What is an Au Pair?

Live-in, one-to-one care in your home.

Aupairing is the most flexible and the most affordable childcare plus you get the bonus of cultural exchange.  

Au pairs are welcomed as a member of the family and given the opportunity to experience the Australian lifestyle and refine their language skills. 

Host families provide full board and pocket money in exchange for childcare and light housework.  Most au pairs help out for 25 – 35 hours per week.

Au pairs are often called ‘mom’s helper’ or ‘big sister’. Our au pairs speak good English and many can drive to help with school-runs, homework, after school activities, meal times and light housework. Hosting an au pair is both fun and educational for your children.

Smartaupairs can help you find an au pair, help with preparation and provide support throughout.

 Your au pair can help;

  • • Wake the children and get them ready for the day.
  • • Show the kids how to tidy their room and make the bed.
  • • Prepare breakfast and lunch for the children.
  • • Clean up breakfast dishes, load/unload the dishwasher.
  • • Make sure children have books, homework and sports kit in order.
  • • Take children to/from school, sports, activities, friends by car, on foot or by bus.
  • • Tasks whilst the children are in school can include light housework, kids laundry, errands and some shopping.
  • • Prepare after-school snacks and/or simple evening meal.
  • • Help with homework.
  • • Initiate play and activities.
  • • Help children at bath time and help them get ready for bed.

For your au pair

  • • The opportunity to be treated as a member of the Host Family, take part in daily family life as a ‘big sister’, experience a new country, become fluent in English.
  • • Free board and accommodation in a private, furnished bedroom.
  • • Weekly pocket money
  • • Completion payment at the end of the 6 month program.
  • • Two free days per week to explore and catch up with new friends.
  • • Guidance, support and training from the host family.
  • • Transportation to/from the Host Family home.
  • • No sole care for children under 1.
  • • No sole care overnight.
  • • Childcare is main role.
  • • Limited light housework 1-2 hours per day maximum

Have a look at our “What is an au pair?” guide any time for more details.DOWNLOAD ‘What is an Au Pair? GUIDE 


Au Pair Program guidelines

  • Why an au pair?


    Hosting an au pair in your family puts you in control;


    There is no need to rush back from work as there is no ‘closing time’. If your child is sick, your care can simply continue as usual. If you have children in school and little ones at home, your au pair can care for both at no extra cost.


    It’s a bit like having a live-in nanny but much more informal and family orientated!

  • How much should I pay my au pair?


    Au Pairs receive pocket money every week. For more information, read our Pocket Money page.

  • What experience will my au pair have?


    The minimum experience we expect from our au pairs is regular babysitting.


    We do however find that many au pairs gained other experiences ranging from sibling care, work experience in a daycare centre (very popular in Germany), holiday care, homework help, tutoring and sports coaching. Candidates with more experience are in our Gold Au Pair or Diamond Au Pair categories.


    An au pair is NOT a domestic help, nor a qualified nanny.  Helpful and friendly is expected, significant experience is a bonus.

  • What does an au pair do in their free time?


    The au pair’s motivations are to take part in a Cultural Exchange Program and experience family life in Australia; this means being part of shared meals, invited to family outings and taking part in celebrations to get a feel for ‘life in Australia’.


    In the evening, they may want to keep in touch with home via Skype. Please also allow for free plenty of free time with new friends and encourage your au pair to spend time independently sightseeing and exploring!


    We provide your au pair with introductions through Facebook and suggestions on how to find friends nearby. You can also help by finding nearby sports clubs and activities for the au pair to join.

  • Will my au pair be able to drive?


    Many families need their au pair to drive the car for school runs or sports activities.


    Most au pairs from Europe have a driving license from their home country and generally adapt quickly to driving here.


    As driving in Australia is different, it is best to consider a driver with some experience and make sure to book a few driving lessons with an independent instructor to assess driving skills, familiarise the au pair with your local area, applicable road rules and regular journeys such as the school run. The host family is responsible for appropriate insurance and should cover all general car costs.

  • Can an au pair care for babies?


    An au pair is fantastic as an extra pair of hands when mum has a baby, especially if there are also older children. The au pair can take the older children out to play, giving mum time to concentrate on the baby.


    We do not recommend/endorse/facilitate an au pair to provide sole care for children under two (2) years of age.


    Generally, the ‘average’ au pair is not experienced enough with this age group and this is simply too much responsibility without a parent to supervise and/or assist during the day. Some of our Gold or Diamond au pairs may provide limited care for children 12-24 months, i.e. short periods of time without immediate parental supervision and after spending enough time alongside a parent to train for this responsibility.

  • Will my au pair do any cooking?


    Most au pairs are happy to cook a simple meal for the family occasionally. You can teach your au pair some of your family’s favorited recipes to cook or ask them to help you with meal preparation.


    Meal planning and main cooking responsibility is generally best left to a parent.

  • Will my au pair do any cleaning?


    Please remember, this is a cultural exchange program; giving the au pair a chance to enhance her language skills and be part of the family.


    Au pairs are fine to help out with kids related tasks and daily routine such as dishwasher stacking, wiping bench tops, laundry of kids clothing, sorting kids toys, but should not have to clean parents bedroom, bathroom or change your bed for example.


    Most host families organise a weekly cleaner for a proper ‘big clean’.

  • Will my au pair be able to speak English?


    Most of our au pairs speak really good English!


    We offer the widest selection of au pairs throughout the year and most of our au pairs travel to Australia from Germany, The Netherlands, France, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Italy. We also place au pairs from South Korea.


    Most of our au pairs are not only interested in experiencing family life in Australia, they are also keen to develop their language skills further. Generally, our au pairs from Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavia speak almost fluent English and living in an English speaking family will help them to become truly fluent.


    It is not uncommon for our au pairs from France and Italy to have learned English in school for 6-8 years. However, as lessons are more focussed on writing, their spoken English is usually more intermediate. Au pairs are highly committed to improving their English skills.