An Au Pair is an in-home domestic carer that will look after children and perform basic household duties. Very common in Europe and the USA, the au pair concept is growing in New Zealand.
The Au Pair-Family Relationship
Au au pair and will work part time or full time in return for a small allowance, and the accommodation and food of the home. The carer will most often be a foreign female, teenage to twenties, and will often also study part-time. The host
An Au Pair role is similar to that of a nanny. The term "au pair" is french and word means "on par" or "equal to". The au pair carer is traditionally treated as an equal member of the family, not just a worker in the house. They will have their own room and allowance, but will often eat all meals with the family and go on family outings.
Many families will hire au pairs for full time child card while the parents are at work. The au pair relationship can be beneficial for the children being cared for as the children remain at home, the au pair lives in the home, and is just like a third parent. In the evenings, the carer will usually leave the family and retire to their room or go out.
Au Pair Roles
An au pair will usually perform tasks such as:
Au pair is traditionally not classed as a childcare service. They are an in-home carer with a private agreement with one family for part or full time care and household duties. The agreement may include a mix of the above duties, it will depend on the agreement reached. The contract will usually last 6 - 12 months, although many can last multiple years.
Au Pair Benefits
Both the family and the carer benefit from the au pair role. The au pair is not treated as a servant or employee. The equal relationship means that the carer can somewhat relax in to their role and not feel the pressure of an employment environment. This is important as an au pair may be "on call" or available for care from early in the morning until after dinner time.
The au pair gets to travel, and visit the host country, and experience the culture. Their accommodation and food is mostly provided for, and the nature of the relationship means the carer is valued highly whereas a minimum wage job elsewhere may not be ideal for a foreigner.
The cost of outside daycare, preschool or early childhood education centres can be cost prohibitive - especially when there are several children. The family benefits from a lower cost for their childcare needs, as well as maintaining a homely environment for the children.
If you are a New Zealander and would like to become an au pair overseas you need to apply with an Au Pair Agency in the country you wish to travel to. You will have to go thru character checks. There are hundreds of au pair agencies and your best bet is to do a Google search for "au pair" + " the country you wish to travel to".
New Zealand Au Pair Agencies
If you live outside New Zealand and would like to become an au pair or learn more there are several NZ websites you can view. These local agencies recruit and check applicants around the world, who wish to work in New Zealand. Also use these sites if you are a New Zealand family looking for an international au pair to care for your children. Au Pair New Zealand agencies include: