Are au pairs a good idea?
If you’ve read our blog before, you know we have hosted an au pair and hired a nanny locally.
So you know we have experience with both.
And, we’ve also sent our kids to local daycares.
Here’s the reality:
Modern childcare options can be stressful and challenging to navigate.
But since we’ve had a variety of experiences, we want to answer this question.
In this post, you’ll discover 5 reasons we say au pairs are a good idea.
5 Reasons Au Pairs Are A Good Idea
When you’re thinking about hosting an au pair, there are a lot of pros and cons to consider.
Things like whether your family wants to have a new “family member” live with you, experience cultural exchange, and navigate language differences.
But it’s no secret where we stand:
#1 The Advantages Outweigh The Disadvantages
In our post on the pros and cons of an au pair, we go into a lot of depth that we won’t cover again here.
But the bottom line?
At the end of the day (in our opinion), the advantages outweigh the differences with an au pair.
It’s a convergence of factors. And in our opinion, these are most helpful for families where both parents work – cause that’s what we do.
In particular, with an au pair, you’ll see several advantages over a daycare or nanny.
- not having to wait for them to arrive in the morning
- less hassle dealing with taxes and expenses
- greater appreciation for the au pair opportunity you’re helping them have
- an opportunity to learn about another culture
And more. Simply put, even if you have to rematch, you’re not going to get any of these things with a nanny.
You’ll be an employer and have an employee. And while that can be a very positive experience too, it’s simply not the same as having an au pair.
#2 Hosting An Au Pair Helps America (And Your Kids)
Now, you might be scratching your head at this one.
But hear us out:
In the global age of interconnectedness, the next generation(s) will need to have an international perspective more than ever before.
Whether or not you agree with the trend…
The reality is the world is becoming more interconnected than ever before.
And that brings us to the au pair program. Au pairs fall under a category of visa called “exchange visitors.”
In short, exchange visitors are participants in various programs of the U.S. Department of State that are designed to promote cultural exchange.
Why? Because having an awareness and understanding of other cultures is more important than ever before.
And that brings us to your kids: Hosting an au pair is an excellent way to help them learn about other cultures from a young age.
And that connection brings us to number three:
#3 You Make Lifelong Connections Across The Ocean
There are two types of host families when it comes to cultural exchange:
Those who keep in touch with their au pairs…
And those who don’t.
Those who do keep in touch will see all sorts of benefits to it.
Keeping a lifelong friendship, having an “extended family,” and keeping your children connected to another culture as they grow older.
In our view?
Those benefits far outweigh not keeping in touch.
#4 It’s An Opportunity For Personal Growth And Development Through Cultural Exchange
We talk about this quite a bit more in our complete post on the pros and cons of an au pair…
But it’s worth mentioning again:
Hosting an au pair is the easiest way for a host family to experience another culture.
You’ll get to learn all about another country, different foods, and the history and culture of your au pair’s home country…
Without leaving the house.
If you like learning about other countries and cultures, that’s simply the icing on top!
Last but not least:
#5 It’s An Amazing Solution To Finding Childcare
The Department of State website has a ton of useful information about the au pair program.
One statement stood out to us:
“hosts receive reliable and responsible childcare from individuals who become part of the family”U.S. Department of State website
Our favorite part of this is the emphasis on:
- Become a part of the family
Because that was our experience for sure.
Our au pair was from Brazil, was very mature, responsible, and caring, and became a part of the family.
We still keep in touch with her today! She moved to California and is going to college.
But during her stay with us, she was an amazing resource, and a fantastic way to manage childcare.
As long as you do a good job to pick the right au pair agency and do a thorough screening and “hiring” process – you too can host an au pair that will be amazing for your family.
Before You Go
If you’re still thinking about whether an au pair is a good fit for your family…
We’ve got you covered:
Check out our post 25 Top Differences Between An Au Pair vs Nanny
After reading these articles, you’ll find you have a much better understanding of au pairs and will be able to decide if hosting one is right for you!