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Nannies Versus Au Pairs

Nannies versus Au Pairs

Mindme / mums&totsBack to Top

WORDS BY SAOIRSE HANNIGAN, DIRECTOR OF MINDME.IE ‘IRELAND’S LARGEST CHILDCARE WEBSITE

Choosing A Nanny or an Au Pair can be a tricky decision, there are so many variables to consider. However, you must weigh up what is best for you and your circumstances. For example, do you want someone who can help with the kids, provide some babysitting and be like an older brother or sister to your children or do you want a childcare professional, whose work schedule is chosen by you, the employer?

Firstly, let us look at the main difference between a live-in nanny and an au pair. A nanny is a professional childcare provider who has decided to make a career of caring for children. Au pairs are generally young people between the ages of 18 and 27. They come from abroad to live with an Irish family to improve their English skills and experience a different culture

Put simply, an au pair looks after your children in exchange for meals, board and lodging and pocket money. In Ireland, any pocket money must be in accordance with minimum wage requirements. The cost of board and lodging can be deducted from this. Unlike nannies, au pairs don’t usually have childcare qualifications. They are more like an older sibling, helping around the house, taking care of the children, preparing some meals, and doing light housework. Due to their age and inexperience, an au pair tends to work best alongside a parent or family member.

A Nanny, however, is an experienced childcare professional. Nannies must have a relevant childcare qualification and be Garda vetted. Nannies tend to be individuals with a strong love of children and a desire to watch the children under their care grow and thrive. A nanny should be willing to do all domestic activities related to the children, including cleaning their rooms, doing their laundry, entertaining them, disciplining them, and caring for them when they are sick or upset. A nanny works with you as a partner.

What hours do they work?Back to Top

Au pairs generally work around 30 hours per week. Nannies can work up to 10 hours per day. And whilst an au pair may expect to have weekends off, a live-in nanny’s working week often includes working a day at the weekend, with a day off during the week.

What accommodation do I need to provide? Back to Top

As a minimum, you should provide your live-in nanny or au pair with their own private bedroom and bathroom with shower or bath. The bedroom should be comfortably furnished with storage for their belongings so they can make themselves feel at home.

What are the costs?Back to Top

You will be expected to provide an au pair with the minimum wage per week which at the time of writing was €10.20 for Au Pairs aged 20 years and older, €9.18 for 19-yearolds and €8.16 for 18-year-olds. The cost of a nanny will depend on where you live in Ireland, the experience and qualifications of the nanny, and the number of children involved. If you live in Dublin, you could pay up to 15% more per week. A live-in Nanny can typically earn from €600 to €750 weekly. When you employ a nanny, you’re paying a professional with years of experience and qualifications under their belt. Whether you have toddlers or schoolage children, you should feel confident leaving your nanny in sole charge.

Finding the oneBack to Top

Sharing your home with someone is a big commitment. Take your time finding the right one. Make sure they are the right fit for your family and be clear about your expectations. A live-in nanny or au pair is a good choice if you have a demanding job that needs a more flexible approach to childcare, but they provide vastly different levels of experience. Make sure your Au Pair or Nanny gels with your family ethos. It is important they like what your kids like, whether it be sporting, educational or play. Nannies may seem more expensive, but you’re paying for their experience – and your peace of mind and you can’t put a price on that. Your gut feeling always plays a part and is seldom wrong.
You can find an extensive range of Childcare options on Mindme.ie Ireland’s Largest Childcare Website.

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