Au Pair vs Nanny vs Childminders: A Complete Guide

February 20, 2024 | 9 min. read

Are you finding it tough to choose the right childcare option for your family? With Au Pairs, Nannies, and Childminders all available, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. Don’t worry; and this guide is here to help!

Each of these options – Au Pairs, Nannies, and Childminders – has its own unique advantages and potential downsides. They might seem pretty similar, but there are important differences that could make one a better fit for your family’s routine, budget, and lifestyle.

In this guide, we’ll break down what each role involves, how much they cost, and what kind of arrangements families typically have with them. This information will help you figure out which option aligns best with your family’s needs so you can make your choice with confidence.

Distinguishing Au Pairs, Nannies, and Childminders

When it comes to choosing the right childcare, it’s important to understand the unique characteristics of each option. It can help you make an informed decision that best suits your family’s needs. 

In this context, we have three popular choices – Au Pairs, Nannies, and Childminders. All three provide childcare services, but their roles and responsibilities, as well as the nature of their arrangements with families, can vary widely. Let’s delve deeper into each of these options to give you a clearer picture.

What is an Au Pair?

An Au Pair is typically a young individual, often from abroad, who lives with a host family and provides childcare in exchange for room and board, along with a small stipend. The arrangement is often sought by students wishing to immerse themselves in a new culture and improve their language skills. 

The term ‘Au Pair’ originates from French, translating to ‘on par’ or ‘equal to’. This reflects the intention for the relationship to be one of equals – the Au Pair is not a traditional employee but is treated as part of the family.

Au Pairs generally assist with childcare and light housework. Their duties might include tidying the children’s rooms, preparing their meals, and taking them to school or extracurricular activities. 

Their working hours are usually around 25-30 hours per week, leaving ample time for studies or leisure activities. A key advantage of having an Au Pair is the cultural exchange that naturally occurs. Families get the opportunity to learn about a different culture and possibly a new language.

What is a Nanny?

A Nanny is a professional childcare provider who a family employs to care for their children within the family’s home. There are two types of nannies – live-in nannies who reside with the family and daily nannies who live separately. Nannies usually have solid childcare training and qualifications, with some even holding degrees in areas like early childhood education.

Nannies are tasked with all responsibilities related to the children’s care. Their duties include preparing meals for the children, bathing and dressing them, aiding with their homework, and engaging them in educational and recreational activities. 

Some nannies also undertake light housework related to the children, such as washing their clothes and tidying their rooms. Nannies often work full-time, and their schedules may extend to evenings and weekends.

Introducing Childminders

Childminders are self-employed childcare providers who care for children within their own homes. They are required to be registered and inspected by local authorities, ensuring they meet the necessary safety, education, and well-being standards.

Unlike nannies or au pairs, childminders care for children from multiple families simultaneously. This provides a more communal environment and can help children develop social skills as they interact with their peers. Childminders usually provide meals and often offer flexible hours, making them an ideal choice for parents with non-traditional or unpredictable work schedules.

Childminders in the Philippines

The concept of childminders isn’t widely adopted in the Philippines. The country’s childcare system primarily consists of nannies (often referred to as “yayas”) and daycare centers. However, the global trend towards more flexible and diverse childcare options might lead to the role of childminders becoming more prevalent in the Philippines.

One of the first on-call childcare services in the Philippines is Inna Circle. We allow parents to find on-demand and trustworthy childminders, highlighting the growing acceptance and potential prevalence of childminders in the Philippines.

Their Role in Childcare

Au Pairs, Nannies, and Childminders all serve as important pillars in the realm of childcare. However, each one carries out their role in a unique manner, with differences in responsibilities, degree of interaction with the family, and the environment in which they provide care. Let’s delve into these differences.

Key Differences in Service

The services offered by Au Pairs, Nannies, and Childminders vary considerably. Au Pairs are typically part-time caregivers who also assist with light housework. They are integrated into the family, participating in family activities and sharing meals. They not only aid in childcare but also contribute to a rich cultural exchange due to their international backgrounds.

Nannies, on the other hand, are full-time caregivers who operate within the confines of the child’s home. Whether living with the family or independently, their responsibilities are solely centered on caring for the child—ensuring their safety, assisting their development, and tending to their daily needs.

With Inna Circle, we provide mindful, attentive care in the child’s home. Our approach focuses on individual engagement and development, ensuring comfort and personalized attention for each child in their familiar environment.

Cost and Considerations

When deciding between an Au Pair, a Nanny, or a Childminder, cost considerations play a crucial role. Au Pairs usually prove to be the most economical option because they work in exchange for room, board, and a nominal stipend.

Nannies, being professional caregivers often equipped with specialized training in childhood education, are the priciest option. Their cost can fluctuate greatly depending on their level of experience, qualifications, and the specific contractual agreement with the family.

The cost of hiring childminders varies based on factors like location, the childminder’s experience, and the specific services provided. In some countries, the average cost for a childminder fee for 25 hours per week for a child under two is around £124.41. 

After-school pickup and care for three hours may cost around £20 per day. In others, the typical cost is €5 per child per hour. Childminders set their own rates, so if you’re considering hiring one, it’s recommended to research local rates to understand the expected costs.

Inna Circle, one of the first on-call childcare services in the Philippines, offers care sessions starting at P399/hour. Our service assures fun while learning and safety in every minute with every child per session.

Pros and Cons

Each childcare option comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Understanding these pros and cons can guide you towards a more informed decision that aligns with your family’s specific needs and circumstances.

Au Pairs


Au Pairs provide an excellent opportunity for families looking to expose their children to different cultures and languages. They are also generally less costly than nannies or childminders, which can be a significant advantage for budget-conscious families.


On the downside, Au Pairs are not professional caregivers, so they may lack the advanced childcare training that nannies or childminders often possess. Also, their availability is restricted to their agreed-upon hours, which usually do not cover weekends and evenings.



Nannies deliver a high level of personalized care, providing services tailored to meet a family’s specific needs. Many nannies have undergone training in early childhood education, which can significantly enhance a child’s developmental journey.


The major drawback of hiring a nanny is the cost. Nannies are typically the most expensive childcare option. Additionally, the process of finding the right nanny can be time-consuming, and families may also need to navigate logistical issues such as taxes, insurance, and employment contracts.



Childminders create a social environment where children can interact with their peers. Their services are professional, regulated, and generally more affordable than hiring a nanny.


As childminders look after multiple children simultaneously, your child may not receive the same degree of individual attention as they would with a nanny or au pair. Moreover, parents need to adapt to the childminder’s location and schedule, which might not always be convenient.

Finding What’s Best for You

Choosing the ideal childcare solution is a significant decision, and it’s not always an easy one. The choice you make will depend on several factors unique to your family’s lifestyle, needs, and preferences. 

As such, understanding your family’s conditions and figuring out which route to take is crucial.

Knowing your conditions and figuring out the best choice for childcare

Start by taking a close look at your family’s specific needs. Are you in need of full-time or part-time care? Do you have a preference for a caregiver living with your family or would you rather they live separately? Are you keen on exposing your child to different cultures, or is your priority to ensure they receive professional, dedicated care?

Once you’ve outlined your family’s needs, turn your attention to your budget. Nannies, while providing a high level of professional care, come with a heftier price tag.

Au pairs are a more budget-friendly option and offer a unique cultural exchange experience, but their availability might be limited. Childminders presents a middle-ground solution, offering professional care in a social environment at a moderate cost.

Lastly, don’t forget to factor in practical considerations. Do you have ample space in your home to accommodate an au pair or a live-in nanny? Is there a reputable childminder conveniently located near your home or workplace?

By carefully considering these factors, you can discern which childcare option—Au Pair, Nanny, or Childminder—best aligns with your family’s needs and lifestyle.

Inna Circle Today

Choosing the right childcare option is a deeply personal decision that hinges on a multitude of variables. Whether it’s the unique cultural exchange provided by an Au Pair, the specialized and personalized care offered by a Nanny, or the regulated social environment fostered by a Childminder, each option has its unique advantages and considerations.

At Inna Circle, we recognize the importance of this decision for your family, and we’re committed to making the process easier for you. Our platform connects families with a diverse range of childcare providers, offering you the opportunity to find the perfect match for your specific needs.


Is an au pair the same as a nanny?

No, they are different. An Au Pair is usually a young person from overseas living with a host family and helping with childcare and light housework. Their main focus is cultural exchange. A Nanny, however, is a professional caregiver who focuses solely on the children’s well-being and development.

What is the disadvantage of Au Pair?

Au Pairs aren’t professional caregivers and may lack advanced childcare training. Their working hours are regulated and may not cover evenings or weekends. Cultural differences and language barriers can also pose challenges.

Do au pairs cook and clean?

Yes, but only light housework related to the children, such as tidying up after them, doing their laundry, preparing their meals, and cleaning their rooms. They are not housekeepers; their primary role is childcare.

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