Au Pair vs. Live-In Nanny in Pandemic

Work and life balance is not a walk in the park. When you have kids, it adds another layer of complexity to your life. Choosing the right care option for them when you need to work will allow you to have that peace of mind, knowing your loved ones are safe.

Now, with Corona-virus (COVID-19), it has highlighted a renewed but different focus on household employment. With working from home and kids learning at home, you may find limited options to safeguard the ones you love so much during the time of challenges. 

Live-in household helpers will probably be the best bet to limit exposure to COVID-19 if you are looking for help full time while working. You have probably heard friends or the neighborhood parents rave about their loyal nanny or a new au pair. However, know that what is right for one family does not mean it may be right for you. 

So which option is right for you and your family then? We prepared some analysis that may help you make an inform decision. 

Au Pairs: What Are They?

An au pair is a young adult between 18 and 27 years. The au pair program will allow them to travel to a foreign country for a stated period and stay with the host family, in order to experience and learn about culture and language. In exchange, the au pair supports the host family by providing child care and light housework in exchange for some stipend, food and accommodation. It is important to note that au pairs are not experienced nannies or professionals. In terms of fees, the host families pay au pair fees for their services ($800+/month) in addition to the au pair agency fees (about $700–800/month depending on agencies). Au pairs are not allowed to work over 45 hours a week per government regulation.

Nannies: What Are They?

A nanny is a person whose job is to nurture and care for children. Their job scope usually involves kids’ physical, intellectual and emotional development, and keep them in a safe environment. Some nannies do cooking and light housework. For live-in nannies, they will be provided with lodging and food. The rate is dependent on their experience, background, and local living standards. In general, their rates are between 10–18/hr as live-in nannies. There are no hour restrictions as long as they have agreed upon and are compensated accordingly.

Au Pair or Live-In Nannies?

To examine which option is better for your family in COVID-19, you will first need to start from what your family can flex during this time.

For many families, COVID-19 resulted in more strict house rules such as staying indoor as much as possible and limiting interaction public crowds from getting exposure to the virus. 

To many of the au pairs, their sole purpose of visiting the host country is to experience and learn about culture and language. Going to places and making friends will outweigh the priority of the childcare duty. Many parents expressed that not every au pair was willing to follow stricter house rules. If you choose the route to hire an au pair, it is very important for you to specify these requirements ahead of time so there isn’t any misunderstanding during the match.

A live-in nanny’s profession is child care and help manage household chores. Child’s safety and following parents’ instruction come first to them. Families’ satisfaction is key to them as they are usually looking for a stable and long term position. Additionally, their next job opportunity may also come from the current family from referrals or recommendations. For them, they will make sure what they do is aligned to family needs, including your house rules.

Once you determine what you can accept or can’t for your family during the challenging time, then the selection of the route will become more clear. 

The Bottom Line

If you are looking to hire a full time live-in helper and can’t flex your rules, then in our humble opinion hiring a live-in nanny is most likely a safer option given the nature of the profession. 

As many parents are working from home and unable to tend to the online learning lessons, live-in nannies often play the role of a second parent to make sure kids stick to school routines and work on online lessons. They often can help parents solve “what to cook for dinner” worries when asked. 

If cultural impact is important to you, then hiring a bilingual live-in nanny or a nanny who speaks a different language such as a Chinese speaking nanny will help your kiddos expose to another culture and learn another language.

AyiConnection is a platform to connect families with helpers who can provide language assistance in addition to care. You can engage and book them through us. Concierge 1:1 Elite service is also available for busy professionals who don't have time or need language assist. Check us out on ayiconnection.com.