The quest for the perfect childcare solution can be both exciting and daunting! So many Australian families are discovering the unique benefits of welcoming an au pair into their homes. Find out why!
What is an au pair?
The term ‘au pair’ is a French phrase that translates to ‘on par’ or ‘equal to’, reflecting the idea of a mutually beneficial relationship between the au pair and the host family.
An au pair is a young single person, typically between the ages of 18 and 30, who travels to a foreign country to live with a host family and assist with childcare and light household duties in exchange for room, board, and cultural exchange.
In Australia, the majority of au pairs typically hold a 12-month visa, so most placements being 6 months. This duration provides ample time for the au pair to explore and immerse themselves in the Australian experience.
If you’re on the fence about childcare options, read on to explore 8 wonderful reasons why hosting an au pair could be the perfect fit for your family, plus some handy tips to help you get started in finding one.
1. Cultural exchange
Hosting an au pair brings the world to your doorstep. Your family has the opportunity to engage in a cultural exchange, exposing your children to diverse languages, traditions, and perspectives. It’s like having a built-in global experience without leaving the comfort of your home.
2. Language learning
Immersing your children in a multilingual environment can be a tremendous advantage. Au pairs often come from different linguistic backgrounds, providing an authentic language-learning experience for your little ones.
3. Flexible childcare
Au pairs offer flexible childcare tailored to your family’s needs. Whether it’s after-school care, assistance with homework, or engaging in play activities, au pairs can adapt to your schedule and provide personalised attention. Perfect for shift workers, rural families, and busy working families.
4. Light housekeeping support
Beyond childcare, au pairs often lend a helping hand with light housekeeping tasks related to the children. It’s like having an extra set of hands to keep the household running smoothly.
5. Homework help
Homework time can be less stressful when there’s someone dedicated to guiding your children through their assignments. Au pairs can provide academic support, turning study sessions into productive and positive experiences.
6. Part of the family
Hosting an au pair often results in a unique familial bond. Your au pair becomes not just a caregiver but an integral part of your family, sharing in the joys, challenges, and special moments.
7. Support for parents
Au pairs can provide much-needed support for parents, helping to balance the demands of work and family life. Having an extra set of eyes and ears can make a significant difference in managing the day-to-day responsibilities.
8. Affordable childcare option
Compared to other childcare alternatives, hosting an au pair can be a very cost-effective solution. The pocket money provided to au pairs is usually around $300-$350 per week plus board (accommodation and meals), and the flexibility benefits add substantial value to the arrangement.
Handy tips help you get started in finding a great au pair .
- Define your family’s needs and expectations
- Familiarise yourself with the regulations and requirements of Australia’s au pair program.
- Create a comprehensive profile of your family, highlighting the benefits of living with your family and the cultural exchange experience you can offer.
- Consider using reputable au pair agencies that can assist with the screening and matching process.
- Write a clear job description outlining the au pair’s responsibilities, working hours etc.
- Conduct thorough interviews to assess their experience, personality, and compatibility with your family. Ask for references from previous employers or childcare experiences.
- Clearly discuss expectations, cultural exchange goals, and daily routines with potential au pairs.
- Conduct video interviews to get a better sense of the au pair’s personality and communication skills.
- Download our FREE interview guide.