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Get Au Pair Ready: Increasing Childcare Hours

By Gap 360

Last updated: 31st March 2017

Fancy heading out to the USA on our awesome paid Au Pair programme? We don’t blame you! With great weekly wages, plus accommodation and meals included, becoming an au pair is a fantastic way to experience life abroad.

In order to be eligible to become an au pair you need some non-family childcare experience under your belt. You’ll need 200 hours if you’re a female applicant or 500 hours if you’re a male applicant.

Gaining that much experience can seem daunting, but it’s actually much easier than you think! Just a couple of hours a week could see you getting more than enough experience within a few months!

Here are our top tips for gaining that all-important childcare experience:


Know anyone with children? Offer to babysit! As long as they aren’t family members, babysitting totally counts!

Although you’ll need to do a bit more than just watch telly while the kids are asleep upstairs. Find a position where you play with the children for a few hours, make their tea, and put them to bed with a story. This’ll show you can look after children in a home setting and are comfortable helping children with their daily routine.

Volunteer at a school

Schools are always looking for people to help pupils with their reading or supervise breakfast and after school clubs.

If you don’t know anybody at a school, send in your CV with an email explaining that you are trying to gain childcare experience as you are applying to become an au pair in the USA. Follow it up with a phone call and, if they say no, ask them to keep you on file and then try another school.

The hardest part can be explaining that you are offering yourself as a volunteer, so be brief, check what the process is for applying (you might need to meet with the head teacher for example or go to a group meeting) and say you’ll send an email with your availability. If you ask if they need you to have a CRB/DBS check done, it shows you are thinking practically about what’s involved. They might even offer to process one for you, which would save you a job later!

Help out at local playgroups

Playgroups often advertise in local papers or online. Find out what day they are on (they are often run in church halls) and just turn up before it starts and chat to whoever runs it.

Make sure you chat to the parents when you are there and explain that your are looking for more chances to increase your childcare hours so you can apply to be an au pair – it could lead to more babysitting jobs!

Rainbows/Brownies or Cubs/Beavers

Get in touch with your local group to see if there is anything you can do to help out, they are often looking for an extra pair of hands on their day trips. Make sure they are aware that you are looking to increase your childcare hours so any volunteering should be childcare related – however helpful it might be, manning the bric-a-brac stall for their fundraiser isn’t going to count towards your application!

Go Unpaid

Sometimes you might have to suck it up and do it unpaid in order to get your hours. Just keep in mind that it’ll all be worth it when you’re having the time of your life in America!


Have any more questions about our Au Pair programme? Give us a call on 01892 527392.

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