Is an Au Pair Superior for Your Family than a Regular Nanny?

Today we have another guest blogger, Rachel Thomas.  The decision of who will care for the children is not an easy one. Rachel explains her view on some differences between a nanny and an au pair.

The main difference between an Au Pair and a regular nanny is that the au pair is usually a foreign individual who exchanges childcare and possibly minor house cleaning for room and board. In essence, it’s like a foreign exchange program for the workforce. While there are similarities between a nanny and an au pair, there may be some differences that can change the way you view one over the other.Fan
1. Different Requirements – Generally, au pairs are foreign women under the age of 30 and must be authorized to care for children by the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. At least, that is what is required for being an au pair in the United States. Each country is different with their qualifications. Basically, anyone can be a nanny depending on the requirements of the agency or those who hire a person privately. However, most nanny agencies will require a background in child development and a form of medical expertise.2014

2. Family or Not? – Au pairs are usually treated as an extended family member as they accompany you on outings and other family functions. A nanny can be treated the same way as well, but don’t require the invitation in order to do their job. From this aspect, the nannies presence is more of a professional one as he or she is paid to do a job rather than accompany the family.

3. Longevity – Although the requirements differ with each host country, an au pair is only able to stay with the family for a certain amount of time. This could be as little as 12 months at a time. A nanny can remain employed by a family for as long as the help is needed or until the nanny resigns. In either case, emotional bonds can develop between the family and the caregiver. However, it may be harder to give up an au pair over the nanny for the au pair’s purpose is to become a part of the family whereas the nanny is performing a job as an Bucks Conty 1

4. Linguistics – In some cases, a language barrier may be present when including an au pair into the family. Although they may have a basic working knowledge of the native tongue, the language differences could still pose as a wall that needs to be broken down. Nannies will nearly always speak fluently as they are usually hired on as local employees.

5. Paycheck – When determining pay, au pairs are usually more inexpensive to bring into the home than a nanny. Depending on the agency or the private contract, a nanny can be paid from $12 per hour and up for a 12 hour shift per day. While this amount is estimated due to the cost of living in any given area, au pairs are given the means to live comfortably and a weekly allowance for their own uses. Even if the  additional person to your budget raises the costs within the home, the au pair is still usually far more inexpensive to maintain than a nanny.aupair and kids

What it truly boils down to is how you personally want to conduct your family. An au pair can bring cultural diversity and could easily bond with the family on an emotional level. The nanny can grow to “family member status” over time, but is purposely hired on as nothing more than an employee. Do you save money by bringing someone into your home to help with the children, or do you treat the situation as a job?

Author Bio:

Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for babysitting. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to @


An Au Pair and family privacy.

From an Au Pair mom.

(Anna T., a host mother and an author of articles about hosting an au pair: How to hire an au pairHow to save money on an au pair programHow to welcome your new au pair.)

Will I be able to relax and enjoy myself at home with another adult hanging around all the time?

Different families have different needs for privacy, and different needs of socialization in their own home. Au pairs also have different expectations of living with an american family during their time here – some look forward to nightly family dinners, some look forward to daily study sessions in their own room, outings to the gym or coffee shop in their free time, and everything in between.

When just starting out with the au pair program, sometimes it is difficult for a family to decide what kind of time they want to commit to spending with their au pair in her free time. Often there is a level of flexibility – I easily adjust to different needs of our different au pairs, I enjoy chatting up a storm at times, as well as I understand their need for “me” time outside the home or inside their rooms. The only type I found hard to live with was a girl who disappeared into her room the second her shift was over, and never came out on weekends, even when she was home. But this is an extreme, and those kinds of personalities don’t usually work well with the au pair program.

When a family has an idea of their ideal relationship with an au pair, they can look for a candidate that shares those expectations during the matching process. Sometimes the level of interaction between the family and an au pair depends on the personalities involved, and in a great personality match between the family and an au pair, everything just works out.

From my experience, au pairs never made me feel like I was giving up privacy in order to host them. I enjoyed having them around, and they were not around too much during their free time.

Most au pairs are excited to explore America; they make new friends quickly, and don’t spend most of their free time hanging out at home.  The structure of the au pair program, with local au pair clusters and regular mandated meetings, is perfect for creating an instant social circle and support network for a new au pair.

Matching with a good driver and giving an au pair access to a car during her free time gives her the necessary freedom of movement in most suburban areas, so she doesn’t depend on her friends or host family to for transportation. Selecting an au pair who is not timid, curious about the world, and an extravert is not only good for her adjustment to the USA, but also makes her less dependent on her host family for her life outside work.

Sometimes a layout of the home allows to have the au pair’s bedroom in a separate area.

It is also important to make the au pair feel at home in her room, and give her everything she might need, such as a computer with a fast internet connection to talk to her family at home, a phone, a TV set.

And finally, good communication helps solve most problems in the au pair and host family relationship, including understanding the balance of togetherness comfortable for both the family and the au pair. If inviting an au pair to the family function on her day off, it is important to communicate that her presence is truly welcome. If an au pair wants to come along when the family would rather spend the time just together, it is important to explain this need to her.

An Au Pair for a single parent.

Have you ever watched the movie TRADING MOM?

The movie is about a single mom, who is raising three kids alone and makes a serious effort to balance love and discipline. Her three  children, Elizabeth, Jeremy and Harry, commit  the riot act by their hard-working mom. The movie has a happy end but we see how struggle single mom alone  with three energetic kids. What is definitely not easy!

According the Census more than a quarter of America’s children live with one parent.

Many single families choose hosting an Au Pair because they need the second adult in the house, the mature partner who they can trust. Together they are working as a team raising children and having  fun as a family.

Being an Au Pair for a single parent is much different.  Since one parent is missing,  the Au Pair turns out to be an integral member of the family.

The Au pair becomes a responsible adult and a positive role model for the kids. She inspires and teaches  kids through her continual positive attitude and actions every moment – when she is working or having fun with the family.

An Au Pair gives parent some free time away from the kids knowing they are with someone they are safe and comfortable. They have an opportunity to relax, have a date and free time to go to the gym.

Here what is a single mom from my group said:

“My Au pair became a valued addition to my family. It is not easy to be a single parent, but with my Au Pair’s help, I feel more confident and secure.  I continue to repeat again and again to my Au Pair- thank you for being part of my family.”

Please take a look at Go Au Pair Agency new website.  We have a new logo, new colors, and a new name spelling!

Au Pairs, lets make your host mom smile :-)

Hello, everyone!

This is again me, Irina Kopylova, an Au Pair for goAUPAIR, who lives with the most wonderful host family.

Thank you again to my host family for the best surprise ever – nominating me for the IAPA Au Pair of the Year 2011 Award.

By the way, we promised to keep you updated about our Russian studies and fun times too!!! Me and my little friends Max, Ethan and James keep creating little masterpieces…so this time we’ve decided to make a surprise for our mommy and wanted her to know

that we love her, we appreciate her and the boys feel so blessed that she is their mother, who cares so deeply and gives so much, always cheers and supports, she is going to be forever in our hearts! We love you, mommy!

We were thinking about, what can we create…what would be so interesting and yummy at the same time?!  The Valentine ‘s Day came and we got an idea – our mommy loves flowers…we love fruits…and mommy would love to get a bucket of hand made fruit flowers!
We would love to share with all of you our creativity, how to make a mommy smile and a little bit happier! I hope you will enjoy our movie and smile with us!

Thanks to my Local Area Representative and my friend Madian, who helped us to make the movie and create the bucket!

With love, Irina Kopylova, Max, Ethan and James

PS: think about your host mother, what does she like, and make a little surprise for her too!!!

She would be definitely happy to get something from you proving your love to her and you will make her smile!

Lucky Au Pair.

By Karen Hernandez, the Au Pair from goAUPAIR

I have no doubt Laura is the best Au Pair. She is an exceptional woman; she is kind, friendly and extremely talented!  She is dedicated in her work. Her love for William and Helena makes her a remarkable girl. I have seen the way Laura teaches them and protects them, she takes good care of them. Laura is more than a babysitter for children; they see her as a big sister. Her host family loves her, respects and appreciates the work she does for them.

I am very glad to say Laura is my best friend. She’s a smart girl. Laura is always ready to help the person who needs it. Laura gives all of her without asking anything in return. I admire her for that, despite her age she is a very mature girl, she is a hardworking woman, she is honest and she loves her host family in the same way they love her.

Laura is my best friend, she is my sister, she is my family, she is my support, and she is my guardian angel.  She has shown me her love in many ways that I don’t know how to say thank you.

Laura has become an essential part of my life. I spent with her best moments: with her many of us have laughed, cried, learned and sung. I am very proud of everything she has accomplished.
I can only say Laura deserves to be the best Au Pair, she is a wonderful woman and I would vote for her now and other thousands of times! I love her with all my heart.

My friend you don’t need luck, you are lucky already!

I agree with Laura’s friend Karen, Laura is very lucky to have so many friends and families who love and support her.  Please read many comments from Laura’s family and friends that she really deserves for her hard work, dedication to her host family and love for her host children.

Lucky You, Laura!

Au Pairs from Philadelphia and NJ from goAUPAIR blog. Please vote!

Dear Readers,

goAUPAIR Philadelphia blog is participating in the third annual Top 100 International Exchange and Experience Blogs 2011 (IX11) competition.

If you like goAUPAIR Philadelphia blog,

please vote!

search for goAUPAIR Philadelphia Au Pairs and Host Families

IX11 is about giving visibility to the bloggers who live an international experience, be it a high-school exchange, a student exchange, as an Au-Pair, a social year abroad, as an expat, as a host family, traveling around the world etc.

Please come back and read about the Au Pairs and Host Families from goAUPAIR agency in Philadelphia, our events, an Au Pair’s 2011 resolutions, Au Pair Year Diary as well as watch movies about Aupairs classes and nomination. Three goAUPAIR Host Families from Philadelphia nominated their Au Pairs for the IAPA Au Pair of the Year Award. Even though we don’t know who will win in nomination yet, all three our nominators, Karla Endres from South Africa, Laura Merchan from Colombia, and Irina Kopylova from Russia have already won  by admiration and appreciation that their their families and friends felt and wrote in the comments.

We are all happy to share our amazing experience of being part of goAUPAIR family! Welcome to our world!

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