If you’ve ever thought about what it would be like to host an au pair in your home, the experts at Cultural Care Au Pair are dedicated to finding the right childcare match for families. Here, childcare consultant Kathy Lawrie answers the five most commonly asked questions about au pair childcare:

1. What is an au pair?

Not to be confused with a nanny, an au pair is a young adult (ages 18-26) from another country who lives with an American family. As part of a cultural exchange experience, they can stay in the U.S. for up to two years on a J-1 visa. During this time, they provide childcare and learn about American culture. By the end, an au pair feels like another family member! What’s more, because the program is overseen by the Department of State, there are regulations designed to protect both families and au pairs during their exchange year. Au pairs come from all over the world to live in states across the U.S.!


2. What are the benefits of hosting an au pair? What are the benefits host families may not know about?

Many families say that flexibility, cultural exchange, and peace of mind are their favorite benefits. For many families, the best thing about hosting an au pair is that it can allow for more flexibility than other forms of childcare. Based on Department of State regulations, an au pair can provide up to 45 hours per week and up to 10 hours per day of childcare. You get to decide what schedule they follow.

For example, families with school-aged children can schedule their au pairs to help in the mornings and afternoons along with some additional occasional weekend hours. Other parents may have a schedule that changes week to week based on shift work. While many families looking for childcare don’t consider this, our host families love the unique cultural exchange elements that come with hosting an au pair. Because au pairs come from all over the world, they can introduce your family to their language and culture—from food to songs to traditions. In exchange, your au pair can expose your entire family to their language and culture. We often hear families say that hosting an au pair helped their children become more curious about their world and environment!

Finally, live-in childcare helps build trust more quickly. After the short adjustment period, parents describe the peace of mind they feel with someone so attuned to their needs and routines.


3. What are the qualifications for hosting an au pair?

To host an au pair, families need to be able to provide a suitable, private bedroom, be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, and pass a criminal background check. But just as importantly, our host families embrace the spirit of cultural exchange! In other words, they treat their au pair as a family member, including them and thinking of their needs as they adjust to life in a new home. They also get excited about learning and sharing cultures!

4. What’s your advice to help families find a good match?

It is all about the connection. During the matching process, families can review detailed profiles using search filters to ensure they find a prospective au pair who meets their needs and fits their family’s personality. Host families can see the childcare experience, driving skills, personality traits, and interests to find a great match for their family. They can also interview au pairs several times via video call and have their children meet them.


5. Is hosting an au pair affordable?

For many families, hosting an au pair is more affordable than daycare or nannies. Plus, Cultural Care offers discounts for new and repeat families! The program cost starts at $1,775 per month. Additionally, host families need to cover hosting costs such as meals, an education stipend of $500 and additional insurance if necessary. Families can reach out to me for a promotion code to apply for free. I welcome the opportunity to discuss the program and ensure families have all the information they need to decide if the program is a fit for them.

If you are interested in learning more about hosting an au pair visit or contact Kathleen Lawrie at 201-675-3393.

Kathy Lawrie is a local Childcare Consultant who has been placing and servicing au pairs with families in New Jersey for almost 30 years. Her love of children extends to her three children and her preschool students at the Madison Rainbow Montessori School. She was inspired to start her career with Cultural Care Au Pair after her cultural and language experiences in Germany as an exchange student.