Many families are looking for caregivers like an au pair to help with the daily bustle of life with kids. Wondering how to hire an au pair? We'll explore what the process of hiring an au pair is like, and how AuPairCare makes it easy to find the perfect caregiver for your family.
The job of a modern parent is more demanding than ever before. Between raising children, maintaining a household, and keeping up with work, parents' attention is constantly being pulled in different directions.
The COVID-19 pandemic also added a new complication to these conflicting demands. Many people began working from home, requiring them to simultaneously manage their own work, in addition to their kids' distance learning.
81% of working mothers reported that these changes made it harder for them to stay on top of their work. Nearly 50% of families have two working parents, doubling the impact this transition had on their household.
Now, many companies have made the move to working from home permanent. This is leaving families wondering how they can manage work and kids under one roof.
As they look for more support in this balancing act, many families have decided that in-home childcare is the right solution for their household. Au pairs are live-in caregivers that can help with everything from homework to bath time. These childcare professionals travel from around the world to live and work in the United States.
So: How does hiring an au pair work? The process of hiring an au pair includes:
- Ensuring the candidate meets Department of State requirements
- Securing a visa
- Finding a mutual match between an au pair and host family
- Scheduling travel
- Preparing for the au pair's stay
Between navigating visa requirements and finding a caregiver who is a good fit for your family, there is a lot involved in hiring an au pair. In this article, we'll break down who these professionals are, and how AuPairCare can help you add one to your family's household.
Why Choose an Au Pair for Your Family's Childcare?
Deciding on a caregiver for your children is an important decision and it can be stressful. There are many types of childcare to choose from, including:
It can be a daunting task to decide which of these caregivers is the one you want to entrust with your kids. The first step in hiring an au pair is to decide that these passionate professionals are the right childcare option for your family.
Many families choose to hire an au pair because they're looking for live-in childcare. Hosting an au pair means you don't have to worry about arranging who will drive the kids to and from school, or how you can find time to help with their homework around your work schedule.
Au pairs provide care from the convenience of your family's home, taking away the logistical and scheduling problems that other types of childcare can encounter. This also means that au pairs can help with things that many other caregivers cannot.
So, how does an au pair help your family? An au pair can:
- Prepare kids' meals
- Help to bathe and dress them
- Take them on outings
- Drive them to lessons
- Get them ready for bedtime
Au pairs can help with essentially any task that is part of caring for your kids.
Additionally, this arrangement allows au pairs to provide more flexible scheduling options. Most nannies keep a set schedule. Daycares typically operate around business hours, and often charge fees for late pickups. Au pairs have the ongoing flexibility to provide up to 45 hours of childcare each week, or up to 10 hours per day.
Many children benefit from the low adult-to-child ratio that au pairs provide. Daycare programs tend to have a much higher number of children than adults. This is an environment that some kids may enjoy, but it can be stressful for others. Particularly for young children and children with exceptionalities, it can be helpful to have a supportive caregiver available for them.
Hiring an au pair also means guaranteeing that your child's caregiver meets established guidelines. Childcare providers like nannies have little to no regulations, and daycare centers follow guidelines that vary significantly between states. On the other hand, au pairs are required to meet strict regulations set by the United States Department of State.
In addition to these regulations, here at AuPairCare, we have our own guidelines that we require all au pairs to meet. When a family chooses to hire an au pair, these criteria ensure they are paired with the perfect caregiver.
The relationship that au pairs form with their host families is another compelling factor for many parents when they hire an au pair. Nannies, daycares, and many other caregivers maintain a professional working relationship with the households they provide care for. In contrast, au pairs often develop more close-knit relationships with their host family.
Kids learn everything from self-esteem to cultural values from their caregivers. Having a network of strong bonds and connections helps children develop an identity and learn about their world. Au pairs become another connection that kids can rely on for guidance and support.
Many of our au pairs and host families become lifelong friends who stay in touch long after their program year ends. We constantly hear from our au pairs and host families that they cherish the bonds they made during their time together.
Hiring an au pair means gaining not just another set of hands around the house, but also gaining a temporary family member.
More Than Caregivers: The Cultural Experience of Hosting an Au Pair
Choosing to bring an au pair into your household has unique rewards and benefits. Among these is the incredible opportunity for cultural exchange that every au pair brings with them.
Our AuPairCare au pairs travel from 40 countries around the world to live with host families in the United States. This makes hosting an au pair an incredible way to experience a new culture for the entire family. It also gives your kids an immersive opportunity to learn about the diversity of our world.
Exposing children to diversity at a young age has lasting impacts on their development. Experiencing cultural exchange by hosting an au pair benefits kids by:
- Helping them develop increased empathy
- Making them more comfortable with the differences between people
- Increasing their tendencies towards cooperative, collaborative action
- Instilling in them a heightened sense of fairness and equality
Many of our au pairs love sharing their culture with their host families. For example, Magda, an au pair from South Africa, has introduced her host family to South African food, traditions, holidays, and more.
In addition to teaching the kids she looks after about her culture, Magda is also immersing them in her native language, Afrikaans. Many of our au pairs teach their first language to their host families, making the most of the countless organic learning opportunities that arise each day.
This kind of natural exposure to language isn't just a good way to learn a language it's also deeply beneficial to the developing brains of kids.
Research has found bilingualism improves brain function. Children who speak more than one language have larger vocabularies on average. They tend to perform better on tests of concentration and attention. Bilingualism has even been linked to heightened problem-solving abilities.
In addition to bringing a new dynamic to your household, au pairs also bring an incredible opportunity for cultural exchange. If an au pair sounds right for your family, AuPairCare can help match you to the perfect caregiver.
Who Are AuPairCare's Au Pairs?
Most families don't get to meet their au pair in person until they arrive at their home. So, when a family seeks out an au pair, who is the person they're hiring?
Every year, about 20,000 young people travel from around the world to become au pairs in the United States. These incredible caregivers represent a huge tapestry of different backgrounds, languages, and experiences.
Before they can start working as an au pair, each candidate has to meet several requirements. Many of these program qualifications are set by the United States Department of State. For example, au pairs must:
Be between 18-26 years old
- Have good proficiency with the English language
- Pass a background check
- Have a secondary school equivalent education
Au pairs must meet these requirements in order to obtain an au pair J-1 visa. These visas are for cultural exchange and work-study programs. Typically, they last for a year, but can be extended for up to two years.
At AuPairCar, we ensure that our potential au pairs meet all requirements set by the Department of State. We also help them secure their J-1 visas, making hiring an au pair stress-free for your family.
In addition to the requirements set by the Department of State, AuPairCare has our own criteria for our au pairs. Firstly, we learn more about each candidate, like their previous experience and what made them want to become an au pair.
We also train every au pair through our Au Pair Academy before their placement begins. Our au pairs study child development, and also learn important safety skills, like CPR and first aid.
QualificationRequired By 18-26 years of age Department of State English proficiency Department of State Graduated secondary school or equivalent Department of State Pass a background check Department of State Screening for personality, disposition, and motivations AuPairCare Learn CPR and first aid AuPairCare Training in childhood development AuPairCare
Au pairs can also take additional training before or during their program year. These advanced training sessions can help them learn more about topics like infant care, supporting the learning of school-aged kids, nutrition to support growth and development, and more.
Matching With an AuPairCare Au Pair
Once your family has decided that an au pair is right for your childcare needs, the next step is to find an au pair for hire. Choosing AuPairCare as your au pair agency makes it easy to get started as a host family or as an au pair.
After registering, you'll gain access to our award-winning database of au pairs. You can search through candidates for the perfect caregiver for your family, filtering by criteria like:
- Known languages
- Driving ability
- Prior experience
- Expertise with infants
In addition to empowering your search with these tools, our team of tenured experts helps you find the right person. Most of our staff have hosted an au pair or been an au pair themselves, and many have more than 20 years of experience in this field. We know how important it is to find the right match, and we take a hands-on approach to every au pair placement. We're here to support you through the entire process.
When you find an au pair that you're interested in, we help set up and facilitate interviews. We'll organize online video chats, or connect your international calls for free, so you can get to know them.
One of the essential parts of AuPairCare's program is that every placement comes from a mutual match. Before we finalize a placement, the host family and potential au pair both independently agree that they will be the right fit for each other. This helps ensure that every placement is an excellent fit.
Preparing For Your Au Pair
Once you've matched with an au pair, all that's left to do is prepare for their arrival. You'll work with your new caregiver to decide on an arrival date. AuPairCare handles booking their flights, securing a visa, and ensures all the last-minute details are taken care of.
Au pairs have a private bedroom in their host family's home. Their bedroom should have an adult-sized bed, a closet, and meet all building codes, such as a safe exit.
Some host families, like the Hudsons, go above and beyond while anticipating their new caregiver's arrival. The Hudsons decorated their au pair's room with photos of her friends and family from Brazil. They even ordered her matching pajamas with the rest of the family, so she could be in their holiday cards!
While you wait for your new au pair to arrive, start planning for the ways they can contribute to your family. Think about the parts of your family's schedule you'd like them to help with each day, like:
- Getting the kids ready for bed
- Helping prepare their meals
- Driving to and from soccer practice
- Cleaning up after playtime
Once your au pair arrives, AuPairCare will continue to support them throughout their placement. Our local Area Directors ensure you aren't on your own during the adjustment period after their arrival, or any time during your au pair's stay.
We'll check in within 48 hours after your au pair arrives to conduct an orientation and provide a program overview. This helps us make sure your new caregiver is off to a great start.
Then, we'll touch base with your family on a monthly basis. Our staff is also always available to help with any questions, comments, or concerns that may arise.
AuPairCare Makes It Easy to Hire an Au Pair
When you partner with AuPairCare for your childcare needs, we take care of all the details of hiring an au pair. That way, you can focus on finding the right match for your family. This gives you more time to prepare for their arrival, and to plan how they'll help your household run smoothly.
We work closely with our au pairs and host families to ensure that their program year is an incredible experience. Our team starts providing support before your au pair leaves their home country, and is always a phone call away.
Program MilestoneHow AuPairCare Can Help Deciding on childcare Our team of industry experts is available to answer any questions you may have about the hiring process, or about what life with an au pair is like. Hiring an au pair We play an active role in matching each host family to an au pair that will meet all of their childcare needs. Preparing for your au pair's arrival While you get ready for your new au pair at home, we'll make sure their visa requirements are met, and handle scheduling their travel. During your au pair's program year Our local Area Directors will be in touch with your family on a monthly basis, and our staff is always available to provide support.
If an au pair sounds like the missing detail your family needs, contact us today. We'd be happy to answer any questions you have about how to hire an au pair, or about what these amazing young people can add to your family.
Ready to take the next steps and start looking for an au pair? Register with AuPairCare today to find the au pair that will complete your household.