Au Pair Program
Having an au pair in your family provides you with flexibility and control:
- Extended care: unlike traditional childcare options with fixed hours, an au pair provides care beyond regular business hours. You have the flexibility to schedule their assistance as needed, accommodating your work schedule or any unforeseen circumstances.
- Personalised care: an au pair provides one-to-one and family-orientated care for your children in the familiar and comforting environment of your home. They can tailor their approach to meet the unique needs of each child, ensuring personalised attention and care.
- Last-minute changes: if your child is sick or there are unexpected changes to your daily routine, having a live-in au pair allows for immediate and seamless adjustments. There's no need to worry about finding alternative childcare solutions or scrambling to rearrange your schedule. Just talk to your au pair and request some additional help.
- All children: If you have school-age children and littles ones at home, your au pair can care for both without any additional costs. Your au pair can help with before and after-school care, homework and manage transportation to and from school or extra activities. This flexibility ensures that all your childrens’ needs are met throughout the whole day.
- Household management: in addition to childcare, au pairs can assist you with light housework related to the children, such as tidying their rooms, doing their laundry or preparing simple meals. This support lightens the load of household responsibilities giving you more time and flexibility to focus on the things that count.
Your dedicated au pair can assist with a range of tasks, including:
- Assisting with waking up the children, dressing, washing, bathing, and preparing them for the day before or after nursery, playgroup, or school.
- Teaching the kids how to tidy their room and make their beds.
- Preparing breakfast, lunch, after-school snacks or simple evening meals for the children and occasional cooking for the whole family.
- Taking care of breakfast dishes and managing dishwasher duties.
- Ensuring that the children have their books, homework, and sports gear organised.
- Transporting the children to and from school, sports activities and playdates by car, walking, or using public transportation.
- Assisting with light housework, children's laundry, running errands, and assisting with shopping during school hours.
- Offering support with homework.
- Arranging playtime and organising various activities for the children.
- Assisting children during bath time and preparing them for bed.
With Smart Au Pairs, you can rely on the expertise and assistance needed to ensure a seamless experience with your au pair, enabling your family to thrive.
The responsibilities of an au pair should not exceed 35 hours per week. However, if there is a need for additional assistance, such as during school holidays or when you have a sick child who needs to stay home for a few days, it is recommended host families arrange some extra time off during another week or additional pocket money as required.
By arranging the schedule in this way, it allows for a balanced workload for the au pair while ensuring that any unexpected circumstances or increased demands are addressed. Open communication with your au pair will help in finding mutually agreeable solutions for managing any additional support needed.
The majority of host families require their au pair to drive as part of their au pair duties including school drop offs, sporting activities and play dates. If you require a driver, we will present you with candidates who hold a valid driving license from their home country. Most of our Gold or Diamond au pairs have a driver’s license.
We recommend that all host families arrange a few driving lessons with an independent instructor to assess driving skills, familiarise the au pair with the local area, applicable road rules, and common routes like the school run. The host family is responsible for appropriate insurance coverage and should cover general car expenses. It can take time for au pairs to feel comfortable driving on Australian roads, so please be patient – it’s all very new to them.
Au Pairs can certainly prepare meals, snacks and lunchboxes for the kids. Some will even be willing to cook an occasional meal for the family. Please remember, that your au pair is not a professional chef. Most will have very limited cooking experience and will need to be shown their way around the kitchen. Many Host Families arrange meal box services such as Hello Fresh or Marley Spoon to assist their au pair. These services provide food and instructions that au pairs can follow. It is important to remember that cooking family/adult meals is generally the responsibility of host parents. Although some au pairs will willingly take over on some nights, this should not be expected.
Please keep in mind that this program is designed for cultural exchange, providing the au pair an opportunity to enhance their language skills and become part of the family. Cleaning tasks should generally be undertaken by a professional cleaner.
Au pairs are more than willing to help with tasks related to the children and daily routines, such as stacking the dishwasher, wiping countertops, packing school bags, doing laundry for the kids, preparing kids’ meals and organising their toys. Au pairs should not be expected to clean or tidy parents’ personal bedrooms or assist with their personal laundry. Household tasks should generally be limited to one hour per day. Most host families engage a professional cleaner to thoroughly clean the house on a regular basis.
In addition to the weekly pocket money, your family should consider the following costs:
- Full board of 3 meals a day, 7 days a week.
- A fully furnished and private bedroom.
- Internet access and other home amenities for au pair.
- Completion payment at the end of 6 months.
- Collection from the International Airport (or onward travel arrangement).
- Car insurance and driving lesson(s) if car usage is necessary.
These additional expenses are important to consider when planning for the au pair program.
Au pairs are typically in good health and physical condition. As au pairing is considered a Cultural Exchange program rather than employment, there are no specific guidelines from IAPA (International Au Pair Association) regarding sick leave.
It is however, expected that the au pair be provided with their standard weekly pocket money for occasional sick days. It would be best to have a direct discussion with your au pair to determine what would be fair in terms of compensation, taking into consideration the duration and severity of the illness. If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to contact us. We are happy to assist.
All au pairs are responsible for covering the costs of their flights to Australia, visa application fees, and obtaining travel insurance. You are responsible for arranging and covering the airport collection of your au pair upon their arrival. This ensures a seamless transition and a warm welcome for the au pair into their new host family. We encourage you to show and explain your au pair how to use the public transport and where to buy a public transport card, this is at their own expense.
The majority of our au pairs have competent English language skills. We offer au pair candidates from several countries including; Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Sweden, Peru, Ecuador and Argentina.
Most of our au pairs are not only eager to experience family life in Australia but also enthusiastic about further developing their English language skills. Generally, au pairs from Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia possess nearly fluent English skills, and living in an English-speaking family will help them achieve true fluency. We suggest you conduct several interviews with au pair candidates to determine their English language skills. Au pairs will usually be quite nervous during their interviews, so please be patient! You will find that their English skills develop rapidly upon arrival in Australia.
Typically, au pairs in Australia do not enrol in formal language classes. Many of them come to Australia specifically to enhance their language skills, and our cultural exchange program provides them with the perfect opportunity to do so! They improve their language proficiency through everyday interactions within your family.
It is important to note that language classes in Australia can be prohibitively expensive, often tailored for students on a Student Visa and requiring 15-20 hours of learning per week.
However, in certain areas, you may find informal language classes offered at local libraries or community centres. Although these classes are often not advertised online, you can explore them upon your arrival to discover what options are available nearby. Typically, these classes are more affordable. If formal language classes are not easily accessible, we highly recommend joining a book club at the local library as an excellent way to improve English language skills.
Our aim is to provide an immersive English-speaking environment and practical learning opportunities for our au pairs, enabling them to develop their language proficiency while embracing the Australian way of life.