How useful is an Au Pair for my Family {guest post}

How useful is an Au Pair for my Family

An au pair can be very useful for your family, and provides a cost effective alternative to nannies and childcare. Au pairs are particularly worth investigating if you and your partner are working full time, but don’t want to over-rely on childcare services for taking children to and from school, and for providing care when you can’t be at home. It’s important, then, to understand what an aupair does, how they compare to a nanny in terms of costs and responsibilities, and what specific benefits that they can provide for your  family.

What Is An Au Pair?

An au pair is typically a young, 18-27 person from a European country, and can be male or female. Unlike a nanny, who is a professional tasked with looking after your children and your home, an au pair is someone that lives with your family in exchange for helping out around the house and giving some light childcare. Au pairs usually stay with you for 18-24 months while completing a language course, and are expected to receive their own room, while working about 25-35 hours a week.

These hours are very flexible, though, and depend on what help you need, and how an au pair’s free time and study is divided throughout the week. There are also a few exceptions, with au pairs from Bulgaria and Romania only expected to work 25 hours a week. Au pairs receive around £70 a week for 25 hours of work, and £85 for 30 hours, while living rent free and eating meals with you. In this way, an au pair is cheaper than a salaried nanny, who will receive above the national minimum wage at different rates.

How Can Au Pairs Benefit Your Family?

An au pair effectively represents an extra pair of hands around the house, and someone that should be viewed as being part of the family, rather than hired help. Au pair duties include being expected to perform light housework, and to look after children without taking sole responsibility for anyone under the age of two. Duties can include preparing light meals, breakfasts, and lunches, as well as making children’s beds, ironing and washing clothes, and walking pets. An au pair with a car can also drive children to and from school in the morning, and to activities.

 Au pairs can also teach children about their language and culture, and can encourage them with activities. Male au pairs can be particularly good role models for young boys, and can take them out to sports events. While au pairs should not be given too much strenuous work, and should mostly focus on looking after children, arrangements can be flexible - an au pair that wants to can cook family meals and help out with larger projects. The aim of an au pair living with you is ultimately, however, to provide them with a cultural experience, and you with someone that can ease the burden of childcare and housekeeping. Au pairs can also create challenges, in this way, to deal with homesickness and any pressure they may be experiencing with their studies and their social lives. Going through a reputable au pair agency will help you to match up your family’s needs with the right au pair.


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