For families with young children, where there is no parent available around the clock for care, hiring an au pair is a great idea. Au pairs are governed by U.S. law, and au pairs are required to have au pair insurance that satisfies certain criteria. Other than that, all au pairs typically need are a good family as a host, and of course, a stipend.

One of the common misconceptions about au pairing is that they are simply foreign nannies. Au pairs are generally not professional caregivers. They are typically young students who want to live in and experience another culture, while saving up for their education. So, they will definitely need more help and guidance than a nanny.

Since they are not from the U.S., it is almost always impossible to meet au pairs before hiring them; however, you can talk to them. Also, the au pair program is strictly regulated, and things such as the minimum wages and benefits are fixed by law.

While the expenses for an au pair may be lower than that of a live-in nanny, it also means more involvement from your side, as you’ll need to teach her the ropes. Another expense to keep in mind is insurance for au pairs. Typically, the insurance for au pairs is a low-cost one, which includes medical care, emergency evacuation to the home country, and repatriation of remains benefits.