Many families in need of childcare hire a local nanny or enroll kids in a daycare center. But have you ever considered hosting an au pair? This personalized and affordable childcare option might offer the best of both worlds for your children. Rosalie Gennarelli, a coordinator with a national au pair placement agency, answers some common questions about au pairs in this sponsored post. Rosalie helps place au pairs from over a dozen countries in homes throughout the United States. Contact her at 201-400-7310 or email@example.com for more information!
Why might a family host an au pair instead of hiring a nanny or sending their child to daycare?
Thousands of families have decided to host an au pair instead of using a nanny or daycare. These are the top reasons:
- Affordability: Pay an average of $1600/month, regardless of family size
- Flexibility: Au pairs work up to 45 hours/week, and you get to decide when those hours are
- Cultural exchange: Expose your family to a new culture, and share your culture with your au pair
- In-home childcare: Benefit from the convenience of having childcare in your home. No need to rush to drop off or pick up kids each day, prepare bottles and lunches to take to daycare, etc.
- Fewer illnesses: Compared to children in daycare, children who are watched by an au pair will get sick less frequently.
How old are most au pairs? What kind of childcare experience do they have?
Au pairs are between 18 an 26 years old. They have experience babysitting, and some have worked in a daycare, kindergarten, camp or hospital. Many have already gone to university.
Is it expensive to host an au pair? How much can parents expect to pay on average?
An au pair is an affordable childcare option with an average cost of ~$400 per week, which includes agency fees and a stipend paid directly to your au pair.
What kind of screening does an agency do to ensure families' safety?
We do a complete criminal background check on both the au pair and host family to ensure everyone's safety. Our au pairs are also CPR and first aid certified.
Do parents get to choose the particular au pair they'd like? How does that process work?
Yes. We have a unique search and select system for families. Families can use filters to search for candidates that fit particular criteria. We also assign the family a personal matcher to help them in their search. We have au pairs from over 12 different countries, so you can choose candidates from particular countries. You can even search for specific qualities, like an au pair who drives, someone that can cook the children's meals, someone that likes to bake or is good at sports.
Families can interview au pairs via phone or Skype as often as they like. Putting in the time to think about your needs and interview candidates in-depth maximizes the chances of a great fit.
Are there particular types of families or situations for whom an au pair wouldn't be a good idea?
Families who need more than 45 hours of childcare/week would need some back up childcare since au pairs cannot work more than 45 hours. Also, au pairs are not housekeepers, so families who need help with vacuuming, laundry, cooking for parents, errands, etc, would not be able to use au pairs for these services. However, au pairs can cook the kids' meals, do the kids' laundry, and organize the kids' bedrooms/playrooms.
There are a number of agencies that place au pairs. How can parents tell if an agency is good?
Look at the agency's history - for example, we have been around for 25 years. A reputable agency should have a following of many satisfied clients. Talk to families who have worked with the agency or take a look at reviews.
Ask whether an agency has offices overseas and actually interviews au pairs in person. We do in-person interviews for all prospective au pairs, which helps ensure the quality of candidates.
Also, find out what kind of support host families will receive throughout the program. Who would you contact if there's a problem? Where are they located and how quickly will they respond? What is the agency's plan in case of conflict between the au pair and the family? We have a local childcare worker assigned to you so you have someone to contact at all times.