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The 3 Main Differences of Au Pairs Compared to Babysitters

It is the norm to hire a babysitter keep watch over the children when parents are working late or going out for the night. Many of these absences are no longer than a few nights, yet the children still need to be fed, cuddled, disciplined, educated, or even driven to various activities. Au pairs are often compared to babysitters, but they are in no way the same. Yes, the job of childminding is important in both roles, but the job of an au pair is so much more complex than that of a babysitter.

Here are some of the most important differences when you compare babysitters and au pairs:


  • Education: Au pairs are usually young people who take a serious interest in child education. Sometimes, they only travel overseas to gain experience after getting a degree in child education to broaden their horizons and to add experience to their portfolios when looking for educational jobs in schools and pre-schools after their travels. While they may be a neighbour’s son or daughter, they are only there to put the kids to bed and to act like a responsible adult on behalf of the parents. An au pair is trained to help with all the children’s needs, not to mention what they should do in a case of emergency. Au pairs compared to babysitters are like day and night. It is like employing someone for a piece job, versus employing a qualified person to look after your most precious people on a more permanent basis.


  • Time: Generally speaking, babysitters are only hired on an hourly basis. This means that they are only there for a few hours, usually when the parents need a night out or have a function or meeting to attend. Babysitters are usually young individuals, like a neighbour’s son or daughter, who are hired on a temporary basis to look after children when their parents are out for the night or need someone to take care of the kids for an afternoon, whereas au pairs are long-term employees. They usually live with the family, they get to know the children very well, and they are equipped to deal with homework, meals, driving and so much more.


  • Responsibility and interest: Au pair is a French word and translates to “on par” or “equal” in English. This means that when you compare au pairs to babysitters, there are a whole lot of differences, the main one being the interest the au pair takes in your children. They are “on par” with your family. While they are primarily employees, they take an interest in the daily development and care for your children, which a babysitter will only do for a few hours.


If you are looking for someone who you can rely on to truly and honestly care for your children, can drive them to school and their extracurricular activities, help them with their homework and become a stalwart in your household, you need an au pair and not a babysitter.

Contact us at AuPair Extraordinaire if you want the help of a professional to find an au pair that will not only do all of these things but could fit right in with your family – a matchmaker of sorts who will match you with the perfect au pair.