Blog 42 Questions about au pairs
Au Pair host family FAQs | Nanny Nina
The 42 things you need to know before starting with an au pair
Considering an au pair? Take a look at the 40 questions below. At least one of them must be new to you! We hope it helps you:) If you have a question that is very specific for your case just give us a call and we will be happy to help out. +31 6 83261116
1. What is an au pair?
It sounds fancy, right? An au pair is a young person aged 18-31 who wants to experience life in the Netherlands. In exchange for a room in your house and meals, an au pair is prepared to become part of your family, look after your kids and help with light housework, for up to 30 hours a week.
2. Is the au pair a qualified childcare worker?
The au pair does not need to have any specialist knowledge of childcare but is required to have some babysitting experience and a love for children. The au pair is your extra pair of hands and eyes when you’re busy at work. The au pair supervises kids at home and can help your daily routines go much more smoothly. For example, the au pair can ensure your kids eat a nutritious breakfast, pack lunch, get them to school safely, pick them up, arrange playdates, take them to extracurricular activities like sport or dance lessons, help them with homework, eat dinner with them and get them to bed as per their regular schedule. They act as an older sibling and can greatly reduce the stress of school and daycare routines. The au pair can also be on hand when you’re out for an evening. Every week, you decide together the distribution of hours that suit you all.
3. What sort of work does an au pair do in the house?
The au pair supports the family for a maximum of 30 hours a week with childcare and doing light household work that could also be done by another member of the family. For example, vacuum cleaning, doing the laundry or dishes, wiping down the kitchen surfaces after food preparation, clearing the table after a meal or messy craft activities, and walking the dog. Many parents also appreciate the au pair of cooking and eating dinner with the kids in case they get home later than usual.
4. Is an au pair expense covered by kindertoeslag?
No. The costs of an au pair are not eligible for child allowance (kindertoeslag) but, at an average cost of €750 per month, having an au pair is comparable to any other childcare option after the child allowance (kindertoeslag).
5. Does the au pair live with us?
Yes. As part of the cultural exchange program, an au pair lives with you and supports your family best within your home. The au pair has to be registered at your address with the local government after arrival.
6. What do we give the au pair?
A chance to learn about Dutch culture.
A private room and meals.
Pocket money of €340 monthly.
A monthly mobile phone allowance.
Access to WiFi.
7. What are the requirements for the au pair’s room?
The room must be at least 8m2, have a window that can open and have easy access to a bathroom. The bedroom must also contain a heater, lighting, a desk with chair, closet space, and maybe a TV. Internet access must be available to the au pair throughout the house. Fresh bed linen and towels are a nice way to greet someone who has packed up their life for a year in a suitcase.
8. Will we lose our privacy with an au pair?
Many parents hesitate over this one point but every single parent who has had an au pair say, that after a short adjustment period, you don’t notice. The au pair becomes part of the family so you don’t need to be formal around each other. More often than not, the au pair prefers to spend free time outside with other au pair friends or relaxing in their bedroom, watching shows, or talking on the phone. You can still have your glass of wine in peace!
9. How do we find an au pair?
You can use your own network to find an au pair through trusted contacts, or on a matching website like www.aupair.com or you could register your intent with Nanny Nina and we look for the perfect match. After finding an au pair, Dutch law requires you to use an agency like Nanny Nina, to deal with all the paperwork for you. You get a €500 discount off our agency fee if you find your own au pair but the quality of service you receive is the same. We’re here to help you every step of the way.
10. How does the process work?
You register by filling in a form giving us details about your family, working hours, income, pets, hobbies, expectations of an au pair, and so on. Nanny Nina then searches for the right fit for your family. You receive a profile of a candidate. You only need to pay when you find that ‘click’. You video call with the au pair candidate and get to know each other. You say Yes! and then we start the process of collating documents and applying for a visa or permit for the au pair with details of your family and income to the IND. Three contracts are signed and submitted.
- Au pair and Host.
- Host and Agency and
- Au Pair and Agency.
We give you a checklist of things to prepare and check-in with you throughout.
11. What do we pay to the au pair agency?
If your au pair is recruited within the EU, you pay the agency a one-time fee of €2699 and if she is from a non-EU country, you pay the agency €2990 at the start of the process.
12. What do we pay the au pair?
€340 a month in pocket money throughout her stay including holidays. This is not a wage so it is not taxable. It is a good idea to help the au pair set up a Dutch bank account if she is with you for longer than 4 months.
13. How long can the au pair be with us?
Between 4 and 12 months. Nanny Nina recommends a maximum of 12 months because this gives your family enough time to truly benefit from the cultural exchange.
14. What if our kids don’t get along with the au pair?
This is something that can be avoided by the screening process but if one of your children resists the change in the family dynamics, for example, we would suggest some activities to reduce their stress and develop a bond between them and the au pair. If the situation does not improve after a few weeks of proactive steps towards a positive relationship, contact us for a rematch.
15. What if we want a rematch the au pair?
You pay €800 for a rematch if your au pair has to leave your family. We try to avoid this where possible but we want your family to have a wonderful cultural exchange. The rematch process can vary in length depending on the reason behind it. If we cannot help you work through differences, we can offer you a different profile to consider. If there is a bigger problem because, for example, the conditions of the exchange were not followed, then a more detailed investigation is conducted to avoid disappointment with a new au pair.
16. What if the au pair gets sick?
With Nanny Nina, you are always covered. You get free access to our babysitting network to fill in the gaps in childcare. Just like any short term illness in a family member, adjustments are made until the person is back on their feet.
If the au pair falls dangerously ill, needs to be hospitalized or flown back to their country for some reason, then please contact us as soon as you know and we will find a solution for you as fast as possible.
17. What happens when we go on holiday?
You can discuss with your au pair and decide whether you want to have her along to either holiday with you or look after the children on holiday as well. This is best when you have clear communication about who is paying the bill and responsibilities.
18. Is our house big enough for an au pair?
If you have a room that is at least 9m2, that has a window and access to a bathroom, your house is big enough. Contact us if you’re unsure.
19. Can a single parent have an au pair?
Yes, if your
Sv-loon per month without holiday allowance is € 1,984.32
Sv-loon per month with holiday allowance is € 2,143.07
20. What are the benefits of an au pair?
The flexibility of the schedule.
Peace of mind throughout the day.
Stability for your children to be with the same caregiver in their own homes.
Cultural education for your children.
Being able to focus on the fun parts of parenting.
Affordability compared to daycare.
21. Is it cheaper to have an au pair?
Yes, especially if you have two children or more of school age.
22. Do we all need to speak English to have an au pair?
Not at all! This is one of the key questions in the screening process. You choose the main language you would like your children to be used with the au pair. Some families choose au pairs to improve their kids’ level of English or to maintain one of their own languages in a bilingual household. For example, a French-speaking parent who feels unable to expose the children to enough French and fears that they will be unable to pick it up later might choose an au pair who is fluent in French.
23. Do we need to get anything ready before the au pair arrives?
When you register with Nanny Nina, you receive a checklist of things to get ready in the room, creating time for official appointments and how to prepare your family for the arrival of its newest member.
24. What would an average week with an au pair look like?
One of the requirements of the au pair program is the mutually agreed weekly plan.
You receive an editable template from us that you fill in together weekly. This can contain times of various activities you would like the au pair to do.
For example 8 hours on a Monday - Thursday
7:00 am get the children breakfast and pack lunches.
8:00 am Cycle with them to school.
8:30 - 10:00 am Clear breakfast
sweep kitchen and dining area
Wipe down surfaces
Vacuum clean the hallway and living room.
10:00 - 14:30 Free time
14:30 Set up afternoon activities and leave to collect kids from school.
15:30 - 16:30 Supervise free play
16:30 - 17:00 Homework
17:00 - 17:30 Make dinner
17:45 - 18:00 Tidy away playthings
18:00 - 18:30 Dinner
18:30 - 19:30 Bedtime rituals
25. What happens if the au pair wants to take a holiday?
Most families find a solution that overlaps with their own holiday plans. The key to a good working relationship is clear communication. Encourage the au pair to speak to you about any hopes or plans of a holiday at a certain time and vice versa.
26. Can the au pair come to babysit for us on holiday?
Depending on the visa requirements for your holiday destination, your au pair can join you on holiday to continue supporting you with the kids. Communicate her responsibilities clearly through this time and you will all have a great time!
27. My au pair is homesick, how do I help her?
Homesickness tends to set in around 3-4 months into the au pair’s stay. The novelty of the situation has worn off slightly and she might be feeling far from friends, noticing the missed milestones back home and craving something familiar.
- Get some of her favorite photos printed and help make her room feel like her own space.
- Give her a full weekend off to go on a trip with a few au pair friends.
- Ask her about her family traditions around holidays or special events and try to make space for her to recreate them.
- Take her to a shop that sells things from her home country.
- Invite her to family gatherings and social events.
- Ask her about what she likes watching or reading and try watching an episode together one evening.
- Share phrases from your own languages.
- Talk about what she misses but keep the tone positive and highlight what is good about where she is from and where she is now. Being too sympathetic could mean more tears!
- Be patient. Give her space to feel sad and trust that she will feel better soon.
28. Can my au pair help with chores around the house?
Yes. Light household work that could also be done by another member of the family. For example,
- vacuum cleaning,
- doing the laundry or dishes,
- wiping down the kitchen surfaces after food preparation,
- clearing the table after a meal or messy craft activities and
- walking the dog.
- Many parents also appreciate the au pair of cooking and eating dinner with the kids in case they get home later than usual.
29. Are there male au pairs? Does an au pair need to be a woman?
Your au pair can be a man! Just note this requirement when you register with Nanny Nina.
30. What if my au pair wants to stay longer?
The Dutch government issues cultural exchange residence permits for a maximum of 1 year which cannot be extended. Contact us whenever your au pair is considering extending her stay.
31. What if my au pair runs away?
Notify Nanny Nina immediately. Call us on +316 38502234
Depending on the length of time she has been unreachable, we might need to notify the police.
32. Do I need to get au pair insurance?
Although it is not compulsory, at Nanny Nina, we strongly recommend host families get extra au pair insurance. This should cover anything that happens when she travels and covers you if anything at home gets damaged.
33. Can I pay my au pair more if I want her to work extra hours?
The legal limit is €340 per month for a maximum of 30 hours a week. If you need more childcare support, simply use Nanny Nina’s babysitting network. Call us on +316 38502234
34. Does my au pair need a language course?
As part of the cultural exchange, Nanny Nina Academy offers various opportunities for development. Create time in the week for your au pair to follow a course.
35. What is the au pair exchange program?
It is a government initiative in many countries that allows young people to experience life in a new country. They receive free room and board in exchange for a fresh cultural experience within a family and offer help with childcare and light housework. Find out more here:
36. What are the most common countries where au pairs come from?
In a recent survey of au pairs in the Netherlands, about 23% of all au pairs came from The Philippines, 21 % from South Africa, and 34% from Latin American countries like Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Mexico. The rest are from countries within the EU. Bonus fact: About 11% of host families were not Dutch!
37. How do I find an au pair?
You can find an au pair through your own network of family and friends. A personal recommendation is always good! You can find one through a site like www.aupair.com or you can find an au pair through us! Register here!
38. What should I ask my au pair in the interview?
Once you register with Nanny Nina, you receive an interview template to use as you screen your future au pair. The questions are about her background, her experience, her goals and expectations, practicalities like housework, holidays, and language.
39. What does an au pair cost?
After your one-off payment, an au pair over 12 months, costs an average of €750 a month including food and energy expenses.
40. What are the au pair requirements?
An au pair can be anyone aged 18-31 years old on their first cultural exchange visit to the Netherlands.
Nanny Nina does all the screening so all you need to do is find out if you ‘click’ on a video call.
What to ensure if you've found your own au pair:
- the au pair is not related to your family in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree
- the au pair has not paid any money to an intermediary agency
- the au pair has not had a resident permit for exchange purposes in the Netherlands before.
Whether you find your own au pair or meet the right person through Nanny Nina, these are some documents needed for a successful application:
- legal passport valid for the entire duration of the stay
- an apostille-stamped birth certificate
- a declaration of good conduct
- a medical certificate
41. What if something changes in our family?
Let us know if your family is about to change due to a separation, a new job, a house move, or illness. We are obliged to inform the IND of major structural changes like this that affects the conditions of the au pair’s residence permit. We are always here to help.
Call us on: +316 38502234 or email us at: [email protected]
42. My wife and I are divorced/co-parenting. Can I share the au pair?
The au pair can only look after the kids in the house where she and the kids are registered. So for example, if your husband and you are divorced and of your three children only 2 children are at your house then only those two can be taken care of by the au pair.