Finding an au pair in the UK isn’t always easy. As a work at home parent with a full time employed husband means that we’ve always struggled with childcare. It’s difficult to balance the cost of nursery and the logistics of getting the children there.
What is an au pair?
An au pair is usually a young person aged between 18-30 who comes to live with your family to look after the children. They do light housework and live as part of the family.
They’re not an employee or required to register as self-employed, but you give them pocket money, usually between £75-100 per week. They can also look after the elderly or disabled, be a little older, live out or be a part time student (known as a demi au pair). In the UK an au pair needs to be from the EU but there are a few other countries where au pairs are accepted from under the Youth Mobility Scheme or a student visa.
The UK government has a special information page on au pairs here that suggests a slightly lower amount for pocket money, but usually they ask for a little more than £70 a week and we like to be competitive.
Where to look when finding an au pair in the UK
We look on websites and if you have a quick look on Google there are dozens. Some are agencies and will help you find someone but most are membership sites where you can view members’ profiles for free but have to join to contact them. These range from £10-50 a month and vary in quality and ease of use. The cheapest one we found was about £30 for three months but was so difficult to use and we couldn’t search au pairs by their start date.
Facebook is a great way to search but is a bit hit and miss and you can’t easily compare au pairs’ details as you can on a website. It’s free, though, and if you can navigate through the dozens of ads from the agencies and websites, you might find an au pair right for you. If you have an Instagram account that is a good way to find them too and we met our last au pair, Sofia, on Instagram #aupairlife #aupairuk etc.
We always offer English lessons and found it helpful to do a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course but all of ours so far have spoken great English. We’ve made some nice friends hosting au pairs and it’s great for the kids to be entertained by someone at home safely while I can concentrate on working. We expect them to sort the laundry and fold/put away the kids’ clothes, prepare light meals and snacks, read to the children and do creative games, dress them and remind them to use the toilet and do their share of the general housework. I’ll never forget the feeling of gratitude the first time Jeanne picked up the vacuum.
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