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Is an Au Pair Right for your Family?
Hassled over getting the kids out the door every morning while you try to get ready for your day? Ever dream about having a live-in who looks after the kids and helps out around the house?
Having live-in help may sound a bit over the top and expensive, but hosting an au pair from the U.S. government’s cultural exchange program is more affordable than you think!
Hiring an au pair is an increasingly popular form of childcare for American families with dual incomes. The number of au pairs in the United States has tripled since the 1990s and these numbers continue to soar given the depressed economy. As more parents join the work force, finding affordable childcare is really challenging.
A host mom from Pittsburgh PA sent us this comment:
“I needed to get a job to help out with the family’s finances after my husband lost his bonuses at work. After running the numbers, we were shocked to find out that we would break even after paying for a full time babysitter and the local daycares were all out of our reach. Hosting an au pair costs us about $7.00 an hour and she also does the kids laundry, makes meals and keeps the house tidy! The au pair program is a god send!”
Au pairs provide in-home childcare of up to 45 hours a week.
A New Jersey working mom and her husband, who have been host parents since 2009, explains the advantages of hosting an au pair over daycare:
“It is really great to have an extra pair of hands around the house, especially in the mornings when there are 5 of us trying to get out the door! Our au pair gets the kids dressed, does breakfast and then walks them to the school bus stop. She is there to greet them after school and to provide them with a healthy snack – then they are off to soccer practice and piano lessons. If the kids are sick, they get to stay home, which is what they prefer. My husband and I enjoy knowing the kids are at home – we find the built-in flexibility works best for our entire family.”
Childcare decisions are not always easy – but the bottom line for many parents is the cost. Hosting an au pair is highly affordable and not expensive as many parents think.
There are 14 au pair agencies in the United States and Au Pair Clearinghouse reviews each one on various dimensions: quality of au pairs, customer service, program costs, hidden fees, local staff support, matching services and more.
We know which programs provides the best au pairs who can drive well and speak proficient English. All of our agency reviews are based on real host parent surveys and comments!
Not all agencies are the same! Doing your research is critical to ensure that you match with an au pair that has been well screened by the agency.
You will find these articles very helpful in your search for a great au pair: