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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?


Join The Conversation
nowthree nowthree 8 years
We have hosted au pairs for the past three years and love it. They are flexible, affordable, and have really extended our family. Our kids have really enjoyed learning about different cultures.
Laurie413 Laurie413 8 years
My family has had 2 au pairs, one for 12 months and the other for 18 months. They were both really great girls and we're still in touch with both of them. I agree that one of the great things about au pairs is learning about their cultures. My kids now regularly use phrases in Portuguese!
kty kty 8 years
when i was younger my parents did the ''au pair''thing and brought a young girl from nigeria to live with us in france and help with my little sister.she did learn how to speak french but she also became a part of the family,my dad adopted her and she's living in the U.S at my dad's house with my youngest sibling...i haven't done the ''au pair''with my son but through my experiences with it,it's not bad it sometimes turns good like it did for glory whom i consider a sister and love dearly.she does get to see her family in nigeria everytime she wants too.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
the plus of an "au pair" is that they are able to teach your child their language. by having a French au pair, your children could be fully bilingual by the time they hit grade school, without even trying. that would be amazing.
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