This post is sponsored by our partners at Au Pair in America.

The last two years have been incredibly stressful for working parents who rely on child care and other family support services in order to maintain their busy schedules. What happens when a babysitter quits? What happens when a child care center closes, or worse, doesn’t have availability for your family? Parents are left scrambling and wondering if it’s even possible to grow a family while maintaining their careers. What if we told you that there is a Boston-area child care alternative that you might not have considered yet?

Introducing Au Pair in America!

Family photo in fieldWhat is an Au Pair?

Au pairs (French translation for “on par” or “equal to”) are young people, typically women, between the ages of 18 and 26, who provide child care assistance as part of a cultural exchange program which is regulated by the United States Department of State.

Designed to be flexible to fit your family’s unique needs, au pairs can provide up to 45 hours per week of child care assistance, up to 10 hours per day over the course of 5.5 days per week. Au pairs become a true support system for your family, and can take on other household duties related to the care of your children. Imagine an extra set of hands for kids laundry, dishes, meal prep, and tidying up! If you often find yourself running from school to school or sport to sport, au pairs can assist with things like drop off, sports practice, and playdates because they are required to have a driver’s license. 

For younger children who are not yet in school, au pairs provide opportunities for language learning, enrichment and other educational activities at home. For school-aged children, au pairs may help their host children with at-home or virtual school work. This service may be particularly interesting to working families who struggled during pandemic quarantines without the aid of an additional adult in the home. 

Au pair reading to toddler boyAnd while these benefits might have you wondering “where do I sign up?”, it’s supremely important to mention a key differentiating piece of hosting an au pair with Au Pair in America – the cultural exchange experience! When you host an au pair in your home, you are introducing your family to another culture’s food, language, holidays, and much more!

A Real Mom’s Experience

“Having an au pair has been instrumental in our ability to continue to work from home and, at times, work in the office. As everyone knows, work from home still requires creating some semblance of a productive and professional environment conducive to focus, professionalism, and productivity. This would be nearly impossible without an au pair.” -Wendy L, Acton, MA mother

Program Options

  1. Au Pair |  The flagship Au Pair program is the most popular choice for host families, providing flexible, affordable and intercultural live-in care for infants, toddlers and school-aged children. Au pairs may provide up to 45 hours of child care assistance per week and up to 10 hours per day. These candidates have at least 200 hours of recent, practical child care experience and have earned a minimum of a secondary school diploma or equivalent. Every au pair candidate must possess a valid driver’s license and submit a medical report, and all have successfully passed a background investigation which includes verification of schooling, references, a psychometric test and a criminal record check.
  2. Extraordinaire | In addition to standard requirements for the au pair program, Extraordinaire candidates either have also completed a full-time, two-year academic course in child care or are at least 20 years old with two years of full-time experience as a nanny, child care provider or nursery school teacher. An Extraordinaire Au Pair can provide child care assistance for up to 45 hours per week, as well.
  3. EduCare | The EduCare au pair program provides child care assistance for up to 30 hours per week and is a cost-effective choice for families with children in school full-time who require fewer hours of care. Just like Au Pair and Extraordinaire candidates, EduCare au pairs must meet all relevant education, experience, and screening requirements.

What Does it Cost?

Woman holding toddler on hipYou can find a full list of fees on the Au Pair in America fee chart here.

Child care is a major expense for many families. As a line item in many household budgets in Greater Boston, parents are carefully weighing the support services they employ with cost and effectiveness. Hosting an au pair might actually be more cost-effective than any other form of child care, and here are a few reasons why! 

  1. The cost of hosting an au pair is the same whether you have one child or multiple children.
  1. One child care provider = no need for weekday daycare AND weekend babysitters. As a host family, you can rely on your au pair for up to 45 hours per week to meet your family’s needs!
  1. Unexpected child care needs are covered! Snow days, sick days, random school closings – you’re covered with your au pair!
  1. Peace of mind leads to a better work/life balance. Knowing you have reliable live-in child care allows for working parents to better compartmentalize the demands of growing a career alongside of growing a family!

Au pair with childrenYour Next Steps

To host an au pair, families must meet a few requirements. Host families must be U.S. citizens or legal residents, live in an Au Pair in America “cluster” area (like Boston!), provide a private room and three meals per day and pass a background check. 

If you meet this requirements and au pair child care sounds like an option for your family (we hope it does!), here’s how to contact Au Pair in America to learn more!

Visit Au Pair in America Website
Phone: (800) 928-7247
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @theaupairinamerica
Facebook: @aupairinamerica

Meghan Block
Meghan was born and raised on the South Shore and attended college in Boston. After college, she married her high school sweetheart and followed him to Charleston, SC, and Groton, CT, where he served as a submarine officer in the United States Navy. Military life was an adventure, and after six crazy years of service (and two babies later!), the pair decided to move *home* to the South Shore in 2016 and put down some roots. Meghan is the proud owner of Boston Moms and work-at-home mom to William, Benjamin, and Caroline, born in 2013, 2015 and 2019. She loves meeting new people, encouraging moms, celebrating motherhood, and supporting small businesses.