The au pair program is a combination of childcare plus cultural exchange that offers your family a flexible, affordable childcare option. Your au pair lives with you as a member of your family for one year with the option to extend an additional 6 to 12 months.
Au pairs are 18 - 26 years old, can speak English, enjoy children and have previous childcare experience. They can assist your family with light household duties, such as preparing the childrens' meals, picking up after the children, doing their laundry, and cleaning their rooms. Au pairs can also take the kids to appointments, activities, and school as well as teach them about their culture and their language.
Au pairs work up to 45 hours per week, and up to 10 hours per day. They can do split shifts that will allow them to get the kids off to school in the morning, have off in the middle of the day, and back on when the children return home from school. Au pairs can also help out on 3 weekends per month and give the parents time to go out in the evenings.
Why is an au pair different from a nanny?
Au pair are here on a J1 Visa, so there is a limit to the number of hours they can work and a minimum amount they can be paid. However, in my experience, they have more flexibility in the hours the can work versus the hours that most nannies are willing to work. It can be difficult to find a nanny who will do a split shift which is needed because of school, whereas it is an easy solution with an au pair.
Nannies generally want more pay for more children; the au pair stipend stays the same regardless of the number of children in your family.
Nannies are considered employees according to the IRS, and families, as employers, are required to do withholdings, pay and file their employer wages with the IRS on a regular basis. Au pairs get a stipend and families do not have to worry about employer filings according to the government.
What do I need to be a host family?
Host families are required to be US Citizens, have a private bedroom available for the au pair, speak English, and be interested in cultural exchange.
The fee for an au pair is approximately $320 per week. Part of this fee is paid up front to the agency that sponsor the visa, and the remainder is paid to the au pair in a weekly stipend.
Why should I consider an au pair?
I have had au pairs from Germany, Czech Republic, and Peru living and working in my home. The experience with each of the au pairs has been both unique and wonderful. They have shared their holidays, languages, and foods with our family. We still keep in touch with them and I can't wait to visit them in their country someday when my daughter is old enough.
Au pairs are able to bring part of their culture into your home and help your children learn about the world. It is an experience much more than just childcare, it is about giving your child a key to the world. In this day and age, when business, science, and medicine have all gone International, providing your child with those worldwide connections, language skills, and contacts gives them such a head start for their future.
Where can I get more information?
There is very specific information in this site to help you with the decision making process, welcoming an au pair into your home, and then having a fun year with your au pair. You can also consider me a resource for your family and I would love to help you find the right childcare solution for your family. My number is 757-499-3469.