If you’re thinking of hiring a childcare provider you should be aware of the differences between au pairs and nannies, in order to choose the one who matches your needs the best.

The main differences between an au pair and a nanny are that an au pair is a young person (usually between the ages of 18 and 26) who comes to your country on a cultural exchange.  A nanny is a professional childcare provider who performs childcare as a career, probably has training and a qualification and has experience.

Both au pairs and nannies have advantages and disadvantages and we’ll try to present you the pros/cons of hiring an au pair/nanny so that you’ll take the best decision.

Nanny – can be live-in or live-out, and can provide full-time or part-time care.


1. Trial periods – you can request your potential nanny to do a trial period. This way you’ll see if she is a good match for you and your children. If she isn’t, you can easily let her go.
2. Her own life – many nannies are very bound to their employees, but the most of them don’t expect to be involved in any family activity outside of working hours.
3. Experience – nannies are professionals, who take their job very seriously. Also, they may be trained in specific areas of childcare.


1. Costs – the cost of hiring a nanny is usually far higher than for an au pair. The cost depends on where you live, the number of hours, number/age of children and previous experience.
2. Availability – a nanny is not available 24/7. Although a live-in nanny stays in your home you have to respect her personal life.
3. Hard to find – a good nanny, who you can trust is difficult to find.

Au pair – is a person who will live in your house and will be part of your family.


1. New experience – you and your children will experience a new culture and learn a foreign language.
2. Lower costs – an au pair is more affordable than a nanny as au pair’s pay rates aren’t as high as full-time nannies.
3. Availability  – the au pair is more flexible with her/his time. You can create your own schedule on a weekly basis (as long as the au pair doesn’t work more than 25/30 hours/week). The schedule can be different each week, because no week is identical in terms of events, commitments, work etc.


1. Experience – au pairs may not have a lot of experience of childcare. On this account, it’s fine to hire an au pair if your children are a little older, but if they are babies a nanny would be a more appropriate choice.
2. Language barrier – while it’s good that your children have the chance to learn a new language, it’s possible to have some issues in terms of communication.
3. Interview – the interview will be usually conducted through Skype, because au pairs live in other countries. You can’t meet your au pair in person before you hire her/him.

You have to think who is better for you and your family, but, after all, you have to find a person that matches your family requirements and understands your needs.

Do you prefer an au pair or a nanny?

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2 thoughts on “Au pair vs. nanny

  1. I prefer an au pair not because she is more affordable, but I think it is more likely to create a bond with my kids.

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