How much flexibility can I expect from an au pair?

Why Do You Want to Be an Au Pair?


If you are an au pair, this is probably one of the questions you are asked most frequently: “Why do you want to be one?” For some, the answer could be very easy to answer, and for others not. The fact is, once you are committed to being an au pair, there are few jobs that provide as much satisfaction and enjoyment! There are also a lot of other factors that may form part of your decision to enter this profession. You may love children and love to work with them, and you may really like becoming part of a family unit where you have a functional role within the family.

One of the things that people in this profession inevitably have to explain to others when asked why they wanted to become one is that there is a very big difference between being a nanny and an au pair. While nannies are predominantly employed to look after smaller children and to provide very basic care for these children, au pairs are usually people who are qualified in certain childcare concepts, and they act as a substitute for the parent or guardian while the parent is not available. This may include anything from interacting with the child’s school or healthcare provider, to driving them around to various activities. A good au pair is also expected to provide certain educational principles and to help children with their homework and see to their general wellbeing.

If asked “why do you want to be an au pair?”, most good ones will inevitably state that it is because they are passionate about children and that they want to follow a career in childcare or teaching. Being a part of raising a child or children, and seeing them grow and flourish can be extremely rewarding, and it often provides very valuable experience while studying for a teaching qualification.

Travelling with the family to different destinations and experiencing different locations can be very exciting, and many are required to accompany families on holidays and trips. They often also meet each other in locations where they take children, such as parks and play schools, and make new friends in this way.

The general perception is that they do not earn very much, but depending on their experience and qualifications, the tasks they are expected to carry out, and the hours they are required to work, it could actually be a very lucrative occupation, especially for young people. Sometimes, it is a way of making extra money to complement their studies, and in these cases, half day jobs like these can provide them with a decent income while also giving them plenty of time to attend classes or to study.

At AuPair Extraordinaire, we always ask our applicants, “Why do you want to be an au pair?”, and the answers to this question can give us valuable insights about the applicant. It is not all fun and games all the time. It can be very hard work. However, the rewards are almost always worth it! We do, however, advise all our applicants to ensure that they are passionate about children, and that they have a good understanding of what is required before they apply for a job.

If you are interested in becoming an au pair in South Africa, fill in our online application form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.