What is a host family and how do we become one?

(Also to be found with keywords Host family and Becoming a host family)

Any family (also single-parent families) can host an au pair for the defined period of an au pair stay if the family unit includes at least one child 17 years of age or younger. Host families are looking for help with childcare combined with cultural exchange with a young person from another country. 

A Family in a meadow

During the au pair stay the au pair helps the host family with childcare in daily family life and also performs minor household tasks. In exchange, the host family provides free board and lodging to their au pair and also pays an agreed stipend as pocket money. The host family must be able to provide the au pair with a room of her/his own in the family home. It should be clear that the au pair is not joining the family as household help but rather as a temporary family member interested in cultural exchange in the host country.

Cultural exchange: A key part of the au pair stay

The aim of the au pair stay is a reciprocal cultural exchange between au pairs and host families combined with useful support for the host family with childcare needs. An important part of this exchange for au pairs is the opportunity to improve their linguistic skills in the national language of their host country. The families help their au pairs by communicating with them in this language. Au pairs should also have the opportunity to attend a language course. The standard arrangements and regulations for au pairing in different host countries can be found in our section Info host countries.