Au pair vs. nanny vs. daycare

Weigh the pros and cons of an au pair versus a nanny or day care and you may be surprised! Au pairs provide the best of both worlds—the individual attention and convenience families are looking for at an affordable cost.

Disadvantages of Daycare

  • High cost and “per child” rates
  • Hassle of transporting children to and from the daycare facility
  • Inflexible hours and expensive late fees
  • High staff turnover and staff inexperience
  • High child-to-staff ratio
  • Long wait lists
  • Lack of coverage when children are sick
  • Tendency to expose children to colds and other illnesses

Disadvantages of Nannies

  • High cost and need for salary negotiations
  • Lack of quality candidates
  • Lack of a qualified agency in the area
  • Lack of night or weekend coverage
  • The hassle of verifying legal work eligibility
  • Absence of a back-up plan if they fall ill or quit
  • No regulation or support from a third-party agency or staff member

Differences between an au pair, nanny and day care

Affordable monthly cost

An affordable childcare solution regardless of the number of children you have.
Au pair
$1,6301
Nanny
$2,812.502
Daycare
$920-$3,5883

Up to 45 hours of care per week on a schedule you set

The ability to create your own childcare schedule week-to-week.
Au pair
Nanny
Varies
Daycare

Convenience of a live-in caregiver

Peace of mind that comes with knowing your caregiver is close by.
Au pair
Nanny
Varies
Daycare

Assistance with household duties

An extra helping hand with kids’ laundry, meals and room pick-up.
Au pair
Nanny
Varies
Daycare

Caregivers qualified in CPR/AED and First Aid

Knowledge that your childcare provider is certified in adult and pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid.
Au pair
Nanny
Varies
Daycare
Varies

Opportunity for cultural exchange

Exposure to a new culture, language and way of life.
Au pair
Nanny
Varies
Daycare
Varies
Learn more

Discover more benefits of hosting an au pair with Cultural Care.

1Monthly average cost to host an au pair, regardless of the number of children the au pair cares for. This cost includes the agency fees and the minimum weekly stipend paid directly to the au pair for 51 weeks, including 2 weeks of paid vacation. Does not include incidental costs of hosting an au pair, such as meals, insurance, and other amenities. Read more about our au pair program pricing.

2Based on an average hourly rate of $15 per hour for 45 hours per week of care for 50 weeks.

³Range is based on the average monthly cost of daycare by state from this 2019 Child Care Aware® report, for an infant and a 4-year old.