This is not a fight, just a friendly comparison! I often have the opportunity to tell people what I do for a living and how fortunate I am to be able to work a flexible job from home. This was not always important to me, but as I speak to more moms, what a great job I have! When I tell people I work with international au pairs, or live-in childcare providers, most people think that means a nanny. Not exactly.
My colleague, Summer Blackhurst, recently wrote an article describing the experience of a couple of moms who have made the switch from nanny to au pair. What exactly is the difference, you ask? First, an au pair comes from another country for a year or two and provides your family with childcare as well as a cultural exchange experience. Au pairs are young people, ages 18-26, who also need to earn college credits to fulfill their cultural exchange experience. Au pairs are energetic and motivated to explore our great American culture and become a part of your family for a year or more.
Nanny can be of any age, and as Summer mentioned in her article, may be less interested in getting down playing, engaging and exploring with your little one. A nanny may be an older woman whose children are grown, and she may not drive or be willing to drive as part of her duty to the family. A nanny may supervise homework and even prepare light snacks and healthy meals, but your au pair will do it with a cultural flare! Your family can have a cultural childcare experience for less than the cost of your nanny! For as low as $7.31 per hour for a total of 45 flexible hours!
I know what you are thinking: you get what you pay for. That may be true, but the $15-$20 per hour for a nanny is not affordable for any working family I know. I challenge you to find a caregiver on the RI state-licensed provider list who can match the cost or scope of duties of what your au pair can do. What you do get with your au pair is the support of an entire agency, as well as a dedicated Placement Coordinator, ready to guide you through every step and handle the logistics from A to Z. Plus you get a Success Coordinator, specifically to guide you and your au pair through a successful experience year after year, since you can choose from over 300 au pairs from over 50 countries! And did I mention skills and training? You can host an au pair who can cook, swim, ski, drive, or even one with a degree in teaching or education! All our au pairs speak English (rated 1 to 5) and have completed at least 32 hours of training, passed a criminal background check, passed a physical exam and a psychometric test, been interviewed, in English, by one of our affiliated international representatives, as well as had his or her education and work references confirmed. Do you seriously do all of that when you hire a Nanny? Does your Nanny agency do all that? On top of all that, you get a great Local Area Representative, me, to field your questions, meet your concerns and speak directly to your au pair should any issue arise! Let Go Au Pair help!
While you are thinking about the benefits of hosting, think of that date night or ladies’ night you deserve. Your au pair works a flexible schedule by you, so if your needs change, so can your au pair’s schedule, as long as she still gets one a half days off each week and one weekend a month and you don’t schedule her for more than 10 hours per day. How flexible is your Nanny when you want to switch it up from week to week? Part of the benefit of hosting an au pair is the built-in flexibility, as your au pair is a valued family member!
Does this sound like a childcare arrangement you need for your family? Register to become a Host Family at Go Au Pair and tell them Joan Lowell sent you! If you have questions for me, please call me at 401.309.1925 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.