In-home Childcare

Keeping It Familiar

Canstock Images/canstockphoto8421379 nanny and child(copy)(copy).jpgIn-home childcare takes place in one’s own home or in the provider’s own home. Au pairs, nannies, babysitters and in-home educators are all considered in-home care providers.

Be aware that you may be responsible for back-up care should the childcare provider be unwell or otherwise unavailable.

The advantages of care in your own home include:

  • Flexibility, parent determines the schedule
  • Less disruption for the child as the environment remains the same
  • Personal attention for each child
  • Household help may be included in the job description
  • No need for back-up care in case a child is sick
  • One consistent caregiver

However, you may become an employer and will therefore need to meet all the tax and health & safety obligations that being an employer entails. You will also likely have no back-up if the childcare provider is unwell or on holiday.

The advantages of care in the provider’s home include:

  • The setting is home-like
  • Groups often mirror family groups (multi-age)
  • Siblings may be cared for in the same home
  • May offer greater flexibility in hours
  • Smaller groups (no more than 4) allow for more individualized attention

Options for In-home Childcare

Au Pairs

An au pair is a live-in employee from overseas who is employed by a host family to care of their children. Au pairs are typically young people between the ages of 18 and 30 years. Au pairs come from all over the world and normally enter New Zealand on Working Holiday Visas.

An au pair often becomes part of the family for the duration of their stay – “au pair” comes from a French term meaning “on a par” or “equal to”.

Their responsibilities are primarily focused towards to care of children and can include:

  • Day to day childcare activities such a feeding, nappy and clothes changing, play time, taking care of belongings and toys.
  • Preparing meals and washing clothes for the children throughout the working week.
  • Taking the children on outings and to playgroups, schools, and extra-curricular activities.
  • Managing sleep routines.
  • Providing early childhood education through guiding and supporting children in their own home.
  • An au pair may also provide light housework duties and pet care on arrangement.

Depending on the service use to engage an au pair, access to the 20 Hours Early Childhood Education government subsidy for children between 3-5 years as well as WINZ childcare subsidies (including OSCAR) may be available.


A nanny is similar to an au pair as they are employed by a family to carry out all the tasks relating to the care of their children in the children’s own home. Some nannies live with the family but most live in their own home.

The duties of a nanny are usually limited to child care and the domestic tasks associated with it although the extent of duties to be undertaken may be negotiated between the parties when the contract of employment is entered into. Nannies can work with any age group and may work full or part-time depending on the needs of the family.

A nanny is not required to have any form of training although many nannies may have had training in Early Childhood courses.

Depending on the service use to engage a nanny, access to the 20 Hours Early Childhood Education government subsidy for children between 3-5 years as well as WINZ childcare subsidies (including OSCAR) may be available.

Babysitting Services

Babysitters provide temporary childcare on an irregular basis. In New Zealand, babysitters tend to be friends, accommodating family members or neighbours, or the teenage children of friends and acquaintances. When any of these are not an option, babysitting services can provide a suitable babysitter and often at short notice.

As all children under the age of 14 years are required to be under adult supervision, babysitters must be at least 14 years of age.

In-home early Childhood Educators

Home-based education and care services involves an educator providing education and care for small groups of up to 4 young children in a home setting (theirs or the child’s) as part of a Ministry of Education funded and regulated home-based care service.

In-home educators provide all day or part day education and care. They may also provide emergency care.

A co-ordinator (who is a registered teacher) supports the work of the in-home educator. Some co-ordinators may help parents choose the right educator for their child and this person will support the child’s learning programme. The co-ordinator visits the home-based caregiver/educator regularly to check on the child’s safety and well-being and their learning progress.

Access to the 20 Hours Early Childhood Education government subsidy for children between 3-5 years as well as WINZ childcare subsidies (including OSCAR) is usually available.

Making A Choice

With such a variety of options, choosing appropriate childcare for your child can seem overwhelming. As a parent or caregiver, it is your responsibility to ensure that your child is safe and happy in a childcare environment that is fun, educational and nurturing. When it comes to choosing the best childcare for your child you need to go with the service that feels right for you, your child and your family.