The Advantages and Disadvantages to Hiring an Au Pair
Nanny

The Advantages and Disadvantages to Hiring an Au Pair

by Martha Scully

Every childcare option has its advantages and disadvantages. This is why each family should evaluate their individual needs and determine what is best for their family before deciding on what type of childcare is the right fit.


Though there are many options available: daycare, babysitters, nannies, etc.. This article is here to tell you about one option in particular: an au pair.


So what is an au pair you may ask? An au pair is typically a young woman from abroad who is looking to offer assistance with housework and childcare in exchange for room and board.


Generally, they work on fixed contracts and live with the family in their home during their time abroad. More often than not, au pairs are between the ages of 18 and 29 and are using the experience to travel to a new country before they settle down themselves.


There are many drawing points to becoming an au pair, but here are just a few key reasons why someone might want to take on this opportunity:


  • they can travel and see other parts of their country or the world
  • they can learn a new language or improve their skills in one they already speak
  • they are immersed in a new culture and can explore different walks of life
  • they get to meet new people
  • they can gain valuable childcare experience


Hiring an au pair also has its advantages:


  • you can welcome in an honorary member of the family
  • they cost less than a nanny
  • they often bring a different language and culture into the home
  • they provide care for your children and help out around the house


However, hiring an au pair isn't always the right choice for every family. Though there are many positives, there are also a few drawbacks that should be considered:


  • you would be required to provide them with room and board
  • they would expect to be included in meals and family outings
  • if they are coming to you from a different country, you likely won't be able to meet them in person before they come out to work for you
  • having another person in your home means you'll have less privacy
  • as au pairs are typically younger, they may not have extensive childcare experience
  • their younger age may result in some behaviour issues, such as staying out late


Hiring an au pair can be an enriching experience for a family with young children, but it's not for everyone. If you're considering hiring an au pair for your family, ensure that you understand precisely what you're getting into before you leap. Knowing the pros and cons can help inform your decisions so you can make the right choice for your family.


This article was originally published in July 2014, but has since been revised to include more current information.


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About the Author
Martha Scully
Martha is the founder of CanadianNanny.ca. Martha has been featured as a Child Care Expert in hundreds of publications across Canada including The Globe and Mail, CBC, Today's Parent and The National Post, She lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.