STEPHANIE EDER, PAPAKURA, AUCKLAND
When Stephanie Eder returned to work after having her daughter Peyton, she searched for a form of childcare that was flexible, affordable and could provide oneon-one care throughout her wee one’s early years. “We’d gone through all the different childcare options that were available and wrote a pros and cons list.” says Stephanie. “In the end, we decided that an au pair would be the best fit for us. We also knew a couple of families that had au pairs and they said how amazing it was, so we thought we’d give it a try.” The Eder family’s au pair Anita Altstaed was employed through a New Zealand-based nanny agency. As an 18-year-old German on a gap year, Anita loved children and was keen to experience the Kiwi way of life as part of a young family. It was the perfect solution for Stephanie, who works in a busy role as a resource coordinator for the Ministry for Primary Industries and her husband Leighton, a despatch operator for Winstone Wallboards. Anita lives with the couple and their two children, James, five, and Peyton, now 16 months and her board, food and a set wage or “allowance” are provided in exchange for 30 hours a week of childcare. “It’s an ideal situation for our family – Anita is completely flexible and works around our schedules, the kids get one-on-one care and always have the same person looking after them, so their days are consistent,” she says. “It’s also cost-effective as we pay a flat weekly rate for the care of both of our children and we don’t have to worry about expensive holiday programs, before and after-school care or daycare fees.” While James is at school, Anita takes Peyton to various toddler activities such as Wriggle and Rhyme, runs errands and contributes to the household by doing basic chores. She has her own private bedroom in a cabin a few metres away from the house and shares the family bathroom and living areas. “From early on, we discussed our parenting styles and how we wanted Anita to care for our children in a similar way,” says Stephanie. “Now, the kids absolutely adore her. It’s lovely to see them look to her for comfort when upset, reassurance when they are unsure and genuinely just want to be with her. With Leighton and I both working full-time, it’s great knowing that our children are well looked after.”
Stephanie and Leighton with James and Peyton.