Category Archives: Is Au Pair Care right for me?

Program fees, application fees, travel costs–just how much does an au pair cost?

With Go Au Pair, a variety of services are bundled into one flat program fee, and families also pay the agency for travel fees (international and domestic air fare).

In addition to agency fees, families also pay their au pair a weekly stipend and contribute to their education.  All of these fees add up to an average cost of less than $350 per week per family, but these fees aren’t actually paid weekly–some fees are paid in larger installments before, during, and after your au pair’s arrival (flexible payment options are available to help spread out payments more).

An au pair is an excellent option, especially for families on a budget, but it can be a bit confusing to determine where au pair care fits into that budget.  Thankfully, Go Au Pair has put together a great video that goes over the costs involved.  Click the screenshot below to learn more about program pricing and watch the video!

Screenshot of Program Pricing video

Au Pairs take note: Indianapolis is a great host city!

When I lived abroad, the standard reaction to my revelation that I lived in Oklahoma was incredulity that I might live in a teepee (I did not, for the record!).  The big cities are usually pretty familiar–NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago.   My experience got me thinking that potential au pairs might not have heard of our city. 

So, when a host family asks to interview you and they are from Indianapolis, don’t be disheartened or worry that your year abroad will be dull because you’ve never heard of the place.  While it is true that Indianapolis isn’t quite so fast-paced as say, New York City, this city has a lot to offer, including friendly, welcoming people, beautiful historic districts, top notch educational institutions, great museums (including the biggest Children’s Museum in the world–but don’t let the name fool you, I have just as much fun there as my toddler!), and a varied and active artistic and culinary scene.

Plus, if you really want to visit a bigger city like Chicago, it’s a $1 MegaBus trip away.  Indianapolis is the best of both worlds–friendly and laid-back, but accessible.

Au Pairs, do you have a question about Indianapolis?  Feel free to ask in a comment!

Save money with Featured Country Au Pairs!

Did you know that Go Au Pair features a country each month?  If you are searching for an au pair, these country profiles offer great information, including demographic data and insights from families who have chosen au pairs from that country.

Plus, if you match with an au pair from the country in the month it is featured, you save $100 off your program fees.

This month, the featured country is Colombia, a Spanish-speaking nation, and the home to 2012’s Au Pair in Excellence Award winner.

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What happens when the year ends?

Goodbyes are never easy, but they are required when you have an au pair.  Au pairs come to the U.S. for a year, and they become part of your family.  Some families and au pairs are such a great fit that they choose to extend together for a second year.  This isn’t required, of course, as some au pairs have educational or career aspirations that they’d like to pursue back home.  Other au pairs would like to continue in the au pair program, but wish to experience a new culture with a family in a different region.  And some families want to introduce yet another culture to their children by seeking a new au pair each year.

So, what if you want to extend your time with your au pair?  Or, with a new au pair?
The first step is to discuss it with him/her–is another year right for your au pair?  If you and your au pair agree, let me know.  The process of extending or renewing is pretty simple, and will include a short (re-)interview.  If you’re planning to find a new au pair, start your search early so that you have plenty of time to interview potential au pairs and find the perfect fit for your family, again!

Does getting an au pair take forever?

It’s tricky to estimate the time it takes to get an au pair, as it is dependent on a variety of factors including your family’s needs, the way in which you interview candidates, and the visa process.  Some families take a few days, others a few months to interview candidates and find the perfect fit.  And each country’s visa process is different.  So, what do you do if you want to use au pair care, but you need someone soon?

Did you know there are au pairs who are already in the U.S?  Eliminating the visa acquisition process and inbound travel makes an au pair more realistic for a family in need of childcare on a tighter schedule.  Some au pairs are ready to start an extension year with a new family, like Leydi from Mexico, who spent her first year with a family in Utah and is hoping to find a new family soon.  Other au pairs’ host families have had a transition (relocation, changing childcare needs) that necessitate an early end to their placement with that family.  There are over a dozen au pairs available to transfer or extend right now.

Need an au pair soon?  You can view Available Au Pairs for free any time (choose “in country au pairs” to see caregivers that have already arrived in the U.S.).  Streamline the process of interviewing by checking out these tips from the goAUPAIR blog, and your family could welcome a great caregiver sooner than you think!

Is an Au Pair right for you?

The short answer is probably, “yes.”  There are a lot of factors we working parents consider when selecting a childcare provider, but the two main concerns that spring to mind are Quality of Care and Cost.

As I discovered while researching options before my first child was born, if you happen to have a work schedule that is not the standard M-F, 9-5, Flexibility suddenly overrides all other concerns.

If you haven’t considered Au Pairs, you should!

Quality of Care is excellent.

Au Pairs are screened with background checks and goAuPair even administers a psychometric screening.  These care providers have previous childcare experience and they live-in, so they are able to provide personalized care that complements your parenting style and introduces your children to a new culture and language.

Cost is lower than you think.

Courtesy of Tracey_O on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/tracy_olson/61056391/

Au Pair care is not just for the rich–the cost is less than $8/hour on average, for up to 45 hrs./week of child care.  If you have more than one child, au pair care beats traditional day care hands down, as there are no additional fees for siblings.  Au Pairs care for all the children in your family at one rate.

Unlike other agencies, with goAuPair, you can view available Au Pairs for free, so you can make an informed decision about your childcare options without paying fees.

It can’t get much more flexible.

If you choose an au pair, s/he can work up to 10 hours per day and up to 45 hours per week.  If you have a schedule that changes from day to day or week to week, or you work weekends, that’s not a problem.  You set the weekly schedule for your au pair based on your needs.

Need more information?

Comment with your questions or visit the goAuPair Blog.

Childcare « The Primary Dilemma | The Choices Working Mothers Make offers an excellent overview of childcare options for working parents.