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What’s The Difference Between A Nanny And An Au Pair?

What’s The Difference Between A Nanny And An Au Pair?

If you’re trying to find the perfect child care helping hand for your family, sometimes the best options to consider are a nanny or an au pair. Using daycare centers, preschool or having family or friends watch your child aren’t the only options. Here you’ll find the difference between an au pair and a nanny.

While looking into different childcare for your family, you may have questions about the various child care provider options you have to choose from. One of our big questions is what’s the difference between Au Pair and Nanny? Great question and one we intend on answering.

Young asian Au pair with cute caucasian toddler boy.

What’s The Big Difference Between A Nanny and An Au Pair?

While a nanny usually has a childcare qualification and plenty of experience, an au pair will typically be young, help with light housework and be less expensive.

In terms of employing childcare within the family home, the choice is likely to be between a nanny or au pair. While the former is likely to come into the job already very familiar with baby and toddler routines, the au pair will be able to learn from the parents the routine that is best suited to their child.

Childcare in the Home – Why Choose a Nanny?

The main advantage of choosing a nanny to take care of children whilst away from the family home is that a nanny is likely to be very well experienced and have some form of childcare qualification or practical training.

In Baby & Toddler Sleep Solutions for Dummies, Arthur Lavin and Susan Glaser identify the main benefits of employing a nanny being as follows:

  • Familiar with bedtime, bath-time, and general child safety.
  • Reputable nanny agencies will provide reliable references.
  • Nanny can be live-in or live-out as likely to be local.
  • Local nannies will already know local baby/toddler groups.
  • Nannies tend to be older and more experienced than au pairs. Nannies may be more able to cook children healthy meals.

Advantages Of Hiring A Nanny

Another huge advantage for families is that some nannies will be happy to stay and work longterm, while an au pair is likely to not stay beyond one year.

This means that a nanny can typically offer more continuity and save children from having to get to know multiple caretakers. Both of them become a temporary family member to your kids and can have a huge impact on your child’s development.

Childcare at Home – Why Choose an Au Pair?

There are several benefits of opting for an au pair, with the most relevant advantage, given the current financial climate, being that an au pair is significantly cheaper to employ than a nanny. Further benefits of employing an au pair to help, as recognized by Lavin and Glaser, may include the following:

  • Helps children learn about another culture.
  • Helps children learn the basics of another language.
  • Comes with a blank slate to learn parent routines.
  • More likely to help with household chores than a nanny.
Nanny and kid making salad.

Au Pair Benefits and Info

An au pair is also much more likely to be happy to work for a shorter period, such as a summer or a few months, whereas a nanny will tend to want to have a longer employment contract. An additional key benefit to employing an au pair is that he or she will be living in the family home and thus able to work many more hours than a nanny.

Hiring an Au Pair from an au pair system means the company has done their due diligence in the hiring process finding your family a safe, educated, and helpful new au pair.

A great plus to this unique opportunity is you’ll have tons of quality time to get to know them as they’ll be living in your house and will need their own room. they’ll quickly become in tune with your family members and their needs and routines.

Often they’ll be from a different country coming to the United States for work thru a host family and could bring a new culture for your children to learn about.

They’ll undergo a background check thru their agency, which may be an expense you are required to pay for. Look into each agency’s different agency fees.

You may find that both au pair agencies and a nanny agency both have different fees for helping them vet and find the best child care providers for your family.

The cost of the Au Pair is often cheaper on the wallet than hiring a nanny. Nanny’s tend to charge by the hour and usually have college degrees. This usually results in asking for an increased pay rate.

Au pairs usually work on an au pair visa and oftentimes they have an agreement with an agency on their rate of pay and many of them have a minimum weekly stipend which is around $195.75 or just under $200.

Keep in mind that’s not based on the number of hours worked, rather the hard work and skills they provide to you and your family. Overall the cost of an au pair is cheaper than nanny cost.

Where To Find Child Care

So good news,now that you know the major differences between a nanny vs. an au pair, there are other things you may want to know, like where to hire an Au Pair or where to look for a Nanny.

A great place to start looking for an au pair is this site. They’re an au pair agency that has been in business, helping families find the best au pair since 1986. They were America’s First Au Pair Program!

All of their Au Pairs go through a careful screening process, participate in an orientation, and have completed various child safety courses, like First Aid and CPR, before being allowed to move forward in the process with a family.

The cost of the Au Pair is often cheaper on the wallet than hiring a nanny. Nanny’s tend to charge by the hour and usually have college degrees. This usually results in asking for an increased pay rate.

Au pairs usually work on an au pair visa and often times they have an agreement with an agency on their rate of pay. Most of the time it’s minimum wage or a little more or less depending on your area. Many agencies have a minimum required weekly pay for the au pair that’s not based on number of hours worked.

Nanny with cute little boy drawing house with chalks on asphalt

Where to find a Nanny?

The options for busy families and places to find a nanny are extensive. You can start by asking friends and family if they have any nanny suggestions. Personal word of mouth recommendations can come with reference checks that have already been performed and knowing if they’d be the right fit for your family before they even start.

You can check out your local colleges to see if they have any lists of applicants who are in a childhood education career or one similar.

They may even offer you more resources to help you find the most appropriate nanny and best option for your family.

If you’re looking to find one online, you can check out sites like or even Ziprecruiter or Indeed. Often nanny agencies will offer young adult caregivers or nannies for trial periods to see if they are a good fit for your family or not.

If your community has a community newsletter, see if they have any job seekers or employment section where you can place an ad or find a potential nanny.

Finding a local to you Nanny has many benefits already. They tend to know the area and can be more than just an extra set of hands. Usually, they speak the same language you and your family already speak and have a much lower chance of having a language barrier between your children and them.

As highlighted above, while nannies are more experienced and tend to be live-out, an au pair will live-in and be less costly, although unfamiliar with typical bedtime routines.

Families looking for longer-term help with childcare in the home would likely be better off choosing a nanny, whereas an au pair is more likely to suit working for a shorter period of time.

We hope this info helps you understand the main differences and helps your young family find the best choice to help to care of your kids.

Other helpful parenting posts: Keeping your toddler in their crib, helping kids sleep through the night, and more.

Au pair and nanny with kids and text over lay.