Au Pairs and Nannies: What’s the Difference?
With many au pair services being cancelled due to travel restrictions, various families are beginning to consider hiring a professional nanny. According to the International Nanny Association, an au pair is “a foreign national between the ages of 18-26” placed in US homes in order “to experience American life for up to 24 months.” Unlike nannies, au pairs only provide “limited childcare services (maximum of 10 hours per day, 45 hours per week).” They may also not be placed with infants under three months of age without supervision, and must have at least “200 or more hours of documented child care experience” before they can be placed with a child under two years of age, which is only 20 days of full-time child care work under au pair regulations.
Professional nannies, however, provide a deep understanding of child development and in-home care. With guidelines set by governing bodies such as the International Nanny Association, as well as individual nanny agencies, many professional nannies have specific and relevant credentials for their full-time in-home childcare services. At Nannies by Noa for example, we only consider candidates who have a previous three years of full-time or five years of part-time in-home experience, exceptional references, and a clean background that passes our comprehensive background test.
Where a Nanny Comes In
Limited international travel and visa issuances due to the COVID-19 pandemic have made reliable au pair services unattainable for many families in the US. With schools and daycares remaining closed into the foreseeable future, parents now find themselves searching for alternative childcare options.
Nannies — both live in and live out — present a solution to this problem as they provide greater family stability and a return to a new normal for households disrupted by the pandemic. With the nanny planning intellectual and stimulating activities for children, parents are allowed more downtime to destress from current uncertainties happening at the moment. Nannies can also provide emotional support geared toward children to help them process current world events. With unique backgrounds in subjects such as education, administration, and management, nannies often have extensive skills in scheduling, planning, teaching, and managing household tasks.
Top Five Cases to Consider a Nanny Right Now
Importantly, while they may appear to be similar, there are critical differences between an au pair and a nanny. These distinctions include financial implications, responsibilities, and levels of experience. While each family’s situation is unique, here are five reasons you may now want to consider hiring a professional nanny:
- Children can form a strong relationship with their nanny as their terms of employment can last beyond two years (as compared to an au pair’s limited 24-month time frame).
- Nannies reinforce schedules and structure set by parents for their children, especially important now that school is out and many summer plans have been cancelled.
- Stress levels are high around the world, and having a nanny at home to provide consistent support is a way overall stressors can be mitigated.
- Nannies are proactive rather than reactive: they are heavily focused on the development of children rather than simply providing custodial care.
- Nannies can often provide more flexibility when compared to other options, such as au pairs, babysitters, and daycares.
Give us a Call!
Even in the best of times, finding a trusted and diligent caretaker is challenging. If you’re considering transitioning and hiring a professional nanny, we are here to guide you through the process and set you up for success with your next childcare provider. We are an APNA approved agency and adhere to the highest possible standards for your family.