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How Do Au Pair Programs Work?

It may feel like full-time, in-home, educational and flexible child care is impossible to find — and pay for. However, au pair programs work to provide this precise solution for families who want something different for their children. Whether you're familiar with au pair programs or want to learn more, we've compiled some helpful information to help you get started.

The Days of Having a Nanny Are Over — The Au Pair Trend

According to the Bureau of Labor Services, both parents work in 63% of families with children. These dual working-parent households face the unique challenge of finding and paying for quality child care. Parents may feel torn between spending immense time and money to provide an enriching experience for their children or settling for something less expensive and less optimal. 

Traditional day care and nanny options may not offer the experience you're looking for and are becoming more expensive. Now and in the coming decades, au pairs may be the solution that replaces these outdated options. 

How Au Pairs Work

An au pair program fulfills many of the modern desires for child care, including the following.

  • Cultural experiences: Au pair programs provide opportunities for individuals to share their language and culture with your children. Whether your children learn to make one of your au pair's favorite dishes or hear more about her home, they can expand their horizons from a young age.
  • High-quality care: Unlike a nanny who may serve multiple families, an au pair can give your children the individual attention they desire. Welcoming an au pair into your home also gives you greater control over the environment in which your child spends their time.
  • Affordable child care: An au pair program puts countless resources at your fingertips at an unbeatable price. Your au pair becomes part of your family and functions like an older sibling for your children. You can get service above and beyond a nanny or a day care, and the weekly cost may save you hundreds of dollars.

For these reasons, working with an au pair has become a growing trend. If you're tired of compromising on child care, take a look at how au pair programs work to find a reliable and trustworthy solution for the modern age.

How Do Au Pair Programs Operate? Your Questions Answered 

Qualified au pair programs walk you through the application and acceptance process and prepare you for your exciting connection. The steps you take and the requirements you fulfill may vary depending on the organization you work with. In general, au pair programs seek to:

  • Maintain the safety of both the au pair and host family
  • Find suitable matches for both the au pair and host family
  • Comply with U.S. regulations for au pairs

How Does an Au Pair Program Work?

If you're interested in hosting an au pair, you want to be as informed as possible about your experience. We've compiled a list of general steps you can expect when you partner with an au pair organization.

  • Application: One of the first steps when working with an au pair program is submitting your family application. Make sure you meet the requirements for the program, and take your time with the forms. Au pair organizations require candidates to submit their application forms with references, a health certificate, various tests and a background check.
  • In-home interviews: After you've submitted your application, your au pair program may want to conduct an in-home interview. This step helps make sure host families and au pairs can maintain a safe and healthy environment together.
  • Au pair selection: Eventually, the au pair program will allow you to begin selecting au pair candidates. The program may provide photos, detailed profiles and application information to help you find an individual who is a good match for your family.

  • Au pair interviews: When you've selected several candidates, you can interview them. These conversations allow you to connect with the au pairs and feel confident in your final decision. You can discuss your favored candidate with the au pair program to move forward with the process.
  • Orientation meeting: Before your au pair arrives, you may need to attend a training session. Your orientation may include information on insurance coverage, advice for making a smooth transition and more.
  • Au pair meeting and transition: Your au pair program may ask you to spend the first three days at home with your au pair and children to help facilitate the transition. As your au pair becomes acclimated with your home and her responsibilities, she can take on her full role. Some au pair programs, like EurAupair, provide a 12-month au pair stay. If a host family and au pair are incompatible after a set adjustment period, EurAupair can provide a replacement as soon as possible.
  • Au pair stay: Your au pair will follow guidelines for the amount of child care she can provide each day and week. Though each au pair situation is different, there are several ways for your au pair and child to bond. Your au pair may drive your children to school functions, cook them meals, complete activities with them and more. Regardless of what your experience looks like, you can enjoy the security of having child care from a trusted individual who is like a family member.
  • Au pair departure: Your au pair may stay for six months, a year or more depending on their availability and your needs. You may be able to extend your au pair's stay for an additional period if desired. Whatever the case, you can keep in touch with your au pair long after your partnership ends.

10 Tips for Au Pair Program Success

You'll want to make sure you follow the au pair program rules and communicate with your au pair during their stay. The following are some tips to help make your au pair application and experience a resounding success.

  1. Be as thorough as possible in your application: You can give your au pair the most accurate description of your family and her potential experience with a detailed application.
  2. Give your au pair a glimpse of your family: Your au pair may benefit from family photos, descriptions of the types of activities your family likes, information about your children and more.
  3. Highlight the ways your au pair can experience your community: You can pique your au pair's excitement by showing her the different attractions she can experience nearby.
  4. Take your time with the application: Your thoughtfulness can help convey your dedication to the program.
  5. Outline your expectations for the au pair's car usage: Include when and for what car use is appropriate.
  6. Explain how you would like to maintain your home: Keep in mind that your au pair may have different expectations and practices based on her culture.
  7. Discuss a reasonable schedule: Part of your au pair's experience is to spend time in the United States and learn more about the culture. Talk to your au pair to set a leisure and activity balance that gives her time to explore without impacting her responsibilities.
  8. Consider television and technology use: Communicate your expectations for when your au pair can watch TV and use her phone when she is on and off the clock.
  9. Establish rules for house guests: Your au pair may want to bring friends or loved ones home with her, and it can be helpful to set boundaries beforehand.
  10. When in doubt, communicate with your au pair: Throughout your au pair's stay, it's essential to keep an open line of communication. Do your best to allow for conversation and adjust as necessary.

How to Get an Au Pair

To begin your au pair process, you can take the following steps:

  1. Research different au pair programs you may want to work with.
  2. Learn more about what you can expect, including how long the au pair process takes.
  3. Begin your application and share the exciting news with your children.

Learn How to Find Au Pairs With EurAupair

An au pair program could be the perfect choice for your family, and EurAupair is ready to facilitate your journey. As a Department of State-designated program with a 30-year history, we offer trusted service. All of our candidates submit extensive security and health screenings to ensure your experience is safe and secure. 

If you're ready for an unforgettable adventure for the whole family, review our host qualifications and start your application today!


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