2020-10-23

Which option is better for creating a Bilingual and Multicultural environment for your child?

Want to expose your child to a second language or new culture? Having a bilingual live-in nanny or an au pair can be a great way to immerse your child in bilingual education, in a safe, and loving environment. 

 For those who may not have experience with these types of caregivers, a bilingual live-in nanny is a household employee who is already a resident of the family’s native country who provides childcare and housework on an agreed-upon basis. On the other hand, an au pair is a young adult who obtains a visa and goes abroad to live with a native family in exchange for childcare. However, one key difference between these caregivers is that the purpose of a bilingual nanny is generally to share language and promote bilingual education, while the purpose of an au pair is to share culture. Au pairs generally take on their role in order to live in another country and experience a new language themselves, not necessarily to create an environment that fosters bilingual kids. While both options can be an enriching experience for families and their children, there are certain benefits to having a live-in nanny as opposed to an au pair. 

Overall, a live-in bilingual nanny is a caregiver whose duties and responsibilities are agreed upon by the nanny and employer. Though a nanny may be slightly more expensive than an au pair, they are often able to provide an increased level of care. For example, bilingual nannies may be able to help more with household chores such as cooking and cleaning as there are less restrictions on the duties they are able to perform. Live-in nannies also have no work hour restrictions outside of the country’s labor laws and can perform services such as working overtime. An au pair on the other hand, has a maximum permitted number of working hours per week along with other constraints, and their household role is to act as more of a childcare assistant than a primary caregiver. 

Generally, a bilingual live-in nanny may be a better option for families with younger children, or families who are looking to immerse their child in bilingual education. In contrast, an au pair may be better suited for a family with older children looking for light help who want to expose their kids to another culture, but not necessarily foster a learning environment that promotes bilingual kids. 

From a budget standpoint, having an au pair instead of a bilingual live-in nanny can be more cost efficient, but the lower price also comes with its own obstacles. The process of hiring an au pair can be very time consuming, and not every au pair will have childcare experience. Similarly, as the au pair will be moving from another country, there is no way to trial the individual to see if they are a good fit for your family. Though the cost of a bilingual live-in nanny may be $1000 or more than an au pair, the hiring process can be easier and gives you the opportunity to establish a sense of trust with an individual before bringing them into your home to interact with your children. 

Overall, having bilingual live-in help can be an incredibly effective way to introduce your child to a second language, or allow them to form a positive relationship with a caregiver from a different culture.  While there are positives and negatives to both bilingual live-in nannies and au pairs, many families find that a live-in nanny is a better option due to their expanded capabilities, and the fact that many nannies tend to be more mature in age and have more experience with childcare. Furthermore, many parents find it highly beneficial for their children to have access to the natural environment of bilingual education that comes with having a live-in nanny. However, each family is different when it comes to the type of care they are looking for, and what’s really important is creating a nurturing bilingual, or multicultural, environment for your child. 


AyiConnect 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. Schedule a free consultation here for our concierge service, or check us out on ayiconnection.com.