Family Life




Nanny vs. Au Pair: What’s The Different in Price and Service?

Portrait of happy black mother holding cute toddler laughing together at home. Cheerful african woman cuddling smiling little boy in hand and playing. Mature black nanny playing with little boy.

Nanny vs. Au Pair: What’s The Different in Price and Service?

When it comes to choosing childcare for your family, there are a handful of options, but the decision is usually never easy. As a parent, you want what is best for your children, but finding something that fits well into your schedule as well as your finances is no easy feat. Today we're going to take a deeper look into nannies and au pairs to find out what might work better for you.

Nanny vs. Au Pair: What They Are

A nanny is someone who is hired to provide childcare and help around the house. In each household, a nanny's responsibilities will look different, but overall, their focus is on the children and the house. This can look like playing with the children, cleaning up the toy room, cooking for the family, and washing the dishes. Depending on the needs of the house, they can also help take care of pets, do the laundry, etc. Since each nanny will provide different and customized services, their pay should reflect their responsibilities. But, nannies are usually paid an annual salary.

An au pair is someone who comes from a different country to live in the home of a host family and provide childcare duties. With an au pair, their work is regulated by the government. They allow au pairs to provide up to 45 hours of childcare each week. Au pairs can not work overtime, even if they are financially compensated. An au pair can also work up to 10 hours a day. When an au pair comes to stay with a family, they will provide childcare for up to a year, or they can extend up to two years if both parties agree. During their time as an au pair, they are required to complete at least six college credits.

babysitter and child
Both nannies and au pairs can help children with their homework.


Nanny vs. Au Pair: Cost

Knowing the cost difference between a nanny and an au pair is very important when making your decision. There is a very large difference in cost between these two. It is usually significantly cheaper to host an au pair than to pay a nanny a salary. But each of them has pros and cons to their cost.

A nanny is going to receive an annual salary. This is going to be based on the nanny's duties and how often they work. But, at a minimum, they must be receiving an equivalent of minimum wage. A salary will be negotiated between a nanny and the family and isn't necessarily regulated by any person or group.

An au pair, on the other hand, doesn't receive an annual salary but an affordable weekly stipend. This stipend is usually between $150 and $300. Although this is a very affordable rate, this is not the only financial responsibility of having an au pair. Typically, you get an au pair through an agency. This agency usually charges $8,000 to $10,000 for the au pair, although this is a one-time cost, it does have to be paid upfront. A host family is also going to be responsible for paying for the au pair's college credits as well. But, adding this up over a year's time, you're likely going to spend around $30,000 for an au pair. This is typically thousands of dollars cheaper than hiring a nanny.

Nanny vs. Au Pair: Duties

When it comes to duties, nannies and au pairs can and do perform similar duties. However, a nanny can perform more duties upon agreement, whereas an au pair's duties are regulated by the government. A nanny can and will perform any task that each party agrees upon, meaning they can be responsible for cleaning the house, cooking, doing the laundry, taking care of the animals, etc. An au pair, on the other hand, is more limited in what they can do. Au pairs are only allowed to help with tasks that directly relate to the children.

A nanny babysitting a little boy at the playground. A woman encourages a little boy on the slides.
Taking care of the children is a nanny and au pair's number one priority outside of other tasks.

©Dusan Petkovic/Shutterstock.com

Nanny vs. Au Pair: Flexibility

Every nanny and au pair will be different when it comes to flexibility, but their schedules all depend on mutual agreement. A nanny typically will work during the day and not be available at night or on the weekend. An au pair can work any time of the day and also be available on weekends, as long as they are following regulations. These regulations are up to 45 hours of work and no more than 10 hours a day.

Nanny vs. Au Pair: Age

Regarding age, a nanny can be any age. You can find young nannies in their early 20s, or you can find older nannies in their 60s and 70s. An au pair is going to be a young adult between the ages of 18 and 26. If you have a lot of young children who will require lots of running around, a young nanny or an au pair would be a good option.


Based on these characteristics of a nanny and an au pair, you can better decide what might work best for you and your family. Here are some resources that can help you along the way.

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