do i hire an au pair or nanny

For many families, choosing between an au pair and a nanny is a crucial decision that affects not just childcare, but the overall dynamics of the household. This guide delves into the specifics of each role, helping you understand which option aligns best with your family’s needs.

It’ll also hopefully answer your question: Do I hire an Au Pair or Nanny?


Do I hire an Au Pair or Nanny


Understanding Nannies in South Africa:

Nannies, often referred to as child minders in South Africa, are primarily focused on the care of younger children and managing household tasks.

Their role typically includes:

  • Caring for children, especially those under 7 years of age.
  • Performing domestic duties such as laundry, cleaning, and cooking for the entire family.
  • Often living in the employer’s home, usually wearing a uniform provided by the family.
  • Working full days, typically six days a week, with an average salary of around R5000 per month.
  • Limited in providing educational support due to their educational background.

Characteristics of Nannies:

  • Generally have limited formal education, which may affect their ability to assist with homework.
  • Rarely possess a driver’s licence.
  • Focus on creating a nurturing and well-maintained home environment.

Do I hire an Au Pair or Nanny


Au Pairs in South Africa:

Au pairs offer a more educationally focused form of childcare, suitable for families who need academic support for their children.

Their responsibilities include:

  • Caring for children of all ages, providing educational and developmental support.
  • Assisting with homework, school projects, and educational activities.
  • Transporting children to extracurricular activities and appointments.
  • Handling light cooking and errands related to the children.
  • Not typically responsible for heavy domestic chores.
  • Working mainly on weekdays, with occasional weekend babysitting.

Characteristics of Au Pairs:

  • Aged between 20 to 30 years, with 1 to 3 years of childcare experience.
  • Minimum of a Matric qualification, often pursuing or holding higher education degrees.
  • Holding a valid driver’s licence and having a personal vehicle.
  • Earning between R5000 to R15000, depending on hours and responsibilities.
  • Regularly liaising with schools and teachers about the child’s progress.

Pros and Cons:

Nanny Pros:

Specialised in infant and toddler care, provides comprehensive household support, live-in option for constant availability.

Nanny Cons:

Limited ability to provide academic support, less flexibility in working hours, more focused on domestic tasks.

Au Pair Pros:

Strong focus on educational support, flexible with activities and schedules, engages in the child’s overall development, can come from the local community for longer commitments.

Au Pair Cons:

Generally more expensive, less emphasis on domestic chores, may have a shorter duration of stay if part of an exchange programme.

Additional Considerations:

  • Local vs. International Au Pairs: Not all au pairs are part of an exchange programme. Local au pairs can offer longer-term commitments and may have a better understanding of the local culture and education system.
  • Family Dynamics: Au pairs can be particularly beneficial in situations like divorced families, where they can provide stability and continuity for the children.
  • Nannies and Household Management: Nannies are invaluable for ensuring the smooth running of the household, focusing on cleanliness, meal preparation, and overall home management.


The decision between hiring an au pair or a nanny should be based on your family’s unique needs. If educational support and active engagement in your child’s development are priorities, an au pair is a great choice. If your needs are more oriented towards younger child care and household management, a nanny would be more suitable. Understanding these roles in depth ensures the best care and environment for your children.

We hope this has helped answer your question, ‘Do I hire an Au Pair or Nanny‘, and that your next steps lead you to a less stressful life!

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