What is an Au Pair?

What is an au pair? If you answered, “a nanny for rich families,” you would not be alone. This is one of the many common misconceptions people have about au pairs.

In fact, an au pair is a young adult from another country who lives with your family and provides one-on-one live-in child care services in exchange for room and board and a stipend. It is a child care option that is competitively priced with other child care solutions, such as nannies, babysitters and day care centers – with some additional benefits.

Before you rule out an au pair program as a child care option for your family, here is a quick guide that will help you better understand the program.


Myth:  Having an au pair is only for high income families

Fact:  Hosting an au pair is an affordable child care program for many families across the country. At an average weekly cost of $350 per family, not per child, the au pair program is an especially affordable child care alternative for families with multiple children. Because au pairs provide live-in child care and work up to 45 hours per week, you have the ability to customize your au pairs’ work schedule based on when you need child care.

Myth:  Au pairs are not screened or regulated
Fact:  All au pair agencies are regulated by the U.S. Department of State and require that au pairs are thoroughly screened, interviewed, tested on English competency, and undergo a comprehensive criminal, personal and professional background check. In addition, many au pairs agencies require au pairs to have first aid and child development training.

Myth: Au pairs don’t speak English
Fact: While au pairs come from many different countries around the world, all au pairs are required to be proficient in spoken English, as regulated by the U.S. Department of State. Au pair agencies conduct an English competency test for all au pair applicants and interview them in English prior to accepting them into the au pair program. Families also have the opportunity to interview au pairs over the phone or on Skype prior to employment.

Myth: International au pairs are all women
Fact: An au pair is any young adult from another country who exchanges child care services for room and board and a stipend. All government-regulated au pair agencies recruit both male and female au pairs. Au pair agencies want to ensure that families can select an au pair that matches their particular needs, skills and background.

Myth: Au pairs are babysitters that speak another language
Fact: Unlike a babysitter, an au pair provides ongoing child care up to 45 hours per week, according to a family’s needs. Au pairs can also perform light household duties associated with children. For example, they can prepare and clean up after meals, do children’s laundry, make the children’s beds, and organize the children’s playrooms/toys. Having an au pair’s assistance with these day-to-day tasks allows you to spend more quality time with your family. In addition, since au pairs are from another country, they provide children and families with a unique window into another culture, sharing games, stories and songs from their home countries.

Myth: Au Pairs only want to learn English and travel Fact: There are many legal ways for an international person to obtain a visa to the U.S. and travel or learn English. Au pairs are interested in child care and have a love of children. In addition, they have a desire to improve their English, life skills and obtain improved employment opportunities when they return to their home country after the program.

To learn more about hosting an au pair and for a FREE APPLICATION contact your local Area Director, Michele Greenockle, at 267-288-5908 or mgreenockle@aupaircare.com.

Outside The Doula Box: Real Doula Support

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Slowly the word doula is becoming a household word. Unfortunately,  the understanding of what doula care really is, is still misunderstood.  Many assume birth doulas only support unmedicated, out of hospital births; and postpartum doulas only help with breastfeeding difficulties or support moms with postpartum depression. While doulas do support families in those circumstances,  we also do so much! Continue reading

Facebook Eyes: Why You Can’t Mom Compare

20150304_135435Facebook has become a wonderful tool for moms to connect with other moms. Connection is wonderful, but we might also begin to see each others’ lives through Facebook eyes – eyes that only see the positive updates and Pinterest worthy pictures. I know I try hard to keep a positive attitude, to not put anyone down and to encourage other moms. In that effort sometimes it seems that life is peachy and that I have it together, but really I am simply trying to post appropriately to my social media accounts. When we see just the Facebook appropriate posts it is easy to compare these tidbits with our reality. When we see our friend’s homemade pancakes our kid’s cereal bar suddenly seems like a breakfast fail. What we fail to compare is that you got your preschooler to school on time while your husband was out of town, the fact that your kid even ate breakfast is a win! Continue reading

Enjoying Your Kids

I spend a lot of time encouraging parents to enjoy their newborns but recently it dawned on me that I need to really enjoy my children at all of their stages. It can be easy to get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sports, homework and housework that we forget to actually spend quality time enjoying our children. Here are a few tips for enjoying your children at all ages. Continue reading

Sleep Training, Right or Wrong?

IMG_20150109_132916A question so many parents and experts wonder is, is sleep training right or wrong? The simplest answer, it is neither. Sleep training is such a broad term and can mean so many things. When it comes to the term sleep training, closing the door at 8 pm on your five week old and not opening it until 8 am is often lumped together with gently night weaning your eleven month old. One is not recommending by most experts as a five week old usually needs night feeds and care in order to thrive while the other is unlikely to impact their growth and well being. Continue reading

What Doula Care and Education Mean

instaquote-03-01-2015-17-25-44There is a common misconception that all doulas and independent childbirth educators support only natural birth, midwives, breastfeeding, home births, etc. While I am sure there are doulas and educators that only support those things, I am also sure they are often the exception and not the rule. As a doula and educator I support knowing your options, making informed decisions and most importantly following your intuition. In my training and education I was taught to support women and their families throughout their maternity journey, not to judge or make decisions for them. Continue reading

The Holidays With Little Ones

xmastreelexThe holidays are a time of cheer, family time and….fussy babies? Our Decembers are often filled with errands, visitors, stress and travel – all things that can make for overtired and overstimulated babies. While we do need to slow down when we have children it is still possible to have a full holiday season and happy babies. Here are a few tips for enjoying the holiday season with children: Continue reading

Softening The Hospital Environment

There are many options when it comes to giving birth, including the location. Some women choose a home or birth center birth while others choose, or need to, deliver in a hospital. Regardless of where one chooses to deliver paying attention to the environment and the impact it can have on labor is important. The hormone oxytocin, which regulates contractions, is best released when a woman feels safe, warm and comfortable. Whether a hospital is your desired birth location or you need to deliver in a hospital, there are ways to help soften the environment and make it just a little more like home. Continue reading