Difference between Au Pairs, Tutors and Governesses

Understanding Childcare Positions: Au Pairs, Governesses, Tutors, and Nannies

As you embark on your journey in the childcare field, it’s crucial to understand the different roles and responsibilities that come with each position.

Let’s explore the differences between Au Pairs, Governesses, Tutors, and Nannies, along with the pros and cons of each role.

What is an Au Pair?

An Au Pair is a caring and responsible individual who looks after children, helps with homework, projects, and exam preparation, and provides guidance and support. Typically aged between 18 to 30, Au Pairs are often female.

Here are some characteristics of an Au Pair:


  • Generally holds a Matric qualification.
  • Typically between the ages of 20 to 30.
  • Has completed a first aid course.
  • May be studying towards a Degree/Diploma.
  • Sometimes has teaching experience or a teaching degree.
  • Holds a valid driver’s licence and has a roadworthy vehicle.
  • Works on weekdays and occasionally on weekends if required.
  • Handles childcare-related tasks and errands.
  • Does not engage in domestic duties.


  • Limited experience compared to Governesses and Nannies.
  • May not be available for extended periods or overnight stays.

What is a Governess?

A Governess is an experienced childcare professional who provides comprehensive care and education for children.

Here are the main features of a Governess:


  • Typically has a Matric qualification and first aid certification.
  • Possesses a minimum of 5 years of au pairing experience.
  • Experienced in working with babies, toddlers, and children.
  • Generally between the ages of 30 to 50.
  • Available 24/7 to meet the family’s needs.
  • May live in the house with private accommodation.
  • Offers full-time care and support, including weekends.


  • Higher salary expectations due to extensive experience.
  • May have limited availability for immediate placement.

What is a Tutor?

A Tutor is an academic support professional who assists children with their studies and exam preparation. Their primary focus is on teaching and helping students succeed academically.

Consider these features of a Tutor:


  • Provides valuable academic support and study guidance.
  • Helps with homework, test preparation, and exam revision.
  • Typically works on weekdays from late afternoon.
  • Specialises in enhancing academic performance.


  • Does not engage in childcare tasks beyond academics.
  • Limited availability for other responsibilities.

What is a Nanny?

A Nanny is a versatile caregiver who manages household chores and provides childcare support.

Here’s what defines a Nanny:


  • May live in the family’s home or have separate accommodation.
  • Offers childcare services when parents are absent.
  • Focuses on cooking, cleaning, and domestic duties.
  • Takes care of children’s meals and snacks.


  • May not have specific academic support skills.
  • Limited involvement in school-related activities.

Choosing the Right Childcare Position:

When deciding which childcare position suits you best, consider your skills, qualifications, and preferences. If you enjoy a mix of childcare and academic support, being an Au Pair or Governess might be ideal. If academic tutoring is your passion, becoming a Tutor would be a great fit. And if you thrive in domestic duties and occasional childcare tasks, being a Nanny could be the perfect role for you.

At The Au Pair Club, we are committed to preparing and guiding you to secure your dream childcare job.

Our expertise can help you create a compelling CV that showcases your unique skills and experiences, increasing your chances of standing out to prospective employers and agencies.

By understanding the distinctions between these childcare positions, you can confidently pursue the path that aligns with your aspirations and abilities. Whichever role you choose, providing exceptional care and support for children will be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.

Keen to level up as a caregiver? Then you might like this…

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