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Frequently, parents require the assistance of someone to help them take care of their children. There are several childcare choices – extended family members (grandparents), nannies, or day care centres. However, many families are considering another option, an au pair.

Au Pair

The French term au pair means “on par,” indicating the role these individuals play. They serve as another member of the family, assuming both the responsibilities and benefits of your family’s life. Most au pairs are young – between the ages of 18 and 26. Generally speaking, they contract for one year and live with a family in another country, helping with child care and other household tasks. If you are looking for care for your children, you might be asking the questions, “What’s it like having an au pair?

Modern life can be hectic for a family. School, after school activities, and business trips for the parents cause all the family members to go in different directions frequently. Having an au pair can help ease the stress as you have another adult in the household assuming the responsibility for child rearing. Paediatricians agree that in-home child care is the best option for children and an au pair provides this experience.

Some of the advantages of having an au pair are as follows:

  • An au pair provides flexible childcare in the home where children are secure and comfortable.
  • Your children get concentrated attention from someone who works only for you.
  • Generally speaking, an au pair is not as expensive as a nanny or childcare.
  • Your au pair can stick to a regular routine, making your family’s schedule easier to arrange.
  • Your au pair can help you with meal, bath, and bed times.
  • Your au pair will help with child-related chores such as cleaning, bed changing, and laundry.
  • Most au pairs are from another country, so you and your children will learn about another culture.

An au pair is not a servant. Although his or her role is to help care for children, they have a life of their own, often going to school to further their education. It is important to set a schedule of when you need your au pair’s presence. This should include days off when your au pair can pursue their own interests.

If you are considering an au pair, there are some things you can do to make the process easier:

  • Seek out advice from other families who have used an au pair.
  • Have a list of specifics you expect from your au pair when you interview them.
  • Make sure your au pair not only understands your expectations, but also any house rules.

Remember that it may take a while for you and your family to get to know your au pair and get them settled into your family life and routine. It helps if you make an extra effort initially to make them feel welcome.

Frequently au pairs form lasting relationships with the families they serve. Living every day in your home creates a bond that lasts long after they leave. Truly, having an au pair can be a special experience for everyone involved.



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