How to Choose the Right Au Pair Program for Your Family’s Needs

How to Choose the Right Au Pair Program for Your Family's Needs

Choosing an au pair is a big decision. You are entrusting someone with your children’s lives. This person should be like a family member.

It is important to know what your non-negotiables are before you begin searching. Your match should fit your family’s schedule and lifestyle well, whilst the au pair cost should also fit your budget. Here are some more things you may need to consider:


As you type “find au pair” into Google, you’ll be instantly overwhelmed with agencies toting all sorts of facts and promises. Choosing an agency with a high reputation and a demonstrated track record of placing au pairs in pleasant, long-term ties with families is crucial.

It’s also crucial to note that not all au pairs are made equal. Some are more experienced and can handle various duties, while others might be better suited to certain ages or family situations. Some have special expertise, like language and cultural learning or caring for children with autism spectrum disorders or ADHD. Others have medical training and experience. Some Au pair programs offer a strong network of candidates with extensive experience with autism, neurological conditions, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, diabetes, and more.

Reputable au pair programs offer ongoing support throughout the year, in addition to screening and matching. This includes monthly meetings with a counselor to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Many families use their au pair for years, even decades. The au pair program was first established in the United States to provide stability and continuity of child care. Families can rely on the program’s regulations set by the State Department to protect au pairs from being exploited. In addition, all au pairs should have access to a local representative close by in case of an emergency or if they need guidance navigating the new relationship.


Choosing the right au pair is a huge decision for any family, but it’s even more important considering that your Au Pair will live with your children. For this reason, you should clearly understand your family’s needs and what you are willing to compromise on to find an ideal candidate.

Knowing your non-negotiables, from childcare to household duties, can help you filter out candidates who won’t fit your family. It’s also critical to be upfront about your expectations from the beginning so that the au pair has a realistic image of the position.

If the family you’re considering has already employed an au pair, asking them about their experience is a good idea. They may not only give insight into the benefits and drawbacks of the arrangement, but they can also share practical advice on how to make the most of your time together as a family.

Au Pair International is a smaller agency that prioritizes its relationships with au pairs and host families. This means its local representatives are typically only responsible for about 15 families at a time, giving them ample opportunity to build rapport with both parties and ensure all issues are handled efficiently.


Finding the right au pair for your family requires time and energy. Reviewing profiles, doing video interviews, and debriefing with your spouse are all part of the process. The goal is to find an au pair who will be your children’s family member. This will require a personality that works well with your children’s temperaments. It would help if you were comfortable leaving the au pair alone in your home or going on weekend outings with her.

To help with the search, you should be clear about your needs and deal breakers from the beginning. This will save you the time and disappointment of a bad match. For example, if you don’t want your au pair to play with the kids on the weekends, it is important to say so upfront. Otherwise, your au pair may feel shut out and resentful when her host family takes her away on family outings.

Another factor is to consider the length of time an agency has been in business. This can provide confidence in the quality of their vetting process, training opportunities, and cost structures. Additionally, many agencies have local coordinators to assist au pairs and hosts with issues. For example, au couples with health concerns can speak with the regional coordinator, who can refer them to the appropriate medical care.


Finding an agency that takes your au pair relationship seriously is important. This means they do extensive background checks on the au pairs and families and offer ongoing support for everyone involved. This includes monthly meetings with an au pair counselor for all parties to make sure the arrangement is working out as planned, and it also helps families address any issues that come up along the way.

This support is especially helpful in times of conflict or distress, like when one of the children gets sick. If you’re experiencing financial stress, the agency should be able to help with resources for food and other basic needs. They should also be available for consultations and willing to answer your questions and concerns promptly.

The right agency should also have an easy-to-use database that allows you to search by au pair name or program and provides the information you need to make an informed decision. This should include contact information, experience level, a summary of their education, references, and more. They should also be able to tell you what languages they speak, if they have any previous childcare experience, and whether or not they have a valid driver’s license.

Another thing to consider is whether or not the agency you choose is local. This can make a difference because it allows the agency to get to know au pairs and families well. It also often means that the agency’s representatives can visit you in person to help with the match process.

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