Balancing work and family life isn’t easy. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t have enough time for even the most basic tasks. If you want a bit of free time, you might want to consider hiring someone to help look after your children. But who is best for the job? What’s the difference between an an au pair, nanny and babysitter?
We tend to use the expressions nanny, babysitter and au pair interchangeably. However, they aren’t exactly the same. Each of these jobs have important differences, even though they all have to do with childcare.
Before considering cost, you need to know the differences between these roles and decide which service best suits your needs. Then it’s time to look for the best person for your children. Every family needs a different kind of childcare provider.
Nanny: A Full-Time Employee
“Nannies have a fixed work schedule, so they will be a constant in your child’s life.”
Nannies are hired to work on a set schedule. That is, they work a regular amount of hours. This is set by a contract and the labor laws for each country. Therefore, their salary must be in line with at least the country’s minimum wage.
With nannies, you can set a fixed work schedule. Their job mainly consists of taking care of, watching, and entertaining the children. But, they will be a constant in your child’s growth and education.
Also, a good nanny will be one that’s able to take care of babies. It’s a good idea to hire one with specific training for this job. For example, someone that studied early childhood education, childcare, or to be a nursing assistant.
For a Specific Time, Choose a Babysitter
Unlike nannies or au pairs, babysitters work at specific times. They’re the person you’ll call when you have to leave and need someone to watch the kids. Sometimes, you might have an emergency and need to leave. They usually work for short periods of time, so you pay them by the hour.
Their job is solely to watch and entertain children for a certain amount of hours. Or, if the kids are sleeping, they’ll stay with them until you get home.
Normally, young girls and teenagers become babysitters. This is because you only need them every once in a while. This works well with their school schedules. The main qualities of a babysitter should be responsibility and trustworthiness.
Au Pair: Helpful in Multiple Ways
Au pairs are foreigners and tend to be students. They usually seek this type of work to acquire language and cultural knowledge in a safe way.
Because of this, you’ll hire them for a long period of time. They’re generally able to work during vacation times such as during the summer or winter break. However, many are willing to live with you for up to one year.
“Getting an au pair can be very helpful. It can also bring great educational benefits.”
They do domestic chores and take care of children in exchange for housing, food, and a small salary. Since they’ll live in your house, they’ll become a member of your family. Because of this, you can ask the au pair for help with several different tasks.
You need to keep in mind, of course, that they aren’t slaves. They need their free time and you both need to agree on their jobs. They can’t work all day, every day.
You might have a few doubts about bringing in an au pair. You might even be worried about living with a stranger. However, it also brings great benefits. It’s very economical, and offers great opportunities for everyone in your home.
The whole family can learn a new language. They can practice it every day in real, day-to-day situations. The best way to learn a language is through authentic practice.
It’s also a good opportunity to learn about different cultures and customs. There’s also an educational component: children will learn respect and value diversity.
Define Your Situation
As we mentioned earlier, before choosing one of these services, you need to know what you need. Every family is unique and has different circumstances. Depending on them, you can decide if you need a babysitter, nanny or au pair.
The main difference between these professions is how long they work and how they’re organized. However, there are many nuances you’ll need to keep in mind.
The hardest decision will be choosing the right person to take care of your children. Above all, you want to be sure that he or she is prepared for the job, responsible, dedicated, and trustworthy.