An au pair is a young foreign person who works for and lives as part of a host family. Very often an au pair becomes a 'big sister' or ´big brother´ within a host family and will usually eat meals with the family and join in many of the family activities and outings. Au pairs travel to another country often to improve their foreign language skills and to gain a new cultural experience. Typically au pairs are young women between 17 and 27 years old (although in some cases they may be a little older and now more than ever males are choosing to become au pairs also). An au pair will take on a share of the day-to-day duties of the family including taking care of the children in exchange for board and pocket money.
There are many types of au pairs:
-STANDARD AU PAIR DEFINITION:
A standard au pair is an au pair that works up to 25 hours per week in the United Kingdom and 30 hours per week in Ireland.
-AU PAIR PLUS:
An au pair plus is an au pair that works longer hours than a standard au pair. An au pair plus can provide sole charge for your children during this time. An au pair plus will often be suitable for a family in which both parents are working and they therefore need someone to look after their children for a longer period of time. An au pair plus will generally have more childcare experience than a standard au pair or they may have been an au pair previously.
-DEMI AU PAIR:
A demi au pair works shorter hours than a standard au pair. This type of au pair may suit a family with older children who may only need a small amount of supervision after school or a family in which one of the parents is in the home full-time. A demi au pair position may suit an au pair from outside the EU, who has a student visa and must study for a minimum of 15 hours per week.
A Mother's Help will usually be aged over 20 years old. She can work 8 to 10 hour per day and English is either her mother tongue or she will be fluent in English and therefore does not need to attend English classes. She will have 1.5 to 2 days free per week, and will do 2 evenings of babysitting per week. A Mother's Help is not considered to be an au pair as she is not on a cultural exchange programme.