Little Treasures - - CHILD­CARE CHOICES -


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.

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