Childcare Options: Advantages and Disadvantages in Hiring an Au Pair

Childcare Options: Advantages and Disadvantages in Hiring an Au Pair

by Martha Scully

Each child care option has it's advantages and disadvantages, and each family should evaluate their individual needs and determine what is best for their family.

An au pair is unmarried without children and usually aged 18 to 29. Generally, they work for a short term period and live with the family. If its the right fit, some become like an extended family a big sister to the children. 

Why would someone become an au pair?

  • Travel and see other parts of their country/the world
  • Learn and/or improve a second language
  • Learn about a new culture
  • Gain valuable child care experience

Hiring an au pair has it's advantages:

  • An honorary member of the family
  • Costs less than a nanny
  • Brings a different language and/or culture into the home
  • Cares for children and helps out around the house

However, an au pair isn't the right choice for all families. She would expect to be included in meals with the family and any events and outings. Additionally, while the cost may be less, she would also receive free room and board in exchange for the experience.

A few disadvantages to hiring an au pair:

  • Can't meet them in person in advance if they come from another country
  • Less privacy for the family
  • Less experience, therefore more training by the parent
  • May have to deal with some young behaviours, such as staying out late with friends or unable to work becuase she's sick

Hiring an au pair can be an enriching experience for a family with young children, but it's not for everyone. Have you hired an au pair before?

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About the Author
Martha Scully
Martha is the founder of 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.