When your family hosts an au pair, they become more than someone to watch the kids. You gain a temporary family member, a partner in parenting, and a trustworthy caregiver for your children. With all that they offer, many families wonder: what does an au pair cost?
Childcare can be expensive. 85% of families in the United States spend at least 10% of their income on care for their children alone.
We understand the difficult balance of finding a solution that works for your family's budget while still ensuring that your kids are well-cared for. For many families, finding high-quality care is an ongoing challenge. Over one-third of families in the U.S. report that they struggle to find the childcare they need.
Au pairs are a cost-effective childcare option that bring many unique benefits to their host families.
Au pairs provide a childcare solution that combines convenience, quality, and cost-effectiveness to nearly 5,000,000 families in the United States each year. With lower costs than many other comparable types of care, au pairs are a family-friendly way to get quality childcare, an extra set of hands around the house, and more.
When families begin exploring how to host one of these caregivers, the average cost of an au pair is often among their first questions. At AuPairCare, we strive to make the process of hiring a new au pair both smooth and cost-effective.
Wondering what a live in au pair salary is, or how much an au pair is per month? In this article, we'll break down the average cost for adding an au pair to your household, and how these exceptional caregivers compare to other kinds of childcare.
How Much Do You Pay an Au Pair?
There are many childcare options to choose from, like daycares, nannies, au pairs, and babysitters. We know that cost is an important factor in deciding which kind of childcare is right for your family's needs.
So, how much does an au pair get paid, and what else does hosting an au pair cost? The cost of an au pair is competitive, particularly when compared to other kinds of childcare.
While caregivers like nannies receive a rate of at least minimum wage, an au pair salary is different. Au pairs receive a minimum weekly stipend. Families can choose to pay their au pair more, but the minimum weekly au pair stipend is set by the Department of State.
With AuPairCare, this rate stays the same no matter how many kids an au pair provides care for.
The bedroom a host family provides their au pair must:
- Be a private room for the au pair
- Have a safe exit for emergencies
- Have an adult-sized bed and closet
AuPairCare's Program Costs 2023
The annual cost of an au pair also includes some additional expenses like travel insurance, training, and placement services.
At AuPairCare, we aim to keep our au pair program costs transparent and consistent.
Even as your family grows, AuPairCare's costs stay the same.
Our au pair program costs include a $50 fee when you apply to begin the process of bringing an au pair into your household and a $350 fee when you have matched with an au pair. These fees cover our staff's hands-on approach to helping your family find the perfect caregiver.
The rest of an au pair's costs, like their flights and training, is covered by our program fee. This fee covers:
- Screening costs
- Au Pair Academy training
- Securing the au pair's J-1 Visa
- International airfare to get the au pair to their host family
- Travel and accident insurance
- Individualized matching services
- Ongoing support during an au pair's placement
The au pair program costs also enable our experienced staff to support families throughout their journey of finding an au pair, and during their entire program year by:
- Taking a hands-on approach to matching each family with the perfect caregiver
- Visiting shortly after your au pair's arrival to conduct an orientation
- Providing year-long support through regular visits and check-ins
So, how much is an au pair? The total live-in au pair cost per year is about $20,960. This includes the au pair's stipend (paid directly by the host family), flights, training, and visa, year-long support from a local Area Director, and the program costs to place the perfect caregiver with your family.
What Does an Au Pair Do?
The cost of a live-in au pair covers much more than childcare alone. These caregivers have multifaceted roles that add a new dynamic to the households they join. So, what exactly does an au pair do?
First and foremost, an au pair is a dedicated caregiver for your children. Au pairs are young childcare professionals who travel from around the world to live and work with families in the United States. They bring traditions, language, experiences, and more from their home countries, creating incredible cultural exchange opportunities for host families.
As part of their cultural exchange program, au pairs work to provide a family with childcare for up to 10 hours a day, up to a total of 45 hours per week. This means they have a flexible schedule that can change to meet your family's needs.
As members of their host family's household, au pairs can help with many more aspects of childcare than other caregivers. For example, au pairs can help with:
- Preparing meals for kids
- Bathing and dressing kids
- Driving kids to and from school, practices, and outings
- Helping with homework
- Entertaining kids
In addition to providing a high standard of care, au pairs can also lend a helping hand around the house. They can help with light household tasks that relate to childcare, like helping kids pick up toys and cleaning up after the kids' mealtimes.
Au pair programs benefit their host families in many ways beyond childcare alone. If a task makes raising kids easier, an au pair can help with it.
Comparing Nannies, Daycares, and Au Pairs
At first glance, the role of au pairs and nannies may seem similar. They both provide home-based childcare. So, when considering au pairs versus nannies, what's the difference?
Firstly, au pairs always provide live-in childcare. The arrangements nannies have with the families they provide care for can vary. Some commute to and from the home, while others live with the family like an au pair.
Au pairs are young adults that travel from around the world to live and work in the United States on a J-1 visa. As such, au pairs and au pair agencies are carefully regulated by the U.S. Department of State.
Most nannies work in their home country. Independent nannies have no regulations to meet, and nannies that work through an agency only need to meet their agency's requirements. This means that the quality of nannies can vary significantly.
One of the most important differences between an au pair and a nanny is the relationship these caregivers will develop with the families they provide care for. Au pairs become integral parts of the households they join, developing close, familial relationships over the course of their program year.
Part of what makes an au pair's relationship with their host family unique is the cultural exchange they enable. Cultural exposure is an important part of developing tolerance, empathy, and compassion in children. Plus, learning another language has lifelong benefits, and can even accelerate a child's academic performance in other areas.
When considering how much do nannies cost, it's important to remember that nannies receive a salary of at least minimum wage. Au pairs receive a minimum weekly stipend, but the value of the room and board they receive is also considered as part of their payment. This typically makes the week-to-week cost of hosting an au pair lower than paying a nanny's wages.
Nannies, Daycares, and Au Pairs Cost Comparison
- Nannies are paid a rate of at least minimum wage. Their rate increases per child.
- Daycares generally charge per child, with some providing a discount for more than one child.
- Au pairs receive the same minimum weekly stipend regardless of how many kids they provide care for.
- Nannies may help with some housework in addition to providing childcare.
- Daycares exclusively provide services related to childcare and education.
- Au pairs can help with childcare-related light housework in addition to any tasks related to childcare.
- Nannies typically keep a set schedule.
- Daycares operate around business hours, with fees for late pickup or drop off.
- Au pairs can work with your family to create a flexible schedule.
Family-Friendly, Live-in Childcare
In eight states around the U.S., the average cost of childcare is more than 20% of the state's median household income. This figure also only considers the cost for one child, but many types of caregivers charge on a per-child basis.
On the other hand, a live-in au pair costs the same no matter how many kids are at home. This can make them a more cost-effective choice, particularly for larger families.
Plus, au pairs can help their host families save both time and money in other areas.
An extra set of hands at home makes it easier to prepare lunches and dinners for the kids, meaning fewer nights of last-minute takeout.
Au pairs can help clean up after children's mealtimes and even get the kids bathed and dressed. This can save you valuable time for catching up on work, relaxing, or spending quality time together as a family.
Since au pairs live with their host families, they never get caught in traffic on the way to your home. This can help to ensure you won't miss an appointment to arrive late to work.
Similarly, since an au pair can drive the kids to and from school, practice, and outings, they can give you back the time in your day spent in the school drop-off and pick-up lines.
When your family hosts an au pair, these caregivers can:
- Provide flexible childcare for snow days, sick days, and other unexpected school cancellations
- Entertain the kids and ensure they get their schoolwork done while you work from home
- Help you keep track of the kids' schedules so they don't miss lessons or appointments
For the huge array of flexible services they can provide, the value of an au pair is unbeatable.
With an Au Pair, Relationships Come First
The relationships au pairs form with their host family are at the center of the care they provide. During their program year, an au pair becomes like an additional family member to their host family.
Because of this, they often form exceptionally close, supportive relationships with the children they provide care for. Many families express that their au pair became like the older sibling their kids never had.
These close-knit relationships have powerful impacts on young children. Caring relationships are a cornerstone of early brain development.
When kids have a positive relationship with their caregivers, they are able to comfortably express themselves and learn from the time they spend together. The important relationships in a child's life teach them how to communicate, how to treat other people, and more.
Secure relationships also help kids learn how to cope with stressful experiences in their lives. Children look to their caregivers for support and reassurance. When they receive it, it helps them learn to handle stress and other negative emotions in a healthy way.
As au pairs form strong relationships with their host families, they become part of the support network for the children they care for. As such, the unique dynamic between au pairs and their host families can support the development of social-emotional skills in children in a way that outpaces other caregivers.
Additionally, an au pair is solely focused on the children of their host family. At daycare or similar care centers, each adult is typically responsible for many children at once.
An au pair is focused on your family and their needs. These caregivers can help you ensure that your children receive the individualized, focused support and attention they need to thrive. This underscores that the value these caregivers bring to their host families far exceeds the cost of an au pair.
Hiring an AuPairCare Au Pair
The process of hiring an au pair may seem complex. AuPairCare strives to make it easy to find the perfect caregiver for your family while keeping costs down.
Wondering how to hire an au pair? At AuPairCare, we've made the process simple. To add an au pair to your household:
- Interview potential candidates
- Match with an au pair
- Prepare for your new au pair's arrival
And that's it! At AuPairCare, we aim to streamline the process and costs of hiring an au pair so you can focus on enjoying what your new caregiver adds to your family. That's why we handle all the details that go into bringing one of these incredible childcare professionals into your household.
Behind the scenes, we work to ensure every placement will be a resounding success. Our team is made of tenured industry experts, many of whom have been or hosted au pairs themselves. We know that choosing a live-in caregiver is a huge decision. That's why we take a hands-on approach to every au pair placement.
First, we screen all of our potential au pairs to ensure they meet our program qualifications, like language skills, childcare experience, educational requirements, and passing a background check. We also provide professional development for each au pair through our Au Pair Academy in topics like first aid and child development.
Once you've mutually matched with an au pair, we facilitate interviews to help you gauge if an au pair will be the right fit for your family. When you've decided on an au pair, we help them secure a J-1 visa, book their flights, and help them get to your family on their scheduled arrival date.
Then, we continue to provide ongoing support to our au pairs and host families throughout the duration of their program year through regular check-ins with our local Area Directors.
Hiring an AuPairCare au pair makes it easy and cost-effective to add a live-in caregiver to your household.
Beyond the Cost: The Value of An Au Pair
Au pairs don't just supply childcare services at a competitive rate. They also provide other unique benefits, like:
- Cultural exchange
- Help around the house
- Becoming part of a child's support network
- Forming lifelong relationships with their host family
With all that these caregivers bring to their host families, the value of an au pair well exceeds the cost. Live-in au pairs add to the households they become a part of in immeasurable ways.
At AuPairCare, we're dedicated to helping families find the perfect caregivers. Find out more about our program benefits, or contact us to discuss what an au pair can add to your household today.