How Important is it to for Au Pairs Working In America to Speak English?

According to Edina Stone of Au Pair ClearningHouse au pairs with good English skills are one of the “top” priorities for host parents. When she surveyed parents in their au pair polls, parents rate English as the most important childcare skill.

An overwhelming majority of host parents (93%) rate English skills as their Number One priority when choosing an au pair for their children.

There is no question that hosting an au pair is much more successful if the au pair can speak English and is serious about improving her language skills.

It becomes even more important for families with very young children. Why? Young children can become very impatient and frustrated with an au pair who cannot understand them and if they cannot make themselves easily understood. In addition, an au pair who cares for a very young child needs to understand your directions clearly in order to avoid catastrophes!


  1. I think that's a major pet peeve of mine for kids older than infants. I think it's ok to hire a nanny or au pair that doesn't have strong English skills for infants, but one in school kids need a caregiver that can speak English and know proper English grammar.

  2. Some people want a nanny whose native language is English and who is educated, and they have to pay more for that. Personally, their native language doesn't determine good or bad caregivers. Not all moms in America speak English as native language and it doesn't mean they are bad moms. I have met dozens of stellar nannies who are imigrants speaking English as second language. There are plenty of parents wanting to hire bilingual nannies and au pairs to help teach their kids a second language. I don't think in home caregivers need to speak English perfectly. Their caring and not gossiping about the family to other nannies is most important in my opinion. I hear a lot of nasty things said about employer/parents by nannies in front of the parents' kids and that is much more harmful than hiring a caring nanny who speaks English as second language.

  3. is what matters most to developing children. I become annoyed when people talk about what "parents want or need" and forget to include this in the conversation.Who says legal nannies don't have the capacity to speak more than one language. My charge asks me to help her to count in Spanish and I can. I also could do it in German, because I had classes in this as well.Maybe it should be one of those things that nannies should consider in making themselves more marketable, learn a second language. There are a lot of resources out there to do this.

  4. If you are hiring an au pair from another country the chances of English being their first language is very unlikely. An aupair is here on an educational and cultural exchange program. More than 50% do not speak fluent English. If speaking fluent English is a parent's first priority they will hire an American nanny, or Canadian, English, or Australian au pair – period. If a parent has kids of school age it's even more important to hire a nanny that is fluent in English and has excellent grammar. Even most American nannies I know can't hardly help the kids with homework. So, if it's their first priority they need to hire an educated, American nanny – NOT AN AU PAIR!

  5. I can understand that communicating with the au pair is a top priority. But if it is the number 1 priority the parents should hire an American nanny, not an au pair. I also feel since so many nannies are out of jobs parents should try to hire an American before au pair.

  6. 99% of the nannies (and au pairs) I know are of a different origin and American English is not their first language. I have worked with lovely nannies, housekeepers, au pairs, chefs, that don't speak super English but are amazing workers. I wonder who really took this survey for au pair host parents because they are typically hiring those of different origins and even if the speak English, it's a different dialect.

  7. Nice posting. This post is really helpful for me. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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