What is an Au Pair?

Since I’ve been more actively promoting this blog, a couple of people on Facebook asked me what an au pair is. And it never actually occurred to me that people might not know what this job entails. Now, people with small children, this is where you should start paying attention. Because getting an au pair will make your life so much easier.

Definition of “au pair”

Generally speaking, an au pair is a person from a different country (usually between eighteen and thirty) who lives with a family in exchange for childcare. There’s usually also some light housework involved.

The term “au pair” is French and means “by mutual agreement.” Au pairs receive pocket money and live with their host family for free. They are treated as a member of the family. The allowance and amount of working hours are different in every country and depend on the age of the children. The main objective of an au pair placement is a cultural exchange. Au pairs get the chance to improve their language skills and gain insight into the culture, language and lifestyle of the country. At the same time, they teach the host family about the habits and customs of their own country.

Au pairs are basically like an older brother or sister who takes on the responsibility of looking after your children.

What’s the difference between an au pair and a nanny?

People often think that being an au pair is the same thing as being a nanny. It’s not. In both cases, the person in question looks after children. But that’s also where all similarities end.

Au pair:

  • receive pocket money
  • live in the same house as the host family
  • are often from a foreign country
  • more like an older sister/brother
  • no regulated working hours

Nanny:

  • paid a salary that at least matches the minimum wage of a country
  • fully-qualified childminders
  • have their own house
  • no cultural exchange
  • working hours regulated by the labour law

Hope this was helpful! If you have any other questions about what an au pair is, please comment below!

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17 Comments

  1. Aditi
    13 September 2018 / 4:20 am

    I really had no idea of this concept. Sounds very new to me. I looked it up and researched a little about it too. Fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Megan
    12 September 2018 / 5:23 am

    Thank you for sharing, I’ve never heard of this and it’s great to know! This sounds pretty ideal 🙂

  3. Marie Ndiaye
    12 September 2018 / 5:10 am

    My boss had an au pair from South Africa for his little girl a few years ago and it was really cool to meet this young woman and learn about her culture. If I had the funds, I’d do the same for my kids.

  4. 12 September 2018 / 2:30 am

    I think taking a position as an au pair is an excellent way for a young person to experience family life in another country.

  5. 12 September 2018 / 12:09 am

    Au pairs are of great help to all parents. I wish I had one when my son was smaller.

  6. 11 September 2018 / 11:23 pm

    I have a friend with an au pair and it seems like such a mutually beneficial situation. I think so much of the experience is dependent on finding a good match.

  7. 11 September 2018 / 9:44 pm

    I have always been interested in being an au pair as it sounds like a great experience.

  8. 11 September 2018 / 8:22 pm

    My aunt had an au pair for a while. It was definitely different than having a nanny.

  9. 11 September 2018 / 6:31 pm

    Thank you for clarifying between the two as I didn’t know au pairs were a thing! You learn something new everyday!

  10. Rachael Eberhardt
    11 September 2018 / 5:37 pm

    I have never know about this and thanks to your for sharing this and for informing us the differences of these two jobs.

  11. Geraline Batarra
    11 September 2018 / 4:37 pm

    This is such a simple post but very informative and even I didn’t know about it, thanks for sharing this and making us understand this matter.

  12. ashleynicolerice
    11 September 2018 / 3:40 pm

    Oh wow! I definitely was asking that same question! I’ve never heard of Au pair before!! Thank you for sharing this!!

  13. thetripwishlist
    11 September 2018 / 3:22 pm

    This is a great way to learn about a different culture as well as to learn a language. Thanks for pointing out the differences between au pair and nanny.

  14. 11 September 2018 / 2:28 pm

    Being an Au Pair sounds like a nice job especially if you work for a family you really like!

  15. Alexis
    11 September 2018 / 1:13 pm

    Au pairs are great if you can find one that is a good match for your family and personality. I wish we had the space in our home to use an au pair when our children were younger.

  16. scrapbookadventures365
    10 September 2018 / 9:15 pm

    I didnt really know the difference before so I read this with interest. I’m not sure which one I would prefer to be!

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