The relationship between an au pair and their host family is a symbiotic one; both receive great benefits from the arrangement. No matter the size or shape of a family, all parents can agree there are times when they could use a little bit of extra help: a single mother needing someone to watch her kids while she’s at work, two parents with four kids who can’t seem to wrangle them all, a family who would like to expand their family for their only child – the possibilities are endless.
The basic responsibility of an au pair is to help their host family with their daily routine as well as childcare. While the au pair tidies up, makes dinner, and picks the kids up from school, the host family has that much extra time to work on things they need to get done.
Far cheaper than hiring a live-in nanny
In addition, hosting an au pair can be much cheaper than hiring a live-in nanny or taking children to daycare. While au pairs make $250 or less a week, a nanny can run from $300 to $800 a week, depending on experience. Occasionally nannies can set rigid schedules as well, while an au pair tends to be fairly adaptable.
In most exchanges the au pair and the host family work together to come up with a list of responsibilities at the beginning of the program. However, because the au pair lives in-home with the host family, schedules are flexible and easily changeable. If an unexpected meeting comes up at work, the au pair is already there to watch the kids.
An au pair isn’t just an extra set of hands around the house. They become a part of the family, bonding with the parents and children they are living with. The au pair becomes like an older brother or sister to play with, trust, and love. Such as when hosting an exchange student, hiring an au pair gives a host family the opportunity to learn about another culture and another language. This is especially beneficial to children who don’t have much experience with cultures beyond their own.
Au pair work brings together families and young adults who are interested in broadening their horizons. There are clear benefits for both parties. It is important to do your research whether you are interested in becoming an au pair, or hiring one, in order to make the most out of your relationship. Invest the time necessary to find the perfect fit for you. There’s a whole world out there to explore!