Hosting an Au Pair- Is it the right choice for your family?

Written by: Jay Annadurai

Have you heard of an au pair? Do you know how the au pair program works?  Personally, I knew next to nothing about au pairs. Luckily, I had a chance to chat with Karen Hurley from Cultural Care Au Pair at our January Expectant Parents Childcare 101 event. 

Karen explained that au pairs are caring and committed, adventurous and educated young people from abroad. More and more Chicago area families are turning to international childcare to find balance in their busy lives.  In exchange for the privilege of living in your home as a family member, au pairs provide up to 45 hours per week of personalized and loving childcare.

In case you missed our Childcare 101 session, here are Karen’s top 5 reasons to host an au pair:

Customized, Flexible, Personalized Care– Find the right au pair for your family, whether you are seeking a particular musical talent, a passion for sports, a specific country or language, or a male au pair. With au pair childcare you set your childcare schedule to provide coverage when you need it. Your children (from newborn- 18 yrs old) are the focus and receive 100% of your au pair’s attention.

Affordable Care, Available Now– Regardless of how many children you may have, it’s the same price for quality childcare: $340 for 45 hours per week (less than $8 per hour).  Au pairs can arrive from overseas in as soon as 6 weeks and au pairs in the US can be  available within as little as 2 weeks.

Life-Work Balance- With an au pair you have the time to get your work done, take care of yourself and even enjoy a night out. Having an extra set of hands to help with light housekeeping like the children’s laundry, meal prep, tiding up toys and kid’s rooms, allows family time to truly be quality time.

Trained & Screened Childcare Provider–Cultural Care actively collects information to evaluate each au pair. They carefully review all materials submitted by references, health care providers, and candidates themselves. They also conduct personal interviews, calls to references, an English evaluation, a personality profile, a criminal background check, and a highly structured screening and orientation meeting. Upon arrival, au pairs go through rigorous training on child safety at their Au Pair Training School and throughout the year local coordinators continue to educate and support the au pairs.

Cultural Exchange-Cultural Care has a large pool of qualified au pairs with candidates open to every type of family, eager to share their customs, and excited to live with an American family and gain a real life perspective on daily life in the US. Hosting an au pair will forge relationships that last a lifetime and bring your children greater understanding of our global community. Introducing your child to another culture and language broadens a child’s capacity to learn and gives them an advantage that will last a lifetime.


Feel free to reach out to Karen for any questions related to au pairs.  Several NPN families currently in the program are excited to share their experiences with you and act as a reference- ask Karent to put you in touch with them! For more info on au pairs, check out this article by Karen as well.

Whatever childcare you decide to go with- a nanny, home daycare, childcare center, au pair- NPN is here to help. Use our discussion board to ask for advice, find some great recommendations and get answers to your childcare questions!

Save the date- our next Childcare 101 program is Thursday, May 5th- spots going fast so RSVP today!


Special note: As an NPN member you are entitled to special savings of $500 off the program fee with Cultural Care Au Pair, which is like getting 1+ weeks of childcare for free!


Karen works in Business Development for Cultural Care. She is a wife and mother to 3 children and step mom to 4 and understands how hard it is to balance work/family and leisure. Karen believes the au pair program is a great fit for busy families who want the best for their children and need the flexibility an au pair can provide. If you have questions about hosting, click on  or contact Karen directly at 800-333-6056 ext 3711 or


Posted on March 24, 2011 at 8:11 PM