10 Reasons to Hire an International Au Pair
The concept of au pair, meaning “on par” or “equal to”, originated in Europe. It is essentially domestic help from another country living as an equal with the host family and sharing their responsibility for childcare and housework. Besides being a mutually beneficial arrangement, there are many other reasons for hiring an international au pair. The top ten reasons are listed below.
- It is a cost effective way of having a child looked after. The running costs of having an au pair in one’s home are low, especially when taking into account the benefits of the experience. Also, just the savings in childcare costs alone justify it. More importantly, there is the peace of mind in knowing that one’s child is being cared for in the trusted and safe environment of their own home. There is personalized care and attention given to the child.
- The au pair system is a great way to learn about other cultures and languages firsthand and it is done in an informal environment and in a fun way.
- Au pairs are usually between the ages of 18 to 25 and as such, are very energetic. This suits the needs of families with young children, whom elderly parents or grandparents find difficult to keep up with.
- Au pairs are like an instant family member with whom children can develop long lasting relationships and have strong rapport.
- In cases where grandparents or older parents are raising children, the au pair has the benefit of older mentors while providing a link to the younger children.
- Au pairs are required by contract to participate in academic studies and host-families sponsor a portion of that. This is a great opportunity for au pairs who may not otherwise be able to pay for their own education and provides an opportunity to travel to other countries.
- It a safe system, as roughly a dozen agencies under the U.S Department of State facilitate the matches between host –families and au pairs. Psychological testing and background criminal checks are a part of the process the applicant has to undergo. In addition, it is certified that the au pairs will be able to carry on a conversation in English.
- There is security in the fact that before being set up with host families, the au pairs get the minimum child-care education of two hundred hours.
- Since au pairs live like family members, the hours of an au pair are not rigid. They provide much greater flexibility in their scheduling than any ou-of-home child care.
- The au pair system is recognized around the world, and as such is well-established.
Opening one’s home to a stranger for one year is not easy and leaving a child in their care requires a gigantic leap of faith. Hundreds of families take that leap because the program is very economical and works well for all parties involved.