Yearly Archives: 2017

Helping Young Children Learn Language

Being an au pair is an important role in a child’s life. When you are caring for a young child up to 45 hours per week, there are lots of opportunities to help them learn language. Many host parents are eager for their children to be exposed to foreign language. If this is true of your host parents, you can try the suggestions below, in both English and your native language.

Below are a few tips to start with, for more ideas, check out Ready at Five.

  • Read – Read to them daily, point out pictures and ask questions. Even if they can’t answer the questions, this is still modeling conversation.
  • Talk – Point out objects around them, names of their body parts, explain what you are doing and places you are going. Long before babies can speak, they benefit greatly from being spoken to.
  • Sing – You can sing childhood classics or make up your own silly songs. If you are looking for song ideas, HERE is a great website with lists of songs, lyrics and links to YouTube videos* of the songs.  Children’s music is also available at the public library and even on iTunes.
  • Words – As children move from toddlers to preschoolers begin to point out written language.
  • Writing – Toddlers and preschoolers can begin to learn pre-writing skills by drawing with crayons or doing finger paints.

*The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for babies under 18 months of age. For children 18 months to 5 years they recommend no more than 1 hour of high quality content. You can play the songs on youtube for the audio and not necessarily show the screen to the child.

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski (Flickr)

Tax Information for Au Pairs

Tax Information for Au Pairs

Au Pair in America staff are not certified tax advisors, therefore we are not qualified to give you tax advice specific to your situation. We are providing you will the following information and resources to help you. Figuring out if you owe taxes and how to pay them may seem confusing, however, these resources will help make it easier!

The Basics

What Are Taxes? The U.S. government collects a portion of the money you earn in the U.S. This is a tax to support the nation’s services and facilities. In this document it is referred to as federal taxes. Many states collect a portion of the money you earn. This money is to support state or local municipality services and facilities. In this document it is referred to as state taxes.

IRS The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a government agency that is responsible for collecting taxes. This is a federal agency.  Depending on where your host family resided and how much you earned, you may be required to pay state taxes. These taxes would be paid to a tax collector in the state and not the IRS.

Why Do I Have to Pay? It is the law in the U.S. to file a federal tax form if you earned more than the personal exemption amount. For 2016, the personal exemption amount is $4,050. If you earned more than this amount in the calendar year 2016, then you will need to file a tax form and pay a tax on the amount over $4,050 that you earned. In some states it is the law to file a state tax form. Whether you owe state taxes may depend on how much you earned during the calendar year in the state and how much you paid in federal taxes.

Social Security Number You will need a Social Security number to file taxes. If you don’t already have one go to: for information on how to obtain one

1040NR-EZ Form 1040NR-EZ is a U.S. federal income tax form for non-residents. For most au pairs, this will be the correct form to use.  To access the form and instruction booklet go to:

Note: read the instructions carefully.

When Do I Have to Pay? You need to report what you earned in 2016 by April 18, 2017. If you have already returned home to your country, you are still required to file taxes if you earned more than $4,050 in 2016.

Resources to Help The IRS website has information regarding au pair and taxes. Go to

H&R Block Expat Tax Services will help au pairs, for a service fee, to prepare the federal tax form and any state tax forms that may be required. Go to for more information, including a Q&A specifically for au pairs. Au Pair in America is not affiliated with and is not responsible for the content on the H&R Block website.

Au Pair in America staff, including local community counselors, are not qualified to provide official federal or state tax information and recommends using the H&R Block Expat Tax Services or another tax professional.

Handling Expenses

Host parents often ask for suggestions on how best to handle common expenses that occur as au pairs are caring for the children.

Miscellaneous Expenses

There are different ways to handle the little day to day expenses that come up.  Things like when an au pair takes the kids out for ice cream or picks up a gallon of milk.  Some families keep a cookie jar fund, a little cash that they set aside weekly or monthly for these types of expenses. Others give their au pair a prepaid debit card for this purpose. Below are some suggestions for avoiding problems with expenses.

Host Families

  • It’s important to be clear about how long this money should last and what types of expenses are approved.
  • Let the au pair know whether or not you expect receipts.

Au Pairs

  • Only spend the money on approved expenses.
  • If it is something you are not sure about, ask first.
  • Put your receipts in the cookie jar in place of the money to avoid any confusion.

Gas and Fare Cards 

Host families are responsible for the au pair’s transportation costs: to and from classes, cluster meetings and when driving the kids.

It is a good idea to figure out how much gas an au pair will use for these trips and either put gas in the car or give a gas allowance.   If your au pair is riding to classes or cluster meetings with another au pair, you should offer to share the cost of gas.

Au pairs are responsible for their own transportation at all other times.  You should replace the amount of gas used for personal use.

Photo: Andrea Travillian

Love in the USA-What Every Au Pair Needs To Know

Love in the USA

What Every Au Pair Needs To Know



Love in the USA for an Au Pair can be difficult.  Au pairs are independent young women who by their very nature are adventurous. Moving away from home, country, culture, friends and family takes a brave heart! This spirit of adventure also plays out while here, meeting and making new friends, and sometimes new love.  Here are some of the challenges that one must consider for that relationship in the USA.

  1. Meeting men is easy, deciding who is worthy is hard.     Dancers

Social media can be dangerous, filled with those who want to prey on a lonely heart. Bars and pubs, can be a place where date rape drugs can easily be used.

Never meet a man for the first time alone. Take several friends along and let them help you “judge” his intention. When out never leave your drink unattended and never drink something that you didn’t see poured from its original container.  Drink responsibly, in the presence of those you don’t know.  Never leave a bar with someone you just met. Stick with your friends, and take care of each other.

  1. While independent in spirit, Au Pairs live in a host family’s home. Host families have a responsibility to protect themselves and you. Many will have rules about who comes and goes in their home and who drives their car. Before you overstep the boundary as a live-in Au Pair, ask your host family how they feel about your dating, what rules they would like to discuss with you. Never bring home a stranger to your host home. Be respectful of the young age of your host children, and their understanding of love and sex. Keep in mind that your culture may be more relaxed about this subject than Americans. Every host family has their own way of discussing this with their children. If you have made a special relationship and feel confident about your new love, ask the host family to meet your new partner.

3.Love sick, it can happen! Don’t let it cause you to lose focus on your goals as an Au Pair. Caring for children is a very important job. Your host family trusts you with their children. Make their safety and happiness your main priority.

caregivers and kids

4.Protect your health. If you are sexually active, being mindful of sexually transmitted disease is important. As well as, preventing an unwanted pregnancy. Many diseasing are unnoticeable and can go undetected for years, causing issues with having children later in life and in some cases can lead to some forms of female cancers.  Be smart and learn how to protect yourself.


5.“I do” Getting Married is wonderful, just not when you are an Au Pair.  The rules for the cultural exchange visa in which your Au Pair year is based, does not allow an Au Pair to be married. Getting married, would automatically end your year, along with your medical insurance. Let a professional advisor guide you on how to best coordinate your end of Au Pair year and a marriage. There are many legal complexities. Speak with your community counselor and host family and be open about your intentions to get married. We want you to be happy and can help to support your goal.

married hands