A lot of people ask me about having an au pair. It’s something I always wanted to do as a teenager but never found the right family (that was in the very early days of Google). In this day and age you can find literally anything on the internet and getting the perfect au pair for your family is no exception.
Au pairs are traditionally young females from another country that come to help look after the children, amongst other things. Modern day travellers can take on the role as a chance to visit other countries and improve their skills in a foreign language. They don’t need to have experience and can be any gender or age, or a couple sharing the role. A lot of the profiles we see on the website are teens who have lots of younger siblings, kids that have helped with youth groups and camps or have done lots of babysitting.
Having An Au Pair: How Does That Work?
They live with you in your home, in their own room, and are treated like a member of the family. They work a maximum of 25 hours a week and are not paid or employees; they don’t need to register as self-employed nor do they need to pay NI contributions. You instead pay them pocket money of £60-150 a week (to be negotiated).
Your au pair will be part of everyday life. That might be a culture shock for some people but for us it was ideal, I’ve always lived with housemates and after I bought my first house in 2012 I had lodgers (I’ll try to post about that another day). When Ayla was tiny, a close friend of mine lived with The Viking and I and would entertain Ayla on occasion for me. We had talked about having another lodger but thought that they might feel uncomfortable if the children wanted their attention regularly. We tried hosting foreign language students once too but the room was empty a lot of the time. It felt better having an au pair who definitely wanted to be around the kids and would have time for them.
Why Not Send The Children to Nursery Full Time?
We could send the children to nursery full time but they’re so tiny, I love having them around me all the time. Occasionally we’ll find someone with paid experience on the website for au pairs. They tend to ask for more money which sort of defeats the object; in that case they would be a live-in nanny. The children, who’re 22mo and 44mo right now, go to nursery for 15 hours a week so we have a nice balance.
Our last au pair lived with us for about three months and we miss her terribly. She came back to visit last summer and we were adamant we would get another. So Kayleigh and Benjamin replied to my message and we got to know one another. They’re travelling Europe in a camper van and au pairing was the perfect way for them to have a warm bedroom and a bit of cash over the winter. I get to see the kids any time I like and we hear them giggling while we’re working. We’re hoping our next au pair will join us after Bastian’s birthday and we’re planning them all the way till September when Ayla starts school.
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