Au Pair

The main responsibility of an au pair (or a nanny) is to take care of young children for a host family. They also perform various chores in the homes of the families that employ them. Young people sometimes work as an au pair as a means of working in a foreign country, and to gain experience and self-confidence before they commence studies or a career. 


Au pairing provides a valuable opportunity to become acquainted with the culture and habits of overseas families. The duration of such programmes is usually one year.

Au pairs work approximately 45 hours a week and during this period they take up the role of a second mother. They prepare children’s meals, do grocery shopping, accompany children during mealtimes and sometimes need to clean up after them. They dress, feed and bath small children. When caring for an infant, the bottles need to be properly washed and sterilised, the infant’s nappies changed and, in some cases, their clothes washed.

They are required to keep children busy, play with them and sometimes take children on excursions. In some cases, au pairs clean and tidy the children’s rooms. Au pairs may be required to drive older children to their schools and extra-mural activities; supervise homework; and attend school and cultural activities. The au pair also travels with the family and performs necessary au pair duties during the trip.

In exchange for the work done the au pair receives: a furnished room; free accommodation and meals; pocket money; sometimes the use of a vehicle or at least access to transport; the opportunity to accompany the family on holidays and excursions; exposure to the culture, language and way of life of foreign people.

Note: It is very important to make use of a registered and trustworthy au pair agency to arrange everything. You will undergo a selection procedure and so does the prospective foreign family. During the au pair year the South African and overseas agencies keep in contact with the au pair and also the guest family.


Some satisfying aspects of this career include:



  • being involved in raising children

  • teaching them basic life skills

  • seeing different places

  • possibly making life-long friends with the family
    worked for


Some demanding aspects include:



  • working long hours

  • frustration with difficult or disobedient children


Personal Requirements


  • between 17 and 30 years old (depending on the

  • country)

  • be single

  • no criminal record

  • be physically and mentally healthy

  • love young children and have a genuine concern

  • for their well-being

  • communicate well with people

  • calm and patient

  • friendly and cheerful

  • responsible and trustworthy


How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects




Employment

Most of the overseas countries admit au pairs


Getting Started


  • contact an au pair agency and/or college to get more details

  • speak to people who have already done this kind of work

  • volunteer to work in a children’s hospital, or an orphanage 

  • do a first aid course

  • learn to give swimming lessons


Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations