woman playing with child


Expat Family Life: 6 reasons to hire an au pair

19 November 2020

One study of BGRS executives cited ‘family concerns’ as the primary reason for leaving an assignment early. This is backed by InterNations most recent expat insider study showing personal unhappiness rather than issues at work is the primary driver of an early return. 

Expat families who are struggling to settle in or missing support networks from home sometimes see hiring an au pair as a way to help. 

‘Au Pair’ translates as ‘in return’. An au pair is usually a young person who travels to another country to live with a host family, help around the house and provide childcare to an agreed schedule. In return, the family provides lodging, meals and pocket money. It is an opportunity for the young person to experience life in another country and potentially learn a language while also gaining valuable work experience. 

We looked at some of the reasons why an au pair might be a useful way to take the pressure off expat family life and provide you and your family with some extra support when you need it:

  • 1. Flexibility

Compared to traditional day care, having a live in au pair offers your family additional flexibility, particularly if both parents work outside the home. Although an au pair is usually restricted to a 30-hour work week, you can agree a schedule that works well for you and your family. If you know you must stay late at work one evening a week, your au pair may be able to make dinner for your children and you don’t have to worry about day-care closing times. 

2. Help

You may only realise the full truth behind the African adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ when you move countries and possibly continents away from your support network. Having an au pair is an extra pair of hands to help get children ready for school or to entertain a toddler while you or your partner take a shower, cook a meal or take a few minutes out to relax at the end of a busy day. They may also help with light household duties like loading and unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the kitchen or vacuuming. 

3. Cultural exchange

If you are raising a third culture kid having an au pair from you or your partner’s home country is a great way to introduce that culture to your child. If you are a multilingual home, having an au pair from your home country could help your child become more familiar with your native language and customs.

4. Time

Juggling the demands of work and home life is time consuming. Having an au pair to help can provide you and your partner with some much-needed breathing room. It may allow you to take up a hobby you enjoy or do something together one evening a week as part of your self-care – an essential element of expat happiness


5. Affordability

If traditional forms of childcare are prohibitively expensive in your new location, a live in au pair may be a good solution. It is important to be aware that as well as their accommodation and small salary you will have to pay fees to the agency you hire them through too.  

6. Personal care

Another benefit of having an au pair is the personalised care and attention your children will receive in the comfort of their own home. Many expats who have had au pairs say they have become true family friends and they have visited on several occasions. 

With all of these benefits, it is easy to see why an au pair is a popular option for families living overseas. If you find you are struggling with the day to day of expat family life, visit the Allianz Care happiness hub where you will find a selection of articles and tools to help you make the most of expat life.