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Grandma Wanted – Living With a Granny Nanny

One of the biggest challenges for expat families living abroad is for sure the fact that friends and family are not living close by anymore – Skype or Facetime sessions have become integral parts of the weekly schedule. But when it comes to finding a babysitter, grandma and grandpa are sorely missed. Especially when both parents are working, and you need regular care.

With 12+ weeks of summer break, several snow days during wintertime, holidays and children getting sick every now and then, it appears even more impossible to follow a regular schedule for working mom and dads.

What are your options?
Hiring a local nanny might be the first choice, but lots of German-speaking mommies find it very hard to obtain a reliable nanny who shares the same values when it comes to parenting and raising a child. Working with au pair might be another option, but let’s be honest – depending on age and level of experience with children, it sometimes feels like adding another child into the mix.
Daycares or after-school programs might work for some, but most of them don’t offer evening hours. And there it was, the business dinner or the date night with your spouse…

Over the past couple of years, a new business model arose that sounds like the solution – “Granny Aupair”. Granny Aupair is a modern and internationally known online portal, through which experienced women can be placed as loan grannies (also called granny aupair or aupair grannies) at home and abroad. The idea is simple, yet perfect: On one side, there are families, who are looking for (German-speaking) help with their children and on the other side, there are grannies, looking to go on an adventure by living some time abroad, in a foreign country. Both enter their profiles into an online platform, including some pictures, hobbies and expectations.

With hundreds of well experienced grannies in their data bases, agencies like granny-aupair, aupair.com  and others are able to provide contact information to families and vice versa. After establishing the first contact, it’s up to the families and grannies to go ahead and seal the deal.

It’s always a good idea to have multiple Skype sessions to talk about the daily life and what’s needed in terms of hours, form of help and compensation. While there is no obligation to pay a weekly salary, most families cover the related travel and visa costs, in addition to free board and lodging. Even a prepaid cell phone, rental car, language class or gym membership could be part of the package.

What you will get:
A well experienced, temporary family member, an additional grandma for your children, a mother/mother in law for yourself, a companion and definitely a new friend. Granny au pairs usually are very independent, quite adventurous, and reliable. The fact that most of them have children on their own, gives them more experience – unlike a young au pair – when it comes to handle baby’s colics, a toddler’s meltdown or a child’s never-ending questioning.
If you decide on a granny from a German speaking country, you will get someone that is not only able to speak German to your kids, but also can sing German songs, read German books, and know about your traditions.

If there was a disadvantage that would have to be listed, it would be the fact that the grannies can only stay for a certain number of weeks (90 days if they do not apply for a B2 visa). This is because all stays are limited to the restrictions of the tourist visa for the country.

Are there any requirements?
You would need to have a little bit of space left in your apartment or house – a private bedroom or at least a private area is a MUST. You should be open to explaining how things work, willing to show her around the area and how to get to daycare, school and supermarket. Your grocery store bill is probably going up a little bit, but so is your free time.


Field Report (in German):

Since 2010 over 1.000 Granny Aupairs have already been placed in families worldwide. That is why Granny Aupair offer a wealth of experience. One of their Grannies, Ursula S. from Moers in Germany, wrote a blog about her experiences in New Jersey.

“88 Tage sind vergangen und ich bin wieder zu Hause. Es war eine tolle Zeit mit Peter, Dylan und Chloe. Ich konnte viel von Amerika sehen und Amerika erleben. Die kleine Familie hat mich von Anfang an aufgenommen und voll integriert. Ich war einfach zu Hause. Was war zu bewältigen?  Körperlich wenig bzw. keine Anstrengungen. Emotionale Anforderungen, nicht immer einfach, aber zu bewältigen. Die einwöchige Backpackertour zwischendurch hat mir gutgetan. Sprachlich gab es kaum Probleme, da die Kinder deutsch so gut oder so schlecht gesprochen haben wie ich englisch. Das hat sich wunderbar ergänzt und wenn auf den Tisch gehauen wird, ist das in jeder Sprache verständlich.”What does it mean?” war auf beiden Seiten ein oft gebrauchter Satz. Bei den Kindern immer dann, wenn man nicht verstehen wollte. “Chloe, räum Dein Zimmer auf”! “What does it mean?” Peter hat es genossen, deutsch zu sprechen. Er hat alles getan, um den Aufenthalt für mich spannend und interessant zu machen und das ist ihm wirklich gelungen. Danke Peter. Dann noch das Wetter. Drei Monate nur Sonnenschein und teilweise extreme Hitze. Regen meistens nur in der Nacht. OK, die Hitze hat teilweise die Aktivitäten eingeschränkt, aber ich habe es genossen, im Schatten zu sitzen und zu lesen, egal wie warm es war. Ich werde hier jetzt oft gefragt:” Würdest Du das nochmal machen?” Die Antwort lautet: “Ja!” Es gibt noch viele schöne Länder, die ich noch nicht gesehen habe und eine Menge Familien, die eine Granny suchen. Mit Peter, Chloe und Dylan werde ich in Verbindung bleiben und hoffe auf ein baldiges Wiedersehen bei einem Besuch in Deutschland.“

You can read more about Ursula’s experiences as a granny nanny here.



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