Au pair

An au pair


Au pairs live and work for a host family in another country and are usually in charge of taking care of the family’s children. They are young individuals, seeking to explore another culture while providing child care services as well as other light housekeeping activities such as cleaning, gardening and shopping.

Au pairs typically do the following:

  • waking the children
  • dressing infants and toddlers
  • bathing and playing with the children
  • preparing meals for the children
  • looking after the children’s belongings
  • making the children’s beds and straightening their rooms
  • doing the children’s laundry
  • cleaning up the kitchen after the children eat
  • straightening up the playroom once playtime is over
  • driving children to and from school, appointments or outings as requested by the host family
  • stay at home with the children when the children are sick or on holidays

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to au pair:

baby sitter
child caretaker

Working conditions

An au pair typically works for a family for one year, living with them and helping to take care of their children. During the day, the au pair will care for the children, taking them to and from school and activities, preparing meals, and helping with homework. In the evening, the au pair will have free time to pursue their own interests or study for school. The au pair will also have weekends free, although they may be asked to work occasional weekends if the family has events or plans. The au pair must be comfortable living in close quarters with the family and be able to work well with children.

Minimum qualifications

Au pairs are not required to have a formal educational credential. However, many au pairs have completed high school or have taken classes in high school subjects, such as English, math or science. Some au pairs have also taken college courses or earned a degree.

Most au pairs will receive training from their host families. This training will help the au pair learn about the family’s daily routines and responsibilities. It will also help the au pair learn the local language.

Some organizations offer training programs for new au pairs. These programs can help the au pair learn about the responsibilities of the role and the culture of the country. They can also help the au pair meet other au pairs and make friends.

In general, au pairs are required to demonstrate their fluency in the language of the host country, for example by completing specific language tests and achieving a score higher than a defined threshold.

Depending on the employer, au pairs may have other requirement to fulfill to be hired. This includes age requirement, visa requirement, no criminal record, or be single and without children

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Au pair is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Au pair career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to au pair.

child care worker
early years teaching assistant

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of au pair. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of au pair with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

legal guardian
snowboard instructor
golf instructor
ski instructor
activity leader

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of au pair.

  • Workplace sanitation: The importance of a clean, sanitary workspace for example through use of hand disinfectant and sanitizer, in order to minimise infection risk between colleagues or when working with children.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of au pair.

  • Assist children with homework: Help children with school tasks. Assist the child with the interpretation of the assignment and the solutions. Make sure the child studies for tests and exams.
  • Entertain people: Provide people with amusement by doing or offering a performance, like a show, a play or an artistic performance.
  • Prepare sandwiches: Make filled and open sandwiches, paninis and kebabs.
  • Handle chemical cleaning agents: Ensure proper handling, storage and disposal of cleaning chemicals in accordance with regulations.
  • Promote human rights: Promote and respect human rights and diversity in light of the physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs of autonomous individuals, taking into account their opinions, beliefs and values, and the international and national codes of ethics, as well as the ethical implications of healthcare provision, ensuring their right to privacy and honouring for the confidentiality of healthcare information.
  • Assist in children’s development of basic personal skills: Encourage and facilitate the development of children’s natural curiosity and social and language abilities through creative and social activities such as storytelling, imaginative play, songs, drawing, and games.
  • Play with children: Engage in activities for enjoyment, tailored to children of a certain age. Be creative and improvise to amuse children with activities such as tinkering, sports or board games.
  • Communicate with youth: Use verbal and non-verbal communication and communicate through writing, electronic means, or drawing. Adapt your communication to children and young people`s age, needs, characteristics, abilities, preferences, and culture.
  • Give constructive feedback: Provide founded feedback through both criticism and praise in a respectful, clear, and consistent manner. Highlight achievements as well as mistakes and set up methods of formative assessment to evaluate work.
  • Attend to children’s basic physical needs: Tend to children by feeding them, dressing them, and, if necessary, regularly changing their diapers in a sanitary manner.
  • Maintain relations with children’s parents: Inform children`s parents of the activities planned, program`s expectations and children`s individual progress.
  • Supervise children: Keep the children under supervision for a certain period of time, ensuring their safety at all times.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of au pair. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Baby care: The procedures required to take care of children up to the age of 1, such as feeding, bathing, soothing, and diapering the baby.
  • Disability care: The specific methods and practices used in providing care to people with physical, intellectual and learning disabilities.
  • Common children’s diseases: The symptoms, characteristics, and treatment of diseases and disorders that often affect children, such as the measles, chickenpox, asthma, the mumps, and head lice.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of au pair. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Manage children’s problems: Promote the prevention, early detection, and management of children`s problems, focusing on developmental delays and disorders, behavioural problems, functional disabilities, social stresses, mental disorders including depression, and anxiety disorders.
  • Carry out wound care: Cleanse, irrigate, probe, debride, pack and dress wounds.
  • Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
  • Feed pets: Make sure that pets are given appropriate food and water on time.
  • Assess the development of youth: Evaluate the different aspects of development needs of children and young people.
  • Drive vehicles: Be able to drive vehicles; have the appropriate type of driving license according to the type of motor vehicle used.
  • Speak different languages: Master foreign languages to be able to communicate in one or more foreign languages.
  • Support the positiveness of youths: Help children and young people to assess their social, emotional and identity needs and to develop a positive self image, enhance their self esteem and improve their self reliance.
  • Use food preparation techniques: Apply food preparation techniques including the selecting, washing, cooling, peeling, marinating, preparing of dressings and cutting of ingredients.
  • Iron textiles: Press and iron in order to shape or flatten textiles giving them their final finishing appearance. Iron by hand or with steam pressers.
  • Dispose waste: Dispose waste in accordance with legislation, thereby respecting environmental and company responsibilities.
  • Clean surfaces: Disinfect surfaces in accordance with sanitary standards.
  • Buy groceries: Purchase ingredients, products and tools that are necessary for daily housekeeping activities.
  • Clean rooms: Clean rooms by cleaning glasswork and windows, polishing furniture, vacuuming carpets, scrubbing hard floors, and removing garbage.
  • Use gardening equipment: Use gardening equipment such as clippers, sprayers, mowers, chainsaws, complying to health and safety regulations.
  • Support children’s wellbeing: Provide an environment that supports and values children and helps them to manage their own feelings and relationships with others.
  • Demonstrate when teaching: Present to others examples of your experience, skills, and competences that are appropriate to specific learning content to help students in their learning.
  • Prepare ready-made dishes: Get ready for serving snacks and sandwiches or heat up ready-made bar products if requested.
  • Use cooking techniques: Apply cooking techniques including grilling, frying, boiling, braising, poaching, baking or roasting.

ISCO group and title

5311 – Child care workers

  1. Au pair – ESCO
  2. Au Pair Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. How to apply to become an au pair & requirements –
  4. Featured image: By AuPair – Own work, Public Domain
Last updated on November 15, 2022

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