Au Pair as Childcare

Blog / April 28, 2017

Au Pair as Childcare

By Vanessa Pollock


Once you move into your new home and have all this new, extra space, many people want to examine getting an Au Pair for their childcare needs – my family has had a terrific young lady from Germany for the last year and a half and we have a lot to share with you about that experience. Based on conversations about Liesa’s experience, her fellow Au Pair experiences and what we have observed, I have compiled a PRO and CON list:

Someone else is living in your home (be sure to set them up to have their own space and tell them where they can hang out. Set expectations about what “family hang time” is acceptable and when you want to be alone. i.e. do they eat dinner with you every night or 3 nights/ week etc).

They are usually young and get homesick, and you are their “person” so you become like an Aunt or Mom – its an emotional pull on you.

They are usually young and have few real life skills beyond childcare (that part they usually are great at, but the laundry, dishes, cleaning and organizing is sometimes something they need a TON of direction about).

They sometime are here to party OR find a spouse – be sure to interview them about WHY they want to come and WHAT they really want out of the year.


By far the MOST cost effective child care available.

45 hours/week, with a schedule that could be changeable every week! (and sometimes within the day).

Not only do you get childcare, but you get help around the house (see above) – if you are very clear with what you need you cannot beat the help with laundry, shopping, meal prep.

If you get home and want to be on as the parent, you can say “you’re still on the clock, so please go tidy up the kids’ rooms and work on their laundry and bathrooms, while I play with the kids” OR “please do playdough while I go take this call!” 🙂

Consistency and a rhythm that makes things more fluid everyday.

Another driver! (we have 3 kids that all have activities so this is crucial for us)
Things to look for/think about:

  • How long have they been driving and in what country (which side of the road?!)
  • Do they have cooking experience? Household experience?
  • Do they know how to use the laundry machines?
  • Are they punctual?
  • Do they drink (if over 21, AND if under 21 they may have been able to drink in their hoe country, so what is the rule going to be for you?)
  • Establish a “guests” rule – how often can their au pair friends come over to hang out and where are they allowed to hang out?




Vanessa Pollock

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