Au pairs and child care
Au pair as a part of your family
An au pair is by definition not an employee, "au pair" comes from the French language and means that the au pair is an equal to the family and should be welcomed as a new, although temporary family member. A nanny is an employee who provides a child care service for families. In difference to a nanny who can be any age, an au pair is usually between 18-26 years old (most common age regulation in Europe) and do not necessary have a child care education or working experience within child care. Many Scandinavian au pairs have experience through babysitting younger sisters or brothers or other families children.
Motivation for the au pairs
The majority of Scandinavian au pairs go off as an au pair after finishing their studies at college. They have then finished the obligatory studies and will make life changing decisions about their future career and academic studies. To have a one or two year gap between the next step in life is very common for young Scandinavians. They like the feeling of freedom and the chance go on a adventure and develop personally and professionally. To become an au pair is seen as good choice as you get to know a new culture and country and learn a new language. Have fun with their new found friends, maybe get to travel in the country and at the same time make enough money for the stay. There�s no need to save up money for this adventure. Becoming an au pair is also a flexible option as there are so many families who need an au pair anytime during the year. It is also convenient as the au pairs do not have to make any major preparations except the matching process.
The au pairs child care and household help
The au pairs usually live in the host family's home and are therefore also referred to as a "live-in au pair". They provide your family with between 25-45 hours of child care and light house hold duties per week. They should not do any proper house cleaning, only help out with the light household duties.
Examples of child care work:
- To play and do fun activities with the children
- Leave and collect children from school or after school activities
- Evening babysitting
- Preparing breakfast, afternoon snacks and occasionally cook meals for the children
- Help children with home work
- Come with the family on excursions
Examples of house light household work:
- Washing and ironing the children's clothes
- Help children to tidy up in their bed rooms after playing
Au pairs should not do the family's cleaning, be a dog walker, do major food shopping, baby sit more time than agreed. It is important to respect the au pairs working hours and time off duty, even though she's at home!
» Stay safe on the net – how to be a smart au pair