Is an Au Pair Right for You? 4

Parents with young children know that finding high quality, flexible, affordable childcare options is a challenge. Some parents just need someone to drive pre-teens to school and practice. Others need full-time care for babies while parents work outside the home full time. Some parents just need another set of hands in the home to help care for a houseful of small kids. All these families may be excellent candidates for an au pair.

What is an au pair?

An au pair is a domestic assistant from a foreign country who comes to work for and live with a host family in the United States.  Typically, au pairs assist with childcare as well as some housework. They live in the home with the family and are only eligible to stay with the family for a predetermined amount of time (usually up to two years). Most au pairs are female and they are typically in their late teens or early twenties.

What makes an au pair different from a nanny 
or a babysitter?

Families who host an au pair are not just gaining a child care provider, but also another family member. Many families say that their au pairs truly become big sisters and big brothers to their kids. As one of the host fathers working with Au Pair USA said, “the cultural experience has been an incredible gift to our family. And, we have what can only be described as a wonderful human being as an au pair that loves and cares for our children as we do. What a blessing!”

What are the benefits to hosting an au pair?

Since au pairs live in the home, they are able to provide flexible childcare. Many families appreciate the idea that there is no need to worry about fees for late pickups at daycare or scramble to find alternative care if a child is sick or plans change. Families with more than one child may even save money as the cost families pay the agency is not based on the number of children they have. Hosting an au pair is probably more affordable than many people think. Plus, families get to experience the cultural education of living with someone from another country.

Are there au pairs in Smyrna?

Yes! Au Pair USA has a local Coordinator, Cara Harper, a Smyrna mom, who has been working with host families in the greater Atlanta area for over 6 years. She loves to connect with families and inform them about the benefits of using an au pair. She has placed au pairs in several families throughout the area. Chances are most Vinings Lifestyle readers have a neighbor who is currently hosting an au pair. Want to know more? Cara can be reached at charper@lc.interexchange.org or visit Interexchange.org/Au-Pair-USA.