The pros and cons of a live in nanny

For a variety of reasons including the flexibility it affords to busy working parents you have decided to have your child or children cared for in their own home. You immediately think of an au pair or nanny. Then to confuse matters you learn there are two types of nannies, a live in nanny or a live out nanny.

You must now decide which best suits your families circumstances so you need to understand the differences including cost between an au pair, live in nanny or live out nanny.


In brief:  An au pair is a young person generally aged between 18-30 unmarried with no children who moves to a foreign country to look after a host families children part time and who also performs some light housework. Babysitting on agreed evenings is also quite common. In exchange for this an au pair receives a private bedroom, meals and an agreed monetary allowance. In the UK au pairs generally work a 30 hour week and receive £75-£85 per week. In Ireland the hours range from 35-45 per week and an allowance in or around €100. Au pairs generally attend language classes in the evenings.

A live in nanny usually but not always has some childcare qualifications or at least childcare experience and will live with the family on a full time basis, consequently you will need to provide a separate bedroom for privacy. Nannies only tend to do whatever housework is associated with the children. Primarily they are a citizen of your country and work longer hours than an au pair consequently it is a more expensive option.

Journey of a live in Nanny
A good read for a Live in Nanny

Live out nannies have their own accommodation consequently choose to live out an present themselves for work at your home at an agreed time. They then perform the same duties as a live in nanny.

Weighing up the pros and cons of a live in nanny or an au pair as the main providers of your childcare is something you and your family should give a lot of thought to.

If you want a few reasons why a live in nanny can be the better solution – read below:


  • Most nannies applying for your childcare position will either be locals or from your or a neighbouring county, therefore, it is easy to arrange face to face meetings and also to determine how they interact with your children.
  •  A nanny will speak your language thus eliminating the language difficulties associated with an au pair and as I mentioned earlier you also have the opportunity to have one or indeed a number of face to face interviews.
  • Most au pair interviews are done by Skype or phone as the au pair lives in a foreign country consequently will not travel until they have secured a job with a host family. This can be a risk as it all depends on your judgement call based on Skype or phone calls. Much of this can be eliminated by going through an au pair agency but this can be costly.
  • Nannies tend to have a childcare qualification and references and other background checks are readily available.
  • With an au pair there can sometimes be a language barrier as au pairs are form foreign countries.
  • You can build into a live in nanny contract such as cooking for adults in addition to the children but it will cost you more. It is however an option.

Once you have made the decision to opt for a live in nanny over an au pair, day care or housekeeper you can go it alone or use a local nanny service. Once a short list has been drawn up and you are at the interview stage what exactly should you ask? The interview is the most important phase as not only will this person be looking after the welfare of your child or children but she will also be living under your roof, so it is of utmost importance that you can work and live together under the same roof.

When you and your partner have held an initial interview or have a good feeling about a nanny it can help to arrange a further interview at which your children attend. You can then gauge how both the prospective nanny and your children react to each other.Your first impressions are very important so don’t ignore your instincts or your children’s.

Before the interview you should have your mind made up about the basics and what exactly you require from the nanny – along the lines of:


  • The questions you want to ask – don’t just think on the spot – after all you are entrusting your children’s care and safety to this person.
  • Working hours plus babysitting requirements. Will she be paid for any surplus hours or babysitting duties? If so how much – iron all out in advance.
  • Nannies duties – go through a daily schedule of requirements.
  • Salary and holiday entitlements- will she be paid while off?
  • Eating arrangements and cooking duties.
  • House rules – do you impose a curfew? Visitors allowed?
  • Any additional add ons or benefits – mobile phone, some private use of the car.
  • Will she drive the children to school or games. If so has she a driving licence and ensure she is added to your insurance.
 What Is Your Greatest Strength?
Nanny services Interview

Interview questions:


  • Tell me about yourself
  • Tell me about your childhood, any siblings?
  • Why did you choose childcare as a career?
  • In your opinion what qualities make a good nanny?
  • How long have you worked as a nanny and have you had any other work experience?
  • Why do you prefer to be a live in nanny?
  • Previous work experiences – go through all this – try get a feel for the previous children’s ages.
  • If there are any gaps in the CV try to ascertain why.
  • If not find out her current notice period with employer.
  • When considering a job offer – what qualities in the family are important to her?
  • Why did she leave her last job?
  • Any training undertaken – first aid etc
  • What activities are you interested in or perhaps plan on doing in spare time? Try and ascertain will she be in the house during their free time.
  • What would you do on a wet or extremely cold day when you couldn’t go to the park?
  • How does she approach bad behaviours in children?
  • What are your views to children watching TV or on ipads or games?
  • Do you enjoy cooking? Any examples of types of dishes you would/could cook?
  • Do you have valid driving licence?
  • What activities do you do or perhaps plan on doing in spare time? Will they be around the house all the time?
  • Let them know when they will find out the outcome of the interview.
  • Let them also ask you questions – an interview like this should be a two way process.

It is important that you follow up on all references and check the legitimacy of qualifications – try speaking to the references directly – don’t let the agency or nanny service do it for you if you can.

You have made a decision and the new live in Nanny has been given a start date, the children are excited and you are painting and planning her new living quarters. Then you think should you or should you not draw up some sort of agreement or contract for her? Will this be a deal breaker if you suddenly insist on this? In the long run no – a contract or agreement is beneficial to both parties. It will outline the duties and responsibilities of each party and may prevent any misunderstandings and miscommunication from happening. This will also establish a professional approach from the outset.

In the US for instance, Nanny Contracts may not be required by law, but are enforceable in a court of law so it is important that the agreement does not infringe any legal rights of the live in nanny especially when it comes to labor protections and tax laws.

OK so the interview is out of the way – One box ticked.

Contract drawn up – Another box ticked.

So what should you expect from your new live- in nanny?


Live-in nannies usually work between 10-12 hours per day, five days a week two nights babysitting are usually included or expected also. Babysitting requirements should be clarified at interview stage. Any additional babysitting will incur extra costs.

A live-in nanny will look after all nursery duties related to the children including, bathing, dressing and preparing nutritious meals. She will also wash, iron and sort all the children’s clothes and prepare school uniforms and lunches. The nanny will ensure that all play areas are kept clean and tidy at the end of each day. In summary have total control and care of the family home concerning the children when the parents are busy at work and indeed until the children go to bed if this is what has been agreed.

The live-in nanny should ensure that the children are kept active and social by organising play dates for the children after school or at weekends and keep up to date with what parties they have to attend. Take the children to the park or other after school extra-curricular activities.

Remember that your live in nannies main responsibilities are to care for YOUR children and not to do any heavy housework jobs, family cooking or chores in general around the house – if you require this from your nanny this will have to be discussed in advance and reflected in her salary.

Nanny Tax
The dreaded Nanny tax
On a rather boring but very important topic – tax and your live- in nanny:


In the UK all employers are required to operate a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) Scheme for their employees – deduct the tax and National insurance each employee owes to the state and hand it over to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on the employees behalf.

Nanny employers are no different and MUST deduct all relevant taxes whenever she is paid.

In the USA – Besides the weekly salary that families pay their live-in nannies, they also must pay the required employment taxes. Coined the “nanny taxes,” a live-in nanny employer’s tax responsibility includes paying the employer part of the Medicare and Social Security, federal unemployment insurance and state unemployment and worker’s compensation, or disability, where required. These out-of-pocket expenses add up to about 10% of the nanny’s gross annual salary. Fortunately for employers who pay legally, there are tax breaks and credits that can offset this cost.

According to  Here’s an example: Assume you pay your nanny a salary of $600 per week ($15 per hour, 40 hours per week), you’ll need to withhold the following from her weekly pay:


  • Federal Income Tax: $75.77
  • Social Security: $25.20
  • Medicare: $8.70
  • State Income Tax (3.7%): $22.30 (note: we used New York State.)
  • Total withholdings: $131.97

The employee i.e. YOU will make the following contributions:

  • Federal Unemployment: $4.80
  • Social Security: $37.20
  • Medicare: $8.70
  • State Unemployment: $24.60 (note: we used New York State.
  • Total Additional Payments: $75.30

This means your weekly bill comes to $675.30 per week, and your nanny will take home $468.30. Over the course of the year, you can expect to pay out $33,991.30 — $2,791.30 more than if you paid a flat $600 per week under the table.

As you can see from the above having a live in nanny is like having a full time employee in your house so you have to pay all taxes relating to this. On top of this if you have used a nanny service you will have their fees also. However all these extra fees or costs can be cancelled out as you now  have your very own live in housekeeper where day care will not be needed as you have someone to permanently mind your children on a 1 to 1 basis, a huge saving, plus you will have a babysitter for at least 2 nights a week ( all included in the live in nanny salary and agreement you have drawn up) so no more paying up to $10 or £10 per hour for someone to babysit your children. No more clock watching when on a night out as its all included in the agreed weekly wage.






What are considered childcare jobs?

To many people the word childcare or working in a childcare jobs is synonymous with working in a crèche or nursery. There are however a whole range of jobs that fall under the umbrella of ‘Childcare’. It is important to appreciate the range of jobs on offer and what they entail if considering a job in childcare.

Whether you are returning to the work place full-time, planning a night out with your better half, or looking for an extra pair of hands to keep older children entertained while you take care of a toddler or new-born, child-care providers can help give you a break. But you may be overwhelmed with the variety of child care services and providers. Should you choose a nanny or an au pair? A mother’s helper or ask a trusted relative? Which type of child care is the best fit for you and your budget, remember childcare is not cheap -so it is important to understand what differentiates one from the other in the first place.

The good news: Whether you can spend a little or a lot, whether you need full-time care or you just an hour of help here and there, there is a childcare provider who can meet your needs.

Childcare answer book - all your questions answered -any childcare jobs?
Guide to help finding the best childcare solution or childcare jobs

Types of Childcare available and childcare jobs:


    • Childminders: A childminder is somebody who provides childcare for children in the childminder’s own home for more than two hours a day. A childminder must be registered in order to work.
    • Nannies: A nanny provides childcare for one or more children in the parent’s own home. Nannies can sometimes live-in with the family. Many families have a full-time nanny but it is also popular to employ a part-time nanny or after school live-out nanny. Some nannies will have a formal education in child development or related fields. Nannies who provide care for newly born babies during the night are known as night nannies. Nannies generally charge by the hour and rates are higher than a babysitter. There are many nanny services available to assist you in hiring a nanny and to do background and reference checks for you.
    • Babysitters: A babysitter usually babysits in the parent’s home for a few hours during the day or most commonly the evening while the parents go out. A babysitter is paid an hourly rate.

90 second Youtube video on how to be a good babysitter

  • Au Pairs: An Au Pair will live with you and your family, in return for board and lodging and a small allowance. They will normally expect to do some light housework and will care for your child or children.
  • Private midwives: A private or independent midwife will help with your pregnancy and also help with the birth of your child in the comfort of your own home as well as giving help and support for the initial weeks of parenthood. This type of care can be rather expensive.
  • Nursery/ day care or crèche and Montessori staff provide preschool structured day care service for pre school children.
  • Maternity Nurses: A maternity nurses helps the mother with all aspects of caring for a newborn. They are usually very experienced in dealing with not just the baby but also in supporting caring and teaching new or first time parents how to look after their newborn but also in giving the parents that all important rest period in what can be quite a daunting time of one’s life.
  • Private tutor: A private tutor generally is a teacher by profession who offers extra coaching in certain academic subjects or in cases where the parents both work or would be too busy to do homework the tutor can assist with the children’s homework or for prepping for upcoming school exams.
  • Housekeeper: A housekeeper comes to your house and does cleaning chores that you don’t want to do or unable to do. Housekeepers also help with the duties or responsibilities concerning the children of the house. Mostly associated with large houses or estates with considerable wealth.
  • After school care providers care for children of school going age after school until the parent finishes work.
  • Childminders: Provide a childcare services in their own home and are self employed.

As you can see there are many categories that fall under childcare so once you have some experience your job search does not have to just focus on a specific sector, in most cases as long as you are good with dealing with children and in some cases the parents ! You can fit in to plenty of the categories above.

Guide to daycare and childcare
Daycare and childcare options inside and outside the home

Most if not all childcare jobs will require that you are vetted in advance of employment – for the simple reason that you will be around children all of the time. This will be in the form of police vetting and past work references. Jobs like babysitting, nanny or au pair do not require any educational qualifications, but these do help, whereas if you are working in a nursery or crèche with children you will be required to have certain childcare qualifications. Then there are government jobs which will have more stringent employment criteria – but perhaps at the end of the day more job security.

The most common of all childcare jobs has to be babysitting – and most would not even consider or think to consider it as a childcare job but when you look at the job spec ‘ caring for the children while the parents are out’ it ticks all the boxes. A nanny on the other hand cares for children on a full time basis so the ability to relate to children is a key requirement. In addition more and more nannies today have some childcare qualifications. see this article on 7 step guide on how to become a nanny.

For me though if I could choose a childcare job to dip my toes into the industry it would have to be that of an au pair. Going to a foreign country to live with a host family and learn their cultures and language while getting fed and paid for it! …oh and of course minding the children sounds rather appealing. Pick a country, say South Africa …..Look up au pair jobs South Africa, do a little homework on the country and a job search and see what you can get. Even if you did not want to go for a prolonged period you could consider summer nanny jobs for the experience and then if you like the country and the people and so forth you could dabble further into the au pair world. It is a perfect way to determine if dealing with children is for you while being exposed to a new culture and exploring the country in your spare time.

Please share our post and maybe subscribe.

What is au pair world? is it the world they live in or just a website? Our experience

What is au pair world?


…….mainly it is a website but it could relate to the world of au pairs that exist out there and it is not until you require an au pair and experience the process like we did that your eyes are opened to this whole new world – au pair world!

I am the father of FOUR young boys aged 9, 7, 5 and 20 months. My wife and I are both in full time employment, she a teacher and he in sales. For out first two children we were lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents firstly live close by and secondly to be retired and in good health and willing and able to look after the children when required. The first three children then went to a child minder in her house. Some days their grandparents would keep them. As childcare is very expensive especially near where we live we felt this was the best option for our pockets and for the care and attention the children got. The minder had a max  of 3 other children in her care so they got plenty of individual attention and also got to interact with other children of similar ages, which was essential.

First school bus ride
All aboard! the school run.

My wife teaches in a primary school and her day finishes at 14:30 so she picked the children up before 15:00 which was a major plus so she got to spend some quality time with them plus as it cut the cost of childcare and she got to spend quality time with the children until I returned after work. My wife had the option to job share which meant that she worked every other week which was a tremendous bonus as the children got slightly older and had some after school sports plus they were getting homework!

Things were getting busy busy plus our parents were getting older and looking after the children was proving difficult for them on the week my wife worked full time. When number 4 came along things changed, my wife was back full time again, I had started a new job and I wasn’t as flexible as I had been in terms of dropping the kids to the minder. We reviewed the whole child minder situation and after much debate decided that an au pair would be best for us, or was it opair! We were so green on this topic we didn’t know where to begin.

My wife spoke to some colleagues at work and some of the parents in the school whom she knew had au pairs and she began to pick their brains. The general consensus was that getting a good or the right au pair was just sheer luck! Great – not what you want to hear when she will be more or less raising your little treasures.

My wife and I huddled around our laptop and searched au pairs. We were simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of websites related to au pair. We focused in on a few but were not hugely impressed. Following further extensive research and discussions with parents who had au pair experience it began to emerge that was the site of choice for most of these parents and this is what we focused in on.

It was only when we went on the site and registered – at a cost of  €39.90 for which we got premium membership for six weeks- that we realised how unprepared we were and needed to put down on paper and refine as necessary the nationality of the au pair, what her exact duties would be, time off, weekly pay, privacy, babysitting (big bonus), non smoker and other factors important to us.


We posted our profile, which was a little bio on us as a family and a job spec! sat back and waited …with fingers crossed . Then you start to doubt your self – what if no one replies or enquires or if they do and you answer their questions and you never hear from them again.We began to worry as we were on a deadline as school was starting back in 5 weeks which meant my wife was back. The clock was definitely ticking.

We got some replies alright – time wasters but the beauty of au pair world and I guess a lot of other sites out there is that once you pay up and are a member you can message other people. So for the au pairs it is free to post a profile and we were like the voyeurs who screen them and then message them if we liked what we saw. We had chosen our nationality to be Spanish- age bracket from 23-29 with some previous childcare job experience. We sent lots of messages got lots of replies which was a relief!

My wife wanted to see what was out there but we quickly discovered that an email exchange is not an ideal way to get to know or judge someone. The big issue was that most of the prospects were still in Spain so you couldn’t arrange to meet up for a coffee and a chat. She did meet up with 2 Spanish young woman who were in the country who had very very poor English and she just did not click with them. In fact one of them assumed she had the job already and was wondering where we lived so that she could call around later with her bags!!!

We eventually whittled it down to a short list of 2. Then we got busy on Skype and had some meaningful conversations which helped enormously – we treated it like a job interview and had a list of questions and in turn expected them to ask a lot of questions. Our Au pair was picked ahead of schedule so pressure off- phew. Room ready, her flights booked (which she paid for). D-Day came and we all went to the airport to meet Marta our new 23 year old Spanish au pair. She was clearly as anxious as we were and pretty nervous. When she arrived her English was I suppose poor and we had to speak slowly but having attended English classes this improved considerably over time.

For the first week to 10 days she would sit with us in the evenings watching TV or just hang with us which was at the time I suppose awkward and you felt obliged to talk (slowly) and make her part of the conversation when all you wanted at the end of a day’s work was to put your feet up and stare at the TV …no talking! Once she went to classes and mingled with other au pairs this quickly stopped, for whatever reason. She would stay in her room and watch movies or chat to her family on Skype and eventually she had a huge circle of friends so was out and about most evenings. So much so we had to tell her well in advance when she was needed to babysit.

One frozen au pair! au pair world great find
Our Frozen au pair!

Marta was a warm friendly young woman and quickly became almost an extension of our family – she turned out to be brilliant. Her key role when she arrived was to look after our youngest child, Harry, who was 7 months. The other 3 boys were in school as was my wife until their return at 15:00 hours. Marta worked from 8 am to 3pm, 5 days a week and babysat on average once a week – but would do twice if required as this is what we had agreed in advance. The beauty of it all was the morning time when we didn’t have to get our youngest, Harry,  up dressed and fed and dropped off to the child minder – we could just let Marta take over. A huge time saver in our busy mornings.

She fitted in perfectly and all the boys loved her as did we. She became part of the family. She would just blend in and even did house chores without being asked, empty and fill the dishwasher, ironed.  She was so bubbly and good humoured. Her friends from Spain came to visit and stayed with us as did her Mum (her real Mum!) by the way who had not a word of English …odd but funny. She ended up staying for 10 months and our youngest Harry grew up with her which was a very special time for her to experience his first words and first steps.

She eventually had to leave us as she got a job in childcare back in Spain at a time when Spain was in ‘a crisis’ as she kept referring to it and also when childcare jobs where slim on the ground. What got her the job? You guessed it her spoken English. She gained from it – we certainly gained from it and it was a win win for all. The drop off to the airport was full of tears the boys were inconsolable. We still Skype her every fortnight so Harry can say hi and my wife is constantly on Whattsapp to her and her mother. God bless translation technology! Yet best of all we still needed a new au pair for the following school year and she sorted us out with a cousin of hers from Spain – who is proving out to be simply great. This was our au pair experience and quite honestly it was hugely facilitated by using au pair world initially. started in a similar manner back in 1997 when the founder was searching for an au pair and disappointed with the outcomes from a traditional agency so he turned to the internet. From there on he never looked back and had more and better options and choices on line. The then founder saw the bigger picture and an opportunity to bring host families and au pairs from around the world together in one common place – Au Pair World was born.

We all know what an au pair is; I have written about it in many of my articles and also the various types of childcare jobs or opportunities that are available to you, so in reading this I take it you are looking FOR or to BECOME an aupair. A great choice may I say. In terms of au pair world it is not unlike many other sites out there but it is the one we used and hugely popular and as I said we clearly found it the best site for us and would recommend it.

So how do you use it?


  • Create your profile – You can register as a host family or an au pair FREE of charge. Build you profile and enter your search criteria.
  • Search – View matching criteria delivered to you from your search options or you can do individual searches.
  • Start Messaging – you can send messages and start exchanging personal messages with au pairs. As I said earlier this comes at a cost – you must become a member in order to exchange personal messages with au pairs.The cost is €39.90 one off payment which gets you access for six weeks.
  • Get to know each other – don’t rush – go into detail on job requirements and benefits and also Skype each other or talk on the phone.
  • Compile a contract – au pair world and most other sites and nanny services or agencies recommend signing a contract and most importantly to include EVERYTHING in it e.g; duties, pocket money, babysitting jobs, time off, holiday pay just to avoid any misunderstanding down the road. A sample contract can be seen here

So if you want to search for au pair Paris, au pair SA, au pair Canada or whatever country you live in or need to know what is au pair? au pair world will help you find one that suits your requirements. If you are looking for a nanny or nanny jobs or any babysitting jobs this is not for you – it is a niche website which differentiates itself from others out there who offer all types of childcare services even dog minding!  They specialise in one sector au pairs in a multilingual website and put all their energy and resources into this sector which benefits au pairs and host families at the end of the day as they are the end users.

Happy hunting and I hope you have as good an experience with your au pair as we did with Marta and are currently having with our new au pair – plus the freedom to get out and about again with a guaranteed babysitter!

7 Step guide on how to become a nanny

Entering the world of a childcare worker can be a daunting experience and starting off as a nanny can lead to an exciting long professional career and a very rewarding one, becoming a nanny or live in nanny can act as a stepping stone into other aspects of the childcare industry and caregiver jobs. Childcare can be so broad and cover a range of jobs; I have run through these in this article what are considered childcare jobs so you can get an idea of what else is out there.

So you want to become a nanny?


Are you going to be a live in nanny or live out?


Did you know you had the option? In my previous post the ins and outs of a live in nanny it covers what a live in nanny’s role is and all about Interview questions you might be asked, so be prepared, what is expected of you as a nanny and then I run through nanny salary and nanny tax. Read up on this article so you know where you stand. When starting off as a nanny be it full time or in a summer nanny job many of the responsibilities may seem similar to those of a babysitter, a nanny is a professional role and should not be taken lightly, doing so will make it hard to find and keep employment. Taking care and in some respect raising other people’s children is a privilege and a serious commitment.

babysitter - a personal choice!
Babysitter – a personal choice!





So you are sure you want to be a nanny but not sure on how to become a nanny.

Perhaps you have finished college and realise that caring for children is your calling. You want to make yourself as employable as possible to forge a long professional career as a nanny. You could read blog after blog or website upon website trawling through information and resources to best ready yourself. Both boring and time consuming. There are no state, federal or set requirements regarding certification or licensing of nannies globally. Getting a degree or certification through a reputable organisation will demonstrate to any future employers/families that you have received professional training, proved your skills and knowledge and that you are serious about your job as a nanny. At the end of some courses you can come away with a fancy title like “Certified Professional Nanny”, you will be snapped up!



We have a 7 Step guide on how to become a nanny


  1. Enrol in and pass nanny related training courses.
    • Acquiring a certification from a recognised programme such as City & Guilds, Montessori, a university or nanny school is often part of what separates sought after nannies from those unable to find a full time position. Training is key to your professionalism. It gives you the confidence and skills you need to do the best job you can. If you are just starting out there are courses on home based childcare which will cover all aspects of a day in the life of a nanny.
  2. Get childcare experience
    • The more time under your belt working and being around children the better. Volunteering your time at pre-schools and elementary schools, government agencies, hospitals or the local children’s charities is a good way to hone your skills, both technical and personal. You’ll learn to communicate with children, develop the proper authoritative tone, and, perhaps most importantly, learn whether or not caring for children for several hours each day is really right for you. As you build experience you should collect references and letters of recommendation from the families or volunteer groups you work with. Having solid references and up-to-date contact information will make it easier for a family to verify a nanny’s experience and make one more employable.
  3. Get certified in CPR and First Aid.
    • Receive formal training and certification in both CPR and first aid before even applying for nanny positions. This is a signal to prospective families that you are serious about the safety of their children and that you did not make your decision to become a nanny on a whim. If you are living in a warm climate where beach or pool life is the norm you may also get a certification in water safety.
  4. Be Unique
    • Make yourself stand out and try and forge a niche aspect or market for yourself in the nanny circles so nanny services will be falling over you. What makes you special or different? Do you have an interest and knowledge with special needs children as a result of a sibling or previous babysitting position that gives you an edge? Are you multilingual or connect well with children from diverse backgrounds. Carve yourself out a niche which will help drive your nanny or live in nanny career and salary.
  5. Learn to cook
    • Working as a nanny and in particular a live in nanny involves preparing simple meals and snacks, so a basic knowledge of cooking is required to be a competent nanny. Know what kids like to eat and try and keep it healthy and nutritious. Have some of your signature dishes ready to if asked in your interview.
how to become nanny must have
A must have for any aspiring nanny – easy daily recipes.
  1. Pass a background check and screening
    • The extent of a background check and screening varies depending on the type of nanny services you are using or course you are taking. But in general it includes a criminal history check to ensure that you haven’t committed a crime and verifying that you are not on the Child Abuse and Neglect registry or a sex offender registry. A background check may include health screenings that test for drug use and/or tuberculosis. A nanny training program or nanny agency may also verify your professional and personal references, your driving record, Social security check and your credit history.
  2. Sell yourself
    • If you have all of the above in order you are more than ready to start searching for nanny jobs. Just because you can tick all the above off won’t mean that jobs will come easily or right away. You need to get out there and sell yourself, apply to families and Interview a job won’t come and find you.


  • Be aware that nanny training courses vary in length so factor this in – some can take 3 months while others can last up to 18 months and can be done in the evenings when your duties are finished.


  • Don’t be lonely – make some nanny friends quickly. Being a nanny at times can seem solitary, being with kids all day can be fun but you do need adult company and stimulation. You will learn a great deal form chatting to other nannies to develop your career. There are plenty of online nanny networks like  – and also nanny network.


  • Communicate with your employers. If they do something that upsets you, don’t hold it in. It is also common courtesy to always ask before doing something unexpected, such as bringing a guest over or changing anything in the pre-set schedule. Nannies need to have constant communication for a healthy on-going employer-nanny relationship.


  • Remember to clean up after yourself and the children. Parents do not want to come home to messes, especially after a long day at work and isn’t that what they are paying you for in the first place!


  • Get Insurance – Insurance is vital to protect you whilst you’re working as a nanny or even au pair nanny. No-one is immune to accidents, innocent events can be misinterpreted and employment situations can be complicated. When you’re insured you have access to legal advice and representation and, should you have to pay compensation because a child is injured whilst in your care, your insurance provider ensures that you aren’t personally liable. If you join a nanny association like or International Nanny Association, Insurance is covered or at least an option in your membership fee so look into it.

If you stick to a plan and have all the skill sets as outlined above you will be narrowing your search to how to become a nanny for a rich family in no time and will be snapped up. Try and carve out a niche market for yourself where you have stand out knowledge and experience and you won’t look back.

Like what you read – why not subscribe.

The benefits and sacrifices of being an au pair London

Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links
So you are contemplating becoming an au pair and your location of choice is London.  Au pair London is a popular choice as London itself is the capital of England and has strengths in the Arts, Commerce, Education, Fashion, Finance, Tourism and Transport all helping to contribute to the fact ‘it is the world’s most visited city as measured by international arrivals’ (Source: Wikipedia).  It is also a world culture capital.  It has a diverse range of people and cultures and the restaurant scene is wonderful.  It is quite easy to be overwhelmed by London as there is so much to see and do.  The London underground and the excellent bus service means you can get around London quite easily.  The nightlife is also fabulous.  It is easy to appreciate why London therefore is the location of choice for so many au pair’s.

Tower Bridge at night au pair london backdrop
London’s Tower Bridge by night

The good news for aspiring au pairs is that supply is probably not matching demand.  A quick browse on au pair sites for London jobs or jobs London will confirm this.  A large city like London may not however, suit some au pairs who prefer smaller provincial locations or indeed the open spaces of Ireland. Naturally there are au pair positions in other European and non-European countries and sites such as or will prove useful in providing information on what is needed to be an au pair in these countries. If tempted to au pair in Ireland read here . The driver behind demand for positions as an au pair England or au pair Ireland is the high level of unemployment from young people in their own countries so rather than face unemployment or a dismal job market an au pair appears to be a far more interesting alternative for many young people.

Before you rush out and accept any au pair or fille au pair position or indeed before you search the web for London jobs or au pair jobs London take time to reflect on and determine exactly what an au pair is?  What are the duties and responsibilities, what do you believe will be the benefits and sacrifices, how do you go about finding and au pair London job and importantly why do you want to be an au pair in the first place.  Do your homework thoroughly as this can avoid disillusionment and perhaps tears later on.

So what is an au pair?


An au pair is a young person generally aged 18-30 unmarried with no children who moves to a foreign country to look after a host families children part-time and performs some light housework.  Babysitting on agreed evenings is also quite common, however, all these duties should take place within a 30 hour week, babysitting included. In exchange for this an au pair receives a private au pair room, meals and an agreed monetary allowance. This allowance varies according to the host country but in the UK it ranges between £75-85.  This however is negotiable.  Most au pairs attend language classes either whilst the children are at school or in the evenings.  It definitely is a wonderful opportunity to learn a new language, experience a new culture and learn some valuable life experiences whilst abroad.  Effectively it is a mutual cultural exchange which benefits both the host family and the au pair.  Most au pairs are female however some countries do allow male au pairs.  When French families either in France or in other countries post au pair positions on a website they are referred to ‘fille au pair’.

Au pair is a French term meaning ‘at par’ or ‘equal to’ meaning that the relationship between the host family and an au pair is intended to be one of equals.  The au pair becomes a member of the family for a defined period of time generally not exceeding one year.  An au pair therefore is not a nanny or a domestic servant rather, it is a young person looking to learn a new language and experience a new culture.

The benefits of being an au pair in London, Paris, New York  are that you get to experience and learn a new language, are exposed to a new culture and interact with other nationalities at language classes and socially.  One of the main reasons au pair London is so popular is the fact English is the language of business and is a must-have in many countries when applying for a job.  The idea of living in London with a host family, with defined hours and duties, a private au pair room, meals and approx £80 per week is in itself a life experience. 


Au pair london calling
Au pair London calling!

There are however sacrifices in being an au pair At times it may be hard to live and work in the same space as your host family.  Dealing with the tantrums of a 12 year old or feeding toddlers or dealing with toilet emergencies in say a 4 year old can be challenging.  You will spend a lot of time in your au pair room or quarters doing homework from your language course, streaming movies on your laptop, facetiming friends and family or on Skype to the boyfriend you have left behind. Your host families diet and food may be quite different to yours.  Even if your host family treats you as an adult and do not enforce curfews you are still living in somebody else’s home so you inevitably sacrifice some comfort and independence.  Despite this it is a wonderful way to explore another country, its customs and culture and at the same time make some lifelong friends.


So how do you source an au pair London position?

The most convenient way to source a position is through established and reputable websites that allow host families and aspiring au pairs to post and browse profiles for free.  I have covered all this in one of my other posts au pair world .Once however the host family or au pair wish to exchange personal messages either the au pair or host family must pay a small fee (generally the host family as contact information is locked without a subscription).  Once suitable matches are made then the au pair and host families can get to know each other better.

Video calls, Skype and Facetime are all useful tools in this process.  Flesh out in great detail exactly what your duties will be, working hours, free time, holidays, meals, private au pair room, babysitting and the ability to attend a language course.  Are you expected to drive their car and are you comfortable driving on the left hand side of the road or not.  If so make sure you are included on their insurance.  Propose and discuss a written contract which is for the protection of all involved.  During these discussion bear in mind the host family is also taking a gamble based on video calls or Skype by inviting you into their house and then trusting their children to your care.  It is worth noting that the monetary allowance and weekly hours are defined by the regulations of the respective host country which in the case of au pair London or au pair England is the UK regulations.

au pair london new breakfast!
Hearty English Breakfast…yummy

Some people use agencies also know as nanny services that match candidates with families and provide security in the form of background checks and contracts.  The downside is you personally cannot choose the family.

When taking up an au pair London or an au pair England position be aware that EU and EFTA citizens can enter the UK on a valid passport or identity card. No entry visa required.  You can also benefit from the national health service throughout your stay but must produce your European health insurance card. More information on this European Health Insurance Card.There are charges associated with hospital treatments or dental and some other treatments so it is prudent to bring your own private travel insurance policy as well as your European health insurance card.

If you do not qualify for an entry visa from being an EU citizen then you can apply to be an au pair in the UK under the Tier 5 mobility scheme.


Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme replaces the UK Working Holiday Visa programme.  The Youth Mobility Scheme is for young people who want to live, work and travel in the United Kingdom for a period of up to two years.

The Youth Mobility Scheme is only open to countries which have a special reciprocal agreement with the United Kingdom.  The list of countries participating in the scheme is much smaller than the list of countries participating in the original UK Working Holiday programme.

Currently, only passport holders from the following countries are eligible to apply under the UK Youth Mobility Scheme:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • Taiwan

To apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme you must score 50 on a points based assessment process.

Points are allocated in the following way:

  • Nationality – 30 points
  • Age – 20 points
  • Maintenance – 10 points.

For further information click here for the site info overview or

So having done all your research and chosen a family you believe you will be happy with, remember there are never any guarantees it will work out.  There are many examples of horror stories on both sides.  The key to a successful au pair experience should be to discuss the most important aspects of the au pair role well in advance and come to an agreement that is suitable for everyone. 

au pair London guide
Read up before you travel to London

Chance of Rain
Chance of Rain
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy

Summer nanny jobs have to be the best way to dip your toe into the nanny or au pair life.

You are looking for a summer job, perhaps to help fund college fees or to go travelling at the end of summer


but you would like something different from the usual student jobs such as working in a bar, restaurant or retail sales assistant.  Baby sitting is also a popular student job and has the added advantage that one can work full time or part time by day whilst baby sitting at night for people who know and trust you.



There is no law that says you have to be a minimum age to babysit for other children; however, it is recommended that nobody under 16 should be left to care for young children especially an infant.  Baby sitting is a responsible role as there is a child or children in a house in your care.  Have the phone numbers of the children’s parents, local doctor and close friends or relatives of the family who can be contacted in an emergency.

summer nanny jobs
A must read to find summer nanny jobs and ideas where to look

Many seeking summer nanny jobs gravitate to London England as nannies are more popular and more main stream in the UK and some say the ‘home’ of the nanny. Other big cities like New York, Paris, Dublin for example are popular also due to high income earners who can afford a nanny and because of the greater availability of jobs and the freedom and excitement which a big city brings. London jobs is a good place to start your search for a summer nanny as here you will earn the most and always has a plethora of jobs on offer. Many student jobs are listed online or with nanny services as they tend to be short term which suits both parties. Generally there are many housekeeping jobs on offer but these are very British type jobs and can be hard to get into as they more than likely are looking for someone long term and with plenty of experience and references.

A summer nanny job is perhaps not the most exciting job for teenagers and students but it pays well and is a means to an end over the summer.


The summer always sees a big growth in the tourism industry so hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and indeed private houses have housekeeping jobs available, if you cannot find one in a private house. The general duties can range from cleaning tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, making beds, cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors and replenishing supplies such as soap and toilet paper. Housekeeping jobs generally have fixed hours and mostly during the day consequently you are in a position to make extra money through baby sitting or working in the hospitality industry or private functions for overtime pay in the evenings.

So what exactly is a summer nanny job? and what is required of you?

summer nanny job treat for yourself
Treat yourself to something nice but practical heading off on your summer nanny jobs!


Summer nanny jobs as the title implies essentially means being employed for the summer by a family to look after their children during the school holidays whilst the parents are at work.  It is a responsible role as the summer nanny is entrusted with other people’s children to keep safe and to make the summer a fun time for the children in his/her care.  A summer nanny will plan the children’s activities and take them to sports lessons or games, music lessons and a whole range of activities the children may be engaged in as well as organising day trips.  A summer nanny may very well have to do some academic work with the children during their holidays.  There will be some housework involved as in getting the children’s meals, making their beds and generally cleaning up after the children.

For the avoidance of tears or frustration later it is important when you interview with parents for summer nanny jobs that pay and payment dates, hours of work, time off and if driving is involved that you are covered on their car insurance and all other relevant details are clarified and established.  Establish if you will accompany the children if and when the family go on vacation at home or abroad.  If not required during vacation time will you still get paid?  It is advisable when you meet with the parents that the children be present as it affords you the opportunity to gauge their personalities and help you decide whether you believe you would be comfortable with those children for the entire summer.


Summer nanny jobs will mean you are busy all the time, will help your organisational and interpersonal skills, test your patience at times but as I said in the opening paragraph of this article if you are looking for something different from the usual summer student jobs then summer nanny jobs is worth trying at least once. It will also open your eyes to a whole new world in childcare that you might not have thought of and if it is for you then the world is your oyster in terms of opportunities and in fact travel opportunities. There is also a whole au pair world out there where you can travel the world and get paid for it. Read up more on how to get started in the post get yourself registered with au pair world or there are plenty to choose from so get online. London, Paris, Dublin, Barcelona, New York, Los Angeles watch out !!

Jobs for teens in general tend to be sourced in the area the teen lives in as it is unlikely a teen will be allowed move to a big city, plus the money will not pay enough for them to be self sufficient. Jobs for teens are many and varied and encompass roles such as washing cars, light gardening, dog walking.  Older teens can work as sales assistants in the retail industry, waiters/waitresses in a restaurant, café or hotel and baby sitting and housekeeping jobs for older teens.  Generally one must be 18 to work in a bar if serving alcohol.  Golf caddy and lifeguards are other jobs for teens which may be available depending obviously where you live.

summer camp great summer nanny jobs experience also
Summer Camp

Another area for student jobs which differs from the norm is working in a summer camp.

Summer camp is a supervised programme for children or teenagers which take place during the summer months in some countries.  Most people associate summer camp with the great outdoors but there are camps with a variety of specialised activities for instance music, computers and language learning.  Summer camp is huge in the USA and children go to enjoy the great outdoors.  Summer camp is a place to have fun, learn new skills, to grow as an individual, to play games and enjoy experiences.


There are about 12,000 camps in the USA of which 7,000 are overnight camps, consequently there are a whole range of jobs on offer in summer camp. Camps love to employ international staff as it adds a new dimension to that particular camp. Each year specialist companies in the UK and Ireland send thousands of students and adults under 30 to work in these camps.  These companies sort out visas, a job as a camp counsellor working with children with the added benefit of free food, accommodation whilst earning money and with time off to explore the USA at the end of camp.


There are many nanny services companies that specialise in providing nannies to families. read HERE to find out more on this.  Generally these are full time nanny roles consequently character references, police vetting, experience and some child care qualifications may be required. Some of these roles will be as a live in nanny as in live full time with the family in their house, whereas others will live out and present themselves for work each day.

Here is an article from the Boston Globe about 20 year old Hannah who talks about summer nanny jobs and what’s involved Summer Nanny is always on the go.



Looking at Au Pair in South Africa? Some quick facts – Aupairsa.

South Africa might not as of yet be your number one choice in which to au pair but I will run through some quick facts on South Africa. What is involved in terms of work permits and visas for travelling au pairs, au pairs salaries in South Africa, and what is expected of South African host families, as well as the current job situation in South Africa and how to look for that all important job.

Map of Southern Africa, Undated
Get your bearings to choose where to go.

South Africa Quick Facts:


Key Facts:

  • Official name: Republic of South Africa
  • Form of state: A federal state, comprising a national government and nine provincial governments.
  • Legal system: Based on Roman-Dutch law and the 1996 Constitution.
  • Population (Census 2011): 51.77-million
  • Measures: metric system
  • Currency: One rand (R) = 100 cents
  • Time: Two hours ahead of GMT
  • Internet domain: .za

South Africa by population:

South Africa is a nation of 51.77-million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. Around 79% are black (or African), 8.9% “coloured” – the local label for people of mixed African, Asian and white descent – 8.9% white, and 2.5% Indian or Asian. Data from the 2011 census.

The majority of South Africans are Christian, the largest church being the indigenous Zion Christian Church, followed by the Dutch Reformed and Catholic churches.


There are 11 recognised languages; most are indigenous to South Africa such as Zulu. English is recognised and spoken everywhere. The current president Jacob Zuma makes all his addresses and speeches in English as English is the language of business.

Weather: If coming from the northern hemisphere bear in mind the seasons are reversed e.g their summer is our winter.

Summer: Over much of South Africa, summer, which lasts from mid-October to mid- February, is characterised by hot, sunny weather – often with afternoon thunderstorms that clear quickly, leaving a warm, earthy, uniquely African smell in the air. 33 Degress highest temperature.

Table Mountain from the sea- aupairsa
Table Mountain Cape Town – Au Pair paradise.

Autumn:  or fall – in South Africa is from mid-February to April. It offers the best weather in some respects. Very little rain falls over the whole country, and it is warm but not too hot, getting colder as the season progresses.

Winter:  from May to July – is characterised in the higher-lying areas of the interior plateau by dry, sunny, crisp days and cold nights, sometimes with heavy frosts. It’s a good idea to bring warm clothes. The high mountains of the Cape usually get snow during the winter. The coldest area in winter time can be Bloemfontein -2 Degrees.

Spring:  lasts from August to mid-October and in the Western and Northern Cape it is a spectacular experience to witness the flowers and plants start to flourish.

Big cities: Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg

Money Money Money:      With a favourable exchange rate for many international currencies, you’ll find South Africa a very inexpensive destination. South Africa’s unit of currency is the Rand, which is divided into 100 cents. Coins come in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5, and notes in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.

Can you drink the water: No it is not recommended to drink tap water but bottled water is available in all stores and is quite cheap.

Driving:                 In South Africa they drive on the left hand side of the road and most cars are stick shift.

Is it safe?              Only if you take all the appropriate precautions which will be explained to you by the host family or agency (if you use one) should you acquire an au pair position.

Just to give you a quick insight into the job crisis in South Africa so you can see what lies ahead in terms of the all-important job search – 1 in 4 are unemployed in South Africa with a youth crisis where 63.1% jobless. The national unemployment rate is currently at 25% the 8th highest in the world.


It is therefore no surprise that you cannot enter South Africa and begin your job search unless you already have one or more job offers. Foreigners need to get a job offer in order to apply for a work permit for South Africa. Because of this, anyone interested in securing a job should I suggest begin their search online. Where do you begin one may ask? With so many options and choices today any hints or tips are helpful which is why I have spoken about websites V’s agencies here – plus the pros and cons of a live in nanny– so all of this should help guide you in your search for a job.

Given the strict visa policy in South Africa and consequently the difficulty in securing a job offer it may be worth while initially at least to search on line under the headings jobs in south Africa, jobs in south Africa for foreigners or au pair jobs south Africa.  Whilst another site I wrote about does not cover South Africa there is a site which does so namely Aupairsa – if interested you can read my article on aupair world – click to read.

Quick look at

Au Pair SA is a South African online au pair agency that has serviced over 20,000 families and 80,000 au pairs around the country since its inception in 2007.

Similar to other site and again referring to aupairworld it can be viewed for free for a limited time but in order to contact au pairs you need to pay for this facility. 30 days is R535 which is €35 / USD$40 / GBP£26 OR 90 days which is €76 / USD$85 /GBP£55 one off payment. AU PAIRS ARE FREE – NO CHARGE.

The benefits of using an online agency is that they will be registered with the South African Department of Home Affairs and will be able to sponsor an aupair visa for you in advance thereby eliminating any headaches and uncertainties.

However in South Africa there are some slight differences so I will just run though what is needed to become an au pair in South Africa to avoid any confusion.


  • Have a valid driver’s license, not essential but will make you more employable. Most families in South Africa lead highly mobile lives with both parents working. The au pair must be able to do the school lifts and take children to extra afternoon activities as well as help out with shopping and other household chores.
  • Have at least two hundred hours(200) childcare experience
  • Enjoy working with children aged between 3 months and 13 years
  • Be able to commit for a year
  • Have a good command of English
  • Be aged between 18 and 24.
  • A non-smoker
  • High school diploma
  • Copy of criminal record check
  • Copy of your references
  • What will make you stand out:
    • Relevant childcare certificates or courses you have obtained i.e first aid, CPR etc.
    • Degrees or diplomas
    • Full clean driving licence
History of South Africa - get familiar to become aupairsa
History of South Africa – a must read for au pair

Au Pair Benefits and salary:


Host Families in South Africa provide their Au Pair with the following:

  • Private room and full board.
  • R2500-R4000 pocket money per month
  • 2 weeks of paid vacation per 12 months

With South Africa being so vast and with a lot of cultural differences I would recommend doing your homework on the different states in the country so that you can search for your jobs by location; jobs kwazulu natal, jobs in Johannesburg, jobs in Capetown. Do you know where these places are? Could you see yourself living there?  Remember that when dealing with agencies their role is to fill vacant positions so unless you stress or emphasis your preferred location you could end up in a location you dislike, have a bad experience which in turn could put you off the idea of ever again becoming an au pair. There are many nanny jobs and au pair jobs available you just need to get busy on the internet. Why go to a big city and au pair New York or au pair London when you can choose South Africa and open your eyes to new cultures and experiences, a once in a lifetime experience.


Tip of the Day :


Many new au pairs are faced with the problem of gaining childcare experience before getting their ideal au pair job. A solution that I would recommend is to volunteer some of your time to a charity which provides care for children in need, such as orphans and abandoned or abused children. Search the internet or ask local charities to help guide your search.

Not only will you experience the joy of seeing the benefits your care and companionship provides to children in need, but you will also be able to build valuable childcare references that will greatly aid you in finding your ideal au pair position.

If you are living at home and consequently have free board and lodging then working for free as an assistant in a crèche, Montessori or day care centre will also provide you with experience and be a valuable addition to your CV.

For more useful tips – subscribe.

64° F