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Leisure and Culture

Babysitter or au pair: which is for you?

Written by Christine

There are many options these days when it comes to childcare and some of the most affordable and widely used options in Barcelona are nannies and au pairs. While they are both people that care for children, what is the difference between the two? They are both unique positions that can offer a great experience for you, as a caregiver, or for your family and children.

Au pairs

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

An au pair is someone between the ages of 18-30 that can be hired privately or through a company. They need to be young, unmarried, without children, and even though experience with children is preferred it isn’t always required. Most people decide to au pair when they want to study or travel abroad since families provide them with accommodation and they can still earn some pocket money at the same time. Au pairs have contracts, usually set up through an agency, for an allotted period of time, and usually, the host family does not meet the au pair face-to-face until they arrive at the beginning of the working period. As stated by there are many benefits to having an au pair in the family, especially if you are looking for someone young, energetic, and from a different culture to add a new dynamic to the family.


A nanny can be similar to an au pair in that they normally live with the family for which they care for, but not always as some prefer not to live with their employer. Nannies are usually required to have extensive experience working with children and if they are hired by an agency, like Little Prince Nannies Barcelona, could be required to have a degree related to childcare. A nanny often works long hours, whereas an au pair has a set amount of hours per week. However, since a nanny often has to be higher qualified and work more hours, they are often compensated better. Their accommodation is taken care of by the family but they will also still earn a taxable salary. Hiring a nanny is often quite expensive, which is why many parents turn to au pairs and babysitters for their childcare needs.


Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

A babysitter has a similar role but more general in terms of who can fill this position. While au pairs are usually young foreigners, a babysitter can be any age. Babysitters normally don’t live with the family or even have a contract. Normally a schedule is set between the babysitter and the family and an hourly wage is decided upon. There may not even be a schedule, but rather the family can contact the babysitter on an as-needed basis. This option works well for families that don’t have a set schedule or need someone to care for the children from time to time.

To find a qualified and reliable babysitter in your area, you can contact Barcelona Babysitter. You can let the agency know what you’re looking for in a babysitter and they try to match you with a sitter who can best help your family.

About the author


Christine is a traveler, teacher, writer, and beach-lover, exploring Barcelona one tapa at a time!

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