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Au Pairs Versus Nannies

Tell Mommy: Would You Rather an Au Pair or Nanny?

Ever wondered what the difference is between an au pair and a live-in nanny? They both live in the family's home and care for their children. So why different names? A French term, "au pair" is defined as:

A usually young foreign person who cares for children and does domestic work for a family in return for room and board and the opportunity to learn the family's language.

Based on my experience, au pairs are generally between the ages of 18 and 26 and often take classes in their new home land to help soak up the culture. Au pairs are typically offered a temporary arrangement and limited to one to two years away from their original country, which is tough on host families as they have to replace their au pair on an annual basis. A mother's helper to boot, they provide child care and help keep a clean house in exchange for room and board and a decided allowance. Host families usually pay a significant fee to an au pair placement agency that can cost up to $7,000. As one might expect, the young woman has scheduled personal time when she can do as she pleases.

Families who hire a live-in-nanny have many of the same benefits of an au pair, but the "hiring" process, prerequisites, payment and longevity vary. Live-in-nannies are not required to take child care classes or speak the family's language. However, off time is often more flexible with a nanny and they quickly become another member of the family as they begin to blend into the flow after many years of employment.

Tell mommy, would you rather an au pair or a nanny live with you?


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