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What are Au Pair Duties?

Au Pair duties

What is an Au Pair expected to do? Duties for an Au Pair are primarily concerned with childcare, but may also include some household chores.

Duties should be similar to what would be expected from an elder child. OK, the super helpful elder child of every parents dreams!

Some examples of what an Au Pair might typically be expected to do are:

  • Playing with children and entertaining them
  • Supervising children while they entertain themselves
  • Helping children with homework
  • Preparing children’s meals
  • Helping tidy up the ever expanding spread of toys around the house

But what do Host Families really expect? What do Au Pairs really feel comfortable doing?

In this post we are going to examine the statistics from the Au Pair Finder database, comparing Au Pair and Host Family expectations.

In a previous post, What are Au Pairs paid, we uncovered that most Au Pairs and most Families are expecting duties to take between 20 and 30 hours per week. So in the following discussion we’re going to focus on statistics for what is expected in those 20 to 30 hours.

What days of the week does an Au Pair work?

Lets start by examining which days of the week duties are expected to be performed. Is it generally Monday to Friday? Is the weekend free?

The general preference is for Monday to Friday work. However, some Families and some Au Pairs prefer to work Saturday and Sunday, while having other days of the week free.

Both Au Pairs and Host Families expect a 5 day week, with two free days. This implies that the Au Pair is working between 4 and 6 hours per day (based on the 20 to 30 hours a week expectation).

Au Pair preferred work days

What are Au Pair duties?

On average Host Families expect Au Pairs to have 6 duties that they perform during the week.

The top 6 duties selected by Host Families are:

  1. Supervise children in the home
  2. Take children to and from school or day care
  3. Clean children’s rooms and put away toys
  4. Help with cleaning dishes after family meals
  5. Cook children’s meals
  6. Vacuum common areas of the house

The top 6 duties selected by Au Pairs are:

  1. Supervise children in the home
  2. Clean children’s rooms and put away toys
  3. Cook children’s meals
  4. Take children to and from school or day care
  5. Take children to activities such as sport
  6. Help children with homework

Four of these top six preferences match between Au Pairs and Families. Families prefer some help with household chores, while Au Pairs prefer to focus on the children.

While vacuuming common areas of the house is in the top six duties preferred by Families it is one of the least popular tasks with Au Pairs, with only 50% of Au Pairs wanting to do this. However, generally Au Pair willingness to perform a duty is higher than the demand from Families. For example 96% of Au Pairs are willing to clean children’s rooms, while only 59% of Host Families actually expect this.

Au Pair expected-duties

Au Pair skills

Are Au Pairs expected to drive?

The number two task selected by Host Families was taking children to and from school or day care, this came in at number five for Au Pair preferences. Does that imply the ability to drive a car is important?

Correlating driving experience and taking children to and from school we find that 48% of Families want some level of driving experience. This implies that at least 52% of families expect the use of public transport or walking for the journey to school or day care.

Doing the same correlation of school run duties and driving for Au Pairs we find that 59% of Au Pairs expecting to do this have driving experience.

Au Pair driving experience

Looking at general driving expectations without any correlation to specific duties we find 40% of Host Families expect an Au Pair to drive, while 55% have driving experience.

Generally Au Pairs have more driving experience than Host Families require.

It’s a good idea when starting to drive in a new country to have some driving lessons in order to come up to speed on local driving rules. It normally takes a few weeks to feel comfortable in traffic, particularly when driving on the opposite side of the road.

Au Pair driving experience

Should an Au Pair have first aid training?

Subjectively the answer is of course yes. It’s generally a good idea to have some form of first aid training.

Examining profiles 47% of Au Pairs have first aid skills. While somewhat surprisingly only 17% of Host Families explicitly want an Au Pair with first aid experience, and 83% of Host Families have no preference.

Au Pair with first aid

Family first aid preference

Should an Au Pair have water safety training?

Au Pairs are generally un-likely to have water safety training, with 22% having taken a course. However, only 8% of Host Families specifically want an Au Pair with water safety skills, and 92% of Families have no preference.

Au Pair with safety

Family first aid preference

What child care experience should an Au Pair have?

Au Pairs are not qualified child care professionals, but are likely to have had some experience looking after children.

The most popular preference Host Families expressed when looking for an Au Pair is that the Au Pair has been a babysitter for friends.

While Au Pairs mostly do tend to have experience babysitting, they do tend to have slightly more experience babysitting members of their own family.

More than half of Host Families would prefer an Au Pair who already has been an Au Pair for another Family.

Only 5% of Au Pairs stated that they had no experience (within the categories used in the profile questions), and 29% of Host Families expressed no preference for child care experience.

Au Pair child care experience

Conclusions

In looking at averages we are generalising expectations. Individual expectations vary. However, from these averages we can draw some conclusions.

Work day expectations are generally Monday to Friday and between 4 to 6 hours.

Host Families and Au Pairs agree that the primary duty of an Au Pair is to supervise children in the home.

The next most important task for Host Families is dropping off and picking up children at school or day care. Less than 48% of Families expect their Au Pair to drive when going to school or day care.

Generally Host Families prioritise household chores a little more than Au Pairs, who prefer to focus on child care duties.

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