Considering Au Pair Care for Your Twins

Many parents of twins or more will consider an in-home caregiver when looking at daycare options, especially when their children are babies.

It can offer you more flexibility and make the transition back to the workplace easier and less stressful. One option for in-home care is the au pair.

An au pair is a foreign national who provides childcare in your home and lives with you as a host family. An au pair in the United States can provide child care for up 45 hours a week with one and a half days off per week and a full weekend off each month.

The host family provides the au pair with a weekly allowance, an opportunity to experience another culture and a private room. The arrangement is typically made for one year but can be extended to two years.

The term au pair is French and means "on a par" or "equal to," indicating that the au pair is intended to be a temporary part of the family. Au pairs will normally eat with the host family most of the time, and participate in some of the families activities, including outings and trips.

However, the host family will typically set expectations for private time for the family where the au pair can spend time with friends or retire to their room to relax.

An au pair who is placed with a family with children under two years of age must have at least 200 hours of child care experience with infants under two. They cannot be placed in a home with an infant under three months old unless one parent or another adult caregiver is present and fully responsible for the infant. Au pairs in the United States must be between the ages of 18 and 26, and proficient in spoken English.

Along with the weekly allowance, the host family pays an au pair agency an application fee (typically around $7,000 - 8,000 depending on the agency) to cover expenses related to the au pair's transportation to the United States, medical insurance, training and other administrative costs.

While an au pair may be more expensive than childcare outside of the home, families with multiple children may find that it's not significantly more expensive. Au pair programs also tend to be less expensive than hiring a nanny. You can also request that the agency place an au pair with specific skills or experience based on your personal needs.

Au Pair Care - Agency Discount for Twins or Multiples

Au Pair Care, a U.S.-based au pair agency with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, offers a discount to parents of twins or multiples. They waive their initial application fee of $350 and take an additional $200 off of their program fees -- a total savings of $550.

They also offer an Infant Specialized Care program, which provides host families with infants age 0-12 months with a trained au pair who specializes in infant caregiving and development. The cost to host an au pair through this agency works out to be about $7.50 per hour, regardless of how many kids are in the home.

To request more information or apply to be a host family, visit the Au Pair Care website.

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