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What’s the Difference Between a Nanny and an Au Pair?

At mtime, a question we’re asked all the time is ‘what’s the difference between a nanny and an au pair?’

Both nannies and au pairs can bring value into your home and life – but there are an array of differences between them – with pros and cons to match.

If your&squo;re thinking about getting a couple of extra hands on board at home to take over some of life’s daily duties, then the next step will be to figure out what kind of help is most suitable for your family.

How can you choose whether a nanny or au pair is right for you? Does your family need another option entirely? Take a look at some of our points below, and you might find some clarity.

Nannies:

  • will likely be experienced and hold formal qualifications
  • will already have working rights
  • will be backed by their organisation (with insurance!)
  • can live in or out of your home
  • can vary in age
  • will have contracted hours
  • unrestricted employment contracts
  • are ready to hit the ground running
  • likely to have local driver’s license
  • could be subsidised by the government
  • household duties will be defined in their contract
  • will be trained in first aid
  • can provide structured activities
  • will have own life and interests outside of the family

Au pairs:

  • might not have any prior experience
  • may come from a foreign country specifically to help your family
  • want to learn about your home culture and language
  • need to be sponsored with an au pair visa
  • will live in your home
  • need to be paid the minimum wage and have living expenses deducted from this
  • must be between the ages of 18–30 for visa purposes
  • will live in your home so working hours might be blurred
  • are short term – usually 6–12 months
  • might take on studies and work around these hours
  • will be interviewed online and by phone but may not meet until they arrive
  • likely need training upon arriving
  • will have an international driver’s license, if any
  • are likely to interact organically (unstructured activities)
  • will be like an adopted family member who needs your support and will be involved with many of your family activities

Clearly – there are many differences between nannies and au pairs. Some major differences in outcomes stemming from each choice include:

A nanny will likely be experienced, formally qualified and be able to help with structured activities and educational content. She or he will likely speak your native language and have a local driver’s license. She or he will be able to take charge where necessary and provide adult supervision for your family.

An au pair provides interaction more like an older sibling would – a temporary family member. He or she will be learning with your children, will often enrol in language classes and depend on your family for support. An au pair can also exchange language in their native tongue – which could be a great opportunity for your kids to learn about another culture – or strengthen ties with your own family’s background.

Either way – both choices can provide a great deal of support, relief and value into your family’s home. Whilst a nanny can provide long term stability; an au pair can be a wonderful cultural experience for everyone involved.

Aside from these two traditional types, there’s another new option: a Moncierge. Today’s busy lifestyles call for a new kind of home assistant that can do it all; childcare, cooking, cleaning, housework and other family specific chores. That amazing person perfectly matched with your family to come in a few hours per week and give your family some much needed reset and recoup time. If you’re interested in learning more about having a home assistant specially suited to your family’s needs – read more here.

by Stephanie Kinstler - 2020 Jun 29