An au pair is a live-in childcare-giver who is there to make life run more smoothly. Mornings will be a breeze as you can focus on preparing yourself for work while your au pair will get your children ready for the day in a relaxed way without the usual stress and frustration. And no more stressing about rushing home for pick-up and then wracking your brain over what to cook for the kids that night – your au pair can have them fed and bathed so when you get home, you can simply spend quality time with them before bed.

Of course, the exact day-to-day duties of each au pair will differ from family to family depending on the age of your children, your lifestyle and job arrangements. An au pair’s standard duties are 35-40 hours per week of mostly childcare, plus some light child-related household work.

During the Skype interview process, it is most essential that you discuss and address your expectations so that both you and your au pair are clear about the duties you would like them to perform. This ensures there are no misunderstanding before your au pair arrives.

Duties

Some typical au pair duties include:

  • Daycare / school / kindy pick-ups and drop-offs
  • Outings including trips to the park, playdates/playgroups and extra-curricular activities
  • Meal preparation for children (including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)
  • Loading and unloading dishwasher and cleaning up after meals
  • Bathing and dressing
  • Play, games, craft activities and homework
  • Help with light daily housework, related to the children (such as children’s laundry, making children’s beds, cleaning up children’s dishes, etc.)
  • Babysitting for parent ‘date nights’ and accompanying you on family holidays.

Can they do more housework?

An au pair’s primary role is to care for your children and assist with child-care related chores such as tidying children's room, making their beds, preparing their meals, cleaning up the kitchen after the preparation of meals or doing the children’s laundry. Some au pairs may be happy to do some additional chores such as laundry and vacuuming, however this should be established early through the screening process and made clear in your family agreement.

Here’s how an au pair can help at different stages

New baby

An au pair can be especially helpful in juggling the demands of a newborn and other small children, particularly if you don’t have family close by. You can spend time bonding with your new baby, while an au pair gives your other children the time and attention they are craving, as well as helping you out with light household duties to keep things running smoothly.

Pre-school & primary

While daycare can be an option, it is becoming more expensive, especially with multiple children, and can still result in a stressful lifestyle, trying to return to work while factoring in school pick-ups and drop-offs, after-school activities, play dates, homework, illnesses and so on, all while still running the household. Children of this age really love bonding with their ‘big sister’ and appreciate being cared for in their familiar household environment.

Teenagers

While it can be easy to disregard the need for an au pair with teenagers, it can actually be one of the most beneficial times to have an au pair in the house. During some of the most important and influential schooling years of their life, parents can rest assured that someone is there to make sure homework is being completed, extra-curricular activities are being attended and that their teenager has a role model to talk to if they are feeling stressed about school, friends or relationships.