Thinking about hiring an au pair?
Parents with young kids need more than just a babysitter…
Oftentimes, a full-time, live-in nanny to help with the kids and household responsibilities sounds amazing. But a lotta families rule it out because of the cost.
But it’s worth taking a look at in-depth and considering the realities.
Cause with an au pair, you get so much more than childcare. And there are so many differences between an au pair vs. a nanny.
In this post, we dive into 10 reasons to hire an au pair. (Check out this post if you’re asking yourself “what is an au pair?“).
Let’s dive in!
1. Having An Au Pair Is Super Convenient
One of the awesome things about having an au pair is that you have the flexibility to choose when they work and what their responsibilities are!
For example, if you arrange it so, you don’t have to worry about finding a babysitter for your kids or finding a date night for yourselves. You can simply hire your au pair and it may be easier to do that than asking your nanny to work more.
It’s all about flexibility, one of the differences between an au pair and a nanny.
Plus, au pairs can help with anything from grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up after meals to taking care of your children when you’re at work.
Now, they are not only there to help with chores around the house. But under the program, you can ask them to have responsibilities beyond childcare.
You’re in the driver’s seat:
- What they should be doing workwise
- How much they should be earning
- What their schedule should look like
- Whether they need training in any skills that the two of you decide are important.
2. Au Pairs Can Be More Affordable Than Other Options
The good news here is that the au pair program offers many benefits for both you and the au pair.
The less good news is this makes au pairs high in demand.
If you have more than one kid, an au pair might be more affordable than daycare for two kids.
Also, if you live in a high-cost area, an au pair might be more affordable than a nanny or daycare center.
But the awesome thing about hosting an au pair is the cultural exchange you gain experience…
3. Give Your Kids A Diverse And Global Experience
Hosting an au pair is a great way to learn about another culture and get cross-cultural insights. Many families choose to host au pairs for this reason.
If you are a family looking for an au pair, you will need to make sure that you have the time and resources to spend on them.
After all, hosting an au pair means adding another family member to your household.
You’ll be paying for more than just the au pair stipend. Other expenses include of course food, car insurance, heating and water bills, and a cell phone (if you offer it).
But it’s not just about the sticker costs and expenses…
By hosting an au pair, you’ll have firsthand insight into another culture and perspective, and the millions of ways they look at the world differently.
4. Learn About Another Language
Learning a new language is not easy. And if you’re in the phase of having kids it’s even tougher.
But since an au pair lives with you, it’s a great way for you and your kids to learn another language.
Now, let’s say you’re not trying to learn another language…
It can still be fun to learn about the cultural perspective that’s reflected in the language.
Our au pair was from Brazil. While we don’t speak Portuguese, we did learn quite a few words and phrases from her!
Plus, she let our kiddos watch some Brazilian cartoons in the mornings, which they loved.
And our son learned how to count to 10 in Portuguese!
So if you’re looking to introduce your kids to a language other than English, hosting an au pair is a great start.
5. Finally Find Trustworthy Childcare
Finding trustworthy childcare can be difficult!
One question, in particular, weighs on parents’ minds:
How do you know if the person who is watching your children is the right fit?
One way to find out if they’ll be trustworthy is to build a relationship with them and know that you can trust them. With an au pair, you build this relationship on a deep level.
No one wants to leave their children with a stranger they’ve met for the first time. It is natural to be hesitant and want someone you can trust to take care of your children.
As long as you develop a positive working relationship, hosting an au pair addresses these challenges!
6. Make International Friends
Hosting an au pair is a way to travel abroad and learn a new language in a safe environment – without leaving the house.
And hosting an au pair doesn’t mean you’ll only get to know your au pair.
In our experience, we got to know her parents and family too! We feel like we have relatives in Brazil now. And while we haven’t been to Brazil yet because of the pandemic, we plan to someday!
7. Get Some Support Around The House
Since you can give them some basic duties beyond childcare, au pairs can be a fantastic help with basic household tasks.
You’re juggling work and managing a household, plus managing your au pair and your kids.
Your au pair meanwhile has less to focus on all that, and so will have more mental energy to help with small tasks.
An amazing au pair can help you provide great childcare and help with a few other duties.
8. Less Complicated Than A Nanny
We can speak to this because we’ve had both.
Last year we had an au pair and this year we’re doing a nanny share.
Having a nanny may sound like a great idea at first. But when it comes to the logistics of it all, managing a nanny is much more complicated than hosting an au pair.
With a nanny you have to manage multiple factors to juggle such as their schedule, hours per week, pay, and any other benefits you offer them.
You can avoid a lot of that logistical and administrative headaches by hosting an au pair.
With an au pair, you’ll have to navigate cross-cultural challenges that you wouldn’t deal with if you have a nanny, and the finances are more straightforward.
9. Discover International Cuisine
Having an au pair over allows you to explore new cultures, mix with other people, and try different foods.
The opportunity to experience a different culture is one of the biggest benefits of hosting an au pair.
The simple experience of sharing meals can become a conduit for sharing culture.
In our year with our au pair from Brazil, we spent countless hours talking about cultural differences, norms, and politics at the dinner table with our au pair.
So if you love learning about other cultures, you’ll LOVE this part of the au pair experience.
Not only will they teach you about their own country’s cuisine, but you’ll also have the chance to taste new foods and drinks.
Your au pair can help your family discover dishes your local restaurant doesn’t offer.
10. Streamlined Finances
Hosting an au pair can be less expensive than hiring a nanny.
With a nanny, you have to think about the pay you’re offering related to the local labor market, the local labor supply, your nanny’s availability, and more…
It can be a real headache.
With an au pair? You don’t have to think about ANY of these things.
And, as we’ve mentioned, Au Pairs offer the opportunity to experience another culture.
The Au Pair program is a program of the U.S. Department of State. Au Pairs come to the U.S. on a J-1 visa which has certain education requirements and work limitations. That means there’s more structure to the finances and less work you have to do to negotiate things out.
The structured nature of the program frees you up with the logistics of the program because it reduces the things you have to think about.
That’s win-win, and less stress for you!
In conclusion, there are a lot of benefits to hiring an au pair!
If you’re looking for a live-in nanny, it might be tempting to get an au pair instead.
Depending on where you live, and what the local childcare market looks like, an au pair may be less expensive and less logistically complicated than a nanny.
There are a lot of things to keep in mind as you search for childcare.
But our biggest takeaway is this:
We’re so glad we hired an au pair! Simply put, it was awesome.