What is an Au Pair?

philadelphia au pairWhat is an au pair? If you answered, “a nanny for rich families,” you would not be alone. This is one of the many common misconceptions people have about au pairs.

In fact, an au pair is a young adult from another country who lives with your family and provides one-on-one live-in child care services in exchange for room and board and a stipend. It is a child care option that is competitively priced with other child care solutions, such as nannies, babysitters and day care centers – with some additional benefits.

Before you rule out an au pair program as a child care option for your family, here is a quick guide that will help you better understand the program.

Myth:  Having an au pair is only for high income families

Fact:  Hosting an au pair is an affordable child care program for many families across the country. At an average weekly cost of $350 per family, not per child, the au pair program is an especially affordable child care alternative for families with multiple children. Because au pairs provide live-in child care and work up to 45 hours per week, you have the ability to customize your au pairs’ work schedule based on when you need child care.

Myth:  Au pairs are not screened or regulated
Fact:  All au pair agencies are regulated by the U.S. Department of State and require that au pairs are thoroughly screened, interviewed, tested on English competency, and undergo a comprehensive criminal, personal and professional background check. In addition, many au pairs agencies require au pairs to have first aid and child development training.

Myth: Au pairs don’t speak English
Fact: While au pairs come from many different countries around the world, all au pairs are required to be proficient in spoken English, as regulated by the U.S. Department of State. Au pair agencies conduct an English competency test for all au pair applicants and interview them in English prior to accepting them into the au pair program. Families also have the opportunity to interview au pairs over the phone or on Skype prior to employment.

Myth: International au pairs are all women
Fact: An au pair is any young adult from another country who exchanges child care services for room and board and a stipend. All government-regulated au pair agencies recruit both male and female au pairs. Au pair agencies want to ensure that families can select an au pair that matches their particular needs, skills and background.

Myth: Au pairs are babysitters that speak another language
Fact: Unlike a babysitter, an au pair provides ongoing child care up to 45 hours per week, according to a family’s needs. Au pairs can also perform light household duties associated with children. For example, they can prepare and clean up after meals, do children’s laundry, make the children’s beds, and organize the children’s playrooms/toys. Having an au pair’s assistance with these day-to-day tasks allows you to spend more quality time with your family. In addition, since au pairs are from another country, they provide children and families with a unique window into another culture, sharing games, stories and songs from their home countries.

Myth: Au Pairs only want to learn English and travel Fact: There are many legal ways for an international person to obtain a visa to the U.S. and travel or learn English. Au pairs are interested in child care and have a love of children. In addition, they have a desire to improve their English, life skills and obtain improved employment opportunities when they return to their home country after the program.

To learn more about hosting an au pair and for a FREE APPLICATION contact your local Area Director, Michele Greenockle, at 267-288-5908 or mgreenockle@aupaircare.com.

AuPair Care And Raising Culturally Aware Children

Ten Tips for Culturally Aware Children

Many children start to show an interest in different cultures at a young age, whether through ethnic food, friends at school, unique clothes, or hearing a foreign language spoken for the first time. Here are 10 ways to encourage your child’s curiosity and teach them about a variety of cultures in fun and interactive ways.

  1. Read bedtime stories that take place in another country or include some foreign words, so you can practice pronunciation.
  2. Host an international au pair as your childcare solution. You can use matching agencies like AuPairCare, which have au pairs from more than 40 countries.
  3. Enroll your child in a cultural dance or martial arts class, such as Bollywood, Flamenco or Capoeira.
  4. Enroll your child in foreign language classes for kids.
  5. Plan art activities for your child based on different cultures such as Japanese calligraphy, Chinese paper cut outs, and Puerto Rican Ponce Carnival Masks.
  6. Cook and try new foods inspired by other cultures with your children, or enroll them in cooking classes like Cooking Up Culture.
  7. Plan a heritage party for your children and their friends, and encourage each child to bring food and games from their family’s heritage.
  8. Watch family-friendly movies that take place in another country.
  9. Listen to popular music from different cultures while in the car, or teach your kids a simple song in a foreign language.
  10. Attend local festivals and parades that celebrate different cultures such as Cinco de Mayo, Carnival, Chinese New Year, and Bastille Day.

Children are little sponges, taking in the world around them with eagle eyes and curious minds,” said Sarah McNamara, vice president of AuPairCare and a mother of two. “This curiosity is a great thing and should be cultivated through as many avenues as possible, in an effort to raise a globally and culturally aware next generation.” AuPairCare’s local Area Director, Michele Greenockle, has worked with children, adolescents, and adults from all different countries. She is an ESL teacher, has run high-school exchange programs, and now works with au pairs and host families in Bucks & Montgomery Counties. “I have seen the value of children and adults learning from different cultures throughout our world. We share one world, yet so many languages, traditions, holidays, and customs. As an Area Director I have seen families bond with the au pairs from countries like Brazil, South Africa, Poland, France, and so many others. Children who grow up with an au pair soak in more than a new language, but they receive an education right in their own home about a country on the other side of the world! The cultural exchange aspect of an au pair living with an American host family is what personally drew me to AuPairCare, and I’ve enjoyed watching families embrace the new cultures and welcome au pairs as members of their families into their home!”

One host family from Yardley has opened their home to an au pair from France for this past year. Host mother Devree Molnar shared, “We have had an opportunity to build a familial connection with our au pair Lucie. It is incredible to experience a connection that would have never been possible–one that transcends culture, language and geography! My daughter will for the rest of her life benefit from the program. At 16 months, she already understands and speaks some French!  This will be a lifelong skill and one that I trust will open many doors for her in the future.”

Au pairs come from over 40 countries around the world, and they provide up to 45 hours of live-in childcare that’s affordable, quality, and flexible for just $350/week regardless of the number of children. In addition to providing loving care to their host family’s children, they also teach them games, words, and traditional songs from their home countries. Educating children about different cultures and languages from a young age is important in our increasing global society, and an au pair is a unique way to provide your children with a world perspective. AuPairCare has matched more than 50,000 au pairs with American families across the U.S. To learn more about hosting an au pair and for a FREE APPLICATION contact your local Area Director, Michele Greenockle, at 267-288-5908 or mgreenockle@aupaircare.com.

Facebook Eyes: Why You Can’t Mom Compare

20150304_135435Facebook has become a wonderful tool for moms to connect with other moms. Connection is wonderful, but we might also begin to see each others’ lives through Facebook eyes – eyes that only see the positive updates and Pinterest worthy pictures. I know I try hard to keep a positive attitude, to not put anyone down and to encourage other moms. In that effort sometimes it seems that life is peachy and that I have it together, but really I am simply trying to post appropriately to my social media accounts. When we see just the Facebook appropriate posts it is easy to compare these tidbits with our reality. When we see our friend’s homemade pancakes our kid’s cereal bar suddenly seems like a breakfast fail. What we fail to compare is that you got your preschooler to school on time while your husband was out of town, the fact that your kid even ate breakfast is a win! Continue reading

Enjoying Your Kids

I spend a lot of time encouraging parents to enjoy their newborns but recently it dawned on me that I need to really enjoy my children at all of their stages. It can be easy to get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sports, homework and housework that we forget to actually spend quality time enjoying our children. Here are a few tips for enjoying your children at all ages. Continue reading

Sleep Training, Right or Wrong?

IMG_20150109_132916A question so many parents and experts wonder is, is sleep training right or wrong? The simplest answer, it is neither. Sleep training is such a broad term and can mean so many things. When it comes to the term sleep training, closing the door at 8 pm on your five week old and not opening it until 8 am is often lumped together with gently night weaning your eleven month old. One is not recommending by most experts as a five week old usually needs night feeds and care in order to thrive while the other is unlikely to impact their growth and well being. Continue reading

The Holidays With Little Ones

xmastreelexThe holidays are a time of cheer, family time and….fussy babies? Our Decembers are often filled with errands, visitors, stress and travel – all things that can make for overtired and overstimulated babies. While we do need to slow down when we have children it is still possible to have a full holiday season and happy babies. Here are a few tips for enjoying the holiday season with children: Continue reading

Ten Things That Make A Mom Feel Like A Superhero

At times, just getting to the end of the day with a shred of sanity makes you feel like a superhero, and rightfully so! Sometimes though,  little things remind you of your awesome super parent powers.

1. Nothing says supermom more than successfully transferring a sleeping infant from the car to the house. I can’t be the only mom that does a little victory dance when that would be carseat power nap magically transforms into two hours of blissful silence. For most this is a very rare occurrence and deserves nothing less than a tip toe victory dance to celebrate your awesomeness. Continue reading

Bed-sharing, Is It Safe?


Adding a new addition to your family often means life revolving around getting enough sleep to function.  Some families find co-sleeping (baby within arms reach but not necessarily on a shared surface) and bed-sharing to aid in the quest of adequate sleep during life with an infant.  With PSA campaigns, advice from family and varying recommendations from healthcare providers it can be confusing to decide what sleep arrangement works best for your family. Continue reading