meals. 

Also, if you have a rainy time, you can also cut a couple of holes in the bags to create a poncho to shield you from the raindrops.  

18. Music Speaker

Music is extremely important for most campers. While your cell phone may play tunes, you need a Bluetooth speaker to share the songs with the rest of the family.

You can take in turn to choose the song as you pass the music player around the campfire. If you really want to evoke the feeling of being in the wilderness, you can also play bird songs.

However, make sure you keep limits on the volume of your music. You don’t want to disturb your camping neighbors. 

19. Camping Multitools

These handy gadgets are really helpful when you need small tasks done on your camping trip. 

Someone struggling to open a bottle of beer? Do you need your packaged food cut open? A camping multitool has everything you need to get you out of a hole while camping.

20. Coffee 

Over 60% of Americans drink coffee regularly. We won’t be ourselves if we don’t get our cup of Joe. 

While coffee might not appear like a camping necessity, it definitely is if you’ve got an addiction to caffeine. 

Camping Essentials 

Next time you go on your camping trip, you should remember to check this list of camping essentials.

Make sure you have everything you need to ensure your camping vacation goes to plan. There is nothing worse than remembering you left something behind before you arrive at the campsite.

Do you want more tips and advice on travel and vacations? Check out more of our blog here

How to Choose the Best Bassinet While on a Tight Budget

Even though the number of babies born in the US each year is dropping, 3.8 million couples still welcomed a new member of their family into their homes last year. A baby is a bundle of joy, and is totally worth every penny, but with every bundle of joy comes a bundle of costs, too.

If you’re one of the people who’s letting a new child into their life, one of the most important expenses you’re going to be looking into is a bassinet for your baby. After all, every parent wants to make sure that their baby is comfortable, gets sound sleep, and stays healthy.

Here, we’re going to help you figure out how to choose the best bassinet, all while keeping the upcoming money-crunch of having a baby in mind.

Research Different Options

The most important thing that you can do when choosing a bassinet for your little one is to look online at all your different options. When you’re buying on a budget, it’s important to look at different websites to find the best deals.

Even if cost is a huge concern, though, don’t just buy something because you see that it’s cheap. Look at the online reviews for it, too, and make sure that other parents find it safe and comfortable for their baby. You wouldn’t want your baby not getting restful sleep, or worse, falling out and hurting herself.

And speaking of hearing from other parents, try asking people you know in real life, too, what worked for them when they had a baby. Even if you aren’t in a group for new parents or parents-to-be, you likely have friends or family who’ve been there that you can ask.

To get started, check out this review of the top five rocking bassinets!

Safety First

Remember earlier when we said that cost wasn’t the only factor in choosing a bassinet? Well, it isn’t the most important one, either. All good parents value the safety of their children above all else, and since your baby will spend a lot of time in her bassinet, you might want to make the investment to get a good one.

There are bassinets out there that can keep your baby safe by detecting their movement and making sure that she doesn’t take a tumble. It also has microphones that can tell the parents when she starts crying or making sounds, so you can take care of your baby when she needs you.

Plus, these bassinets can perform other functions like regulating temperature and rocking, depending on which ones you decide to get. So you aren’t just investing in your baby’s safety, but their comfort, too! Plus, a comfortable, sleeping baby means a good night’s sleep for you, too, so it’s a worthy investment on all fronts.

There are a lot of bassinets like this. They’re meant to keep baby comfy by mimicking the shape and warmth of the womb so the baby can make her transition into the world as smoothly as possible.

Look For Discounts And Used Bassinets

That being said, smart bassinets like this can be super expensive. The good news is that there are a lot of used bassinets out there just waiting for you. Since bassinets are really only used for the first few months of a child’s life, getting a used one really isn’t all that different from getting a new one. It’s definitely worth it, too, because it’s a lot less money.

If you don’t like the idea of getting something like this used, there are also a lot of discount bassinets out there. A lot of these are new and completely safe and comfortable. Heck, you can even get smart bassinets like we talked about earlier used, if you want!

If you get discount or used items like this, it’s probably just as good as getting a new one. Just do your research and make sure that what you’re getting is really what you want, and you’ll be golden!

Buy In Bulk

When you have a baby, you’re going to be buying large quantities of a lot of items. Mushed bananas, diapers, you name it–you’re going to have a full cart and a suffering wallet.

This might sound weird, but a great way to save money on bassinets is to buy multiple at the same time. If you have more than one child, you’re going to need more than one of these items, and so you probably will want to get more than one at once. To save money, look into a bassinet set.

This is especially important if you have twins. If you’re lucky enough to be welcoming twins into your family, check out a twin bassinet set for your little ones. With these, you can put both your twins to sleep at the same time and get some sleep- no need to take turns!

Plus, lots of these sets match, so your friends will envy how cute your twins are as a set.

Get An Amazing Bassinet

Even though having a baby can be stressful, it’s entirely worth it when you hold a new life–and one you created, at that–in your arms. Get a bassinet that will keep that life and love safe and happy, but don’t break your bank! After all, saving money will let you give more to other expenses in raising your baby.

Now that you know the best tips for choosing bassinets at an affordable price, check out this link to discover free samples for parents of new children.

Get ready to welcome your baby to the world and for a lot of love and a lot of laughter!

Turning Five on a Dime: Inexpensive Birthday Party Ideas for Kids

It seems like raising a child is becoming more expensive every year. It’s currently estimated that raising a child born in 2015 through the age of 17 will cost $233,610. This is a three percent jump from the previous year.

You may feel prepared to pay for the basics like food, clothing, and even extracurricular activities. But have you considered the cost of birthday parties? Especially as your child enters school and wants to celebrate their special day with friends, this event can get costly.

You don’t have to worry, though. There are plenty of ways to make your child’s birthday fun and memorable without breaking the bank. Read on for some inexpensive birthday party ideas.

Center Your Inexpensive Birthday Party Ideas Around a Theme

One of the easiest ways to make a budget party look and feel top-notch is to make it a themed party. Theming a party can create such a fun and exciting atmosphere that nobody will notice if you didn’t splurge on the most expensive decor or food. From Star Wars party ideas to princess parties, the options are endless when it comes to themed parties.

Cut Costs with Homemade or Discount Decor

While wedding guests may ooh and ahh over decorations, the guests at your child’s birthday party won’t take a second look. Save money by making some of your own decorations. Pinterest is a great resource for DIY ideas, like creative streamers and banners.

When it comes to shopping for decorations and materials for DIY decor, browse your local dollar stores or Wal-Mart. Themed decorations can be pricier, so choose colors that match your theme instead. Red, black, and white are great for a Mickey-themed party, while white and light blue is perfect for your Frozen fan’s birthday.

Make Sure There is An Interactive Activity to Keep Kids Entertained

Unlike adults, children don’t want to spend their time mingling and chatting at a party. Ensuring the young guests at your kid’s birthday party have entertainment or activities is most important. Whether it’s a bounce house, yard games, or face paint, investing in even one activity is a great idea.

Keep Food Simple and Don’t Overspend on Cake

Like decorations, the food at your child’s birthday party shouldn’t eat up too much cost. If the kids are having fun (especially with that entertainment or activity you invested in), they won’t want to sit still to eat for too long, anyway. Choose foods that are simple, well-liked, and easy to hand out to a hungry crowd.

If you’re serving lunch, pizza or pre-made sandwiches are good options. For an afternoon party that only calls for some snacks, go for kid-friendly fruits, crackers, and cheese. When it comes to cake, think about saving the special one for the family celebration, and choose a simple sheet cake or cupcakes for the big party.

You Can Raise a Happy, Well-Rounded Family on a Budget

In the end, all that matters is that your child feels special and that they and their friends have fun. This mindset goes beyond inexpensive birthday party ideas. Browse the blog more tips on family living on a budget, including ideas for healthy, cheap snacks, budget tips for traveling with a baby, and more.

Moms Deserve a Break, Too! How to Find a Great Au Pair Match For Your Kids

Whether you’re traveling with a new baby or have a gaggle of kids of all ages, when you’re on an extended vacation, you definitely deserve to make the most of your time off. 

You’re ready to find an au pair that will provide excellent care for your children — and allow you to kick back, relax, and enjoy a glass of wine without your kid asking you to do something for the thousandth time. 

Connecting with a great au pair means you’ll need to do a little leg work now in order to take full advantage of your travel plans later. 

Read on to learn how to find an au pair that’s the right fit for your family in every way. 

1. Ask Around

You rely on your other mom friends for advice from how to handle a picky eater to how to deal with a teacher that seriously has it out for your kid. 

So, it’s no surprise that they should be your first resource when it comes to finding an au pair.

Even if the person they worked with has moved back to their home country or has switched jobs, they can still offer you great insight into the methods they used to connect with one.

Plus, they might have friends that have a great au pair that’s looking for a new family to work with. 

2. Check out Job Boards

Before you had kids, maybe you loved the idea of traveling around the world, exploring new cultures, and seeing the most incredible sites and landmarks possible. 

Guess what? 

Even if you’re no longer backpacking across Europe and staying in questionable hostels, there are still plenty of people who are.

Many of them sign up on au pair job boards to make some money while they travel. The Internet has made finding qualified candidates for jobs easier than ever, and childcare positions are definitely no exception. Some of them even conduct background checks and verify the identities of potential au pairs. 

Check out the Backpacker Job Board to browse through tons of awesome au pair profiles. Reach out to several candidates, and move forward with some of your most promising options. 

3. Rely on an Au Pair Agency

Looking for someone to do most of the work for you? 

If so, then working with an au pair agency is the right move for you. 

An agency will be able to provide you with au pairs that have experience with children around the same age as your kids, excellent references, and any other preferences you have. 

You might need to pony up a bit more money to an agency than you would if you elected to conduct your search on your own. Still, we think that making an investment in the person taking care of your child is well worth it. 

Just make sure you read reviews of the agencies to make sure that they vet their candidates — and pay the au pairs that work for them fairly.

In other words?

Don’t just do your research on the au pairs themselves. Also, ask around about the validity of the agency you’re planning on working with. 

4. How to Conduct an Interview

So, you’ve used the above methods to find a few au pair candidates. 

In order to ensure you make the right decision, you need to conduct a thorough interview. 

First, ask about their experience with childcare, and especially with au pair work. An au pair needs to be flexible, up for long travel days, and work well with your overall family dynamic. 

You’ll be spending much more time with an au pair than you would with a nanny or babysitter. 

You may also want to ask about their overall experience level with cooking and even light housecleaning.

Make sure that they can work with a schedule that’s not as consistent as a traditional job. They may work long hours one day, and then barely any the next. Talk about off-days and payment up front, so that there’s no confusion later on. 

Always ask to speak with families they’ve worked with in the past. This will give you an idea of what to expect — and whether or not you should go with another au pair. 

You should also run a background check on the top candidate before you hire them.

Check out this list of some of the best background checking services, so that you can rest easy knowing you’re leaving your kids with the right kind of person. Above all, trust your gut. If something just seems “off” during the interview process, it’s best to continue your search.  

Finding a Great Au Pair Is Easier Than You Think

If you follow these tips, we know that you’ll find a great au pair that doesn’t just along with your kids, but also fits well within your family unit. 

In addition to being a serious help, an au pair can encourage your children to learn a new language, allow you to enjoy your time off, and even open your eyes to new experiences.

Looking for more advice about how to find a great childcare provider? Interested in picking up a few tips about how to vacation with kids — and save on the costs of travel in the process? 

We’ve got you covered. 

No matter what kind of great deal, life advice, or even tips on how to actually enjoy your time at the airport, keep checking back with us for more more-friendly tips and tricks.