If you’re looking for flexible childcare, an au pair may be worth considering. Unlike daycares and nannies, au couples live with their families and can work up to 45 hours per week.
Au pairs are paid a weekly stipend in exchange for living with a host family, learning English, and teaching their children about their home country and culture. Au pair agencies have various program options to help you find the right fit for your family.
Bringing home an au pair is a costly undertaking. Typically, au couples receive room and board plus a weekly stipend. However, it’s essential to consider what other expenses your family will incur. You’ll likely want to provide your au pair with a phone, computer, car, and utilities. You’ll also need to pay for her classes and agency events.
In addition to these costs, your au pair will need food. You may also need to take her out to dinner or movies occasionally. Additionally, you must provide your au pair with the appropriate resources if your kids have any special needs. At Au Pair, for example, we work with families who have children with special needs, including autism, Down syndrome, ADD/ADHD, and epilepsy.
Raising a child is hard work. Sometimes, it feels like you never get a break. Hiring an au pair allows parents to reclaim some of their time. In addition, having an au pair can give your child a unique opportunity to learn about another culture and build friendships with someone who shares their interests. It can be a fun way to bring your family closer together! This is especially true for families that have young children.
A live-in au pair offers a flexible childcare option for many families. They can cook meals, clean, and help children with homework. They can also be a good source of companionship for children. This can free up time for parents to work, relax, or spend quality time with their kids. Au pairs typically stay with their host families for a year. While this can seem like a long commitment, it also provides security and consistency for your family.
Moreover, an au pair cost, agency fees, and airfare can be expensive upfront, but they are generally cheaper than nannies or daycare centers. The up-front costs also vary by agency. Some agencies offer one-on-one matching, which can help you find an au pair who fits your family.
Once you’ve found a match, discuss expectations with your au pair. For example, ask her about the school system in her country and what she expects from her job with her family. In addition, make sure you agree on the responsibilities of your family. This may include a set amount of free time each month and your family’s rules for discipline.
Many families seek a caregiver to help them with their children and offer a cultural experience. Au pairs do just that. An au pair joins the family for a year in exchange for room and board, a weekly stipend, and the opportunity to attend classes.
Families will have to pay for their au pair’s education and any associated fees, but that’s typically at most per semester. Au pairs must fulfill six semester hours of college-level coursework in any subject. They may also attend educational conferences hosted by their au pair program.
Au pairs are expected to participate in family activities like hiking, rollerblading, beach trips, and holiday festivities. They must also be given a weekend off once a month. Families will pay their au pair’s travel expenses for those excursions.
While many au pairs do a superb job balancing their work and family life, there are bad apples in every business, including daycares and preschools. News reports and nonprofit investigations that compare au pairs’ treatment to slavery can sour some people’s warm and fuzzy feelings about their choice to hire one. Nevertheless, an au pair can be the best option for parents who need someone to care for their kids while at work or busy with other commitments.
When a family plans to travel, discussing arrangements in advance is essential. Your au pair may need to pay for her flights and is responsible for all meals while traveling. Depending on the country of origin, it can be cost-prohibitive for an au pair to travel for a week or more.
If your au pair is going on vacation with the family in a working capacity to continue child care, her room and board requirements must still be met, and she should continue to receive her weekly stipend. If she’s taking the trip as a personal vacation, different rules apply, and she may be able to use her vacation time for some of the expenses.
Be sure to discuss all costs involved in a potential match, including fees for the au pair, her passport application, and other required documents. Also, learn how long a contract lasts and what essential responsibilities you must take on as a host family. If an au pair isn’t a good fit, it’s possible to break the match and have her return to her home country. However, this is often a costly proposition for the family and will require some planning. Au pairs can be an excellent addition to a family, but it’s essential to understand the costs involved before you hire one.