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MOTHER'S HELP explained
Smart au pairs and Mother’s help

At smartaupairs we specialise in the introduction of ‘traditional’ au pairs. Young people who come to Britain to learn language and culture in exchange for help with the children and light housework. An au pair should NOT have sole charge for a child under two. Maximum hours for an au pair plus are 30-35 hours per week.

Often parents ask us for a Mother’s help. This would be a person who is willing and able to take on additional responsibility, such as any or all of the following;

  • Longer hours (35+)
  • Care for younger children (under 2) at times (but still limited) without parental presence
  • Care for more children (4+) at times without parental presence

Longer hours often mean no/limited time to attend language classes. With younger children (under 2) they must start work under the parent's supervision, rather than taking charge, but there may be occasions when they need to have sole charge.

Here is a definition given by ‘Bestbear Childcare’ for a Mother’s help.


Mother's Helps are generally unqualified nannies working alongside a mother, rather than having sole charge of the children. Mother's Helps may work well for parents who work from home or parents who work part-time and want housework and childcare combined.


  • Mother's Helps are expected to 'muck in' more than nannies and as well as caring for the children under mum's supervision, they are expected to help out with light housework and shopping. Perfect for mums who need another pair of hands and don't expect or need days of sole charge care.
  • As the Mother's Help gains more and more experience, they may be able take more responsibility and ultimately sole charge. Some start out as a Mother's Help and gain enough experience to be considered for nannying posts in their next job.

A Mother's Help must be at least 18. They may have no formal qualifications but should have good experience with children. They may have cared for siblings, done regular babysitting or helped out at a local playgroup.

A native English speaking Mother's Help earns between £150-£300 (net) per week.

Mother's Helps expect to work about ten hours a day for live-in, although two nights babysitting are included in the salary (babysitting is extra for a live-out).


When we introduce a Mother’s help, we look for increased levels of any or all of the following:

  • Childcare experience
  • Childcare references
  • Childcare qualifications

Our fee for the placement of a Mother’s help candidate is £675 for non-driver/£775 for driver. Our standard terms of business apply. Please see our fees & terms on

The Agency operates as an introductory service and will endeavor to introduce suitable applicants. It is the responsibility of the Client to be satisfied as to the suitability of the applicant. Here are some suggestions to help you assess the suitability of the applicant.

During your selection process, please consider the following;

1. Perform an extensive telephone interview and ask for detailed information about their childcare experience, age range, frequency, duration etc. We provide suggestions for interview questions once you activate your search.

2. Ask candidates to explain their qualifications and how long it took them to qualify.

3. If you wish to perform your own reference check, we provide checked references and you are free to make contact and have a detailed conversation. If the referee does not speak English, we have access to a network of language speakers. A detailed reference check with written report can be provided on request at an additional charge.

4. Agree and provide a contract (we supply a template)

5. Expect to pay a European Mother’s help upward from £130 per week for 35 hours* (net after tax)

Mother's Help* (35+ hours per week)

  • Works up to 10 hours, 5 days per week
  • Baby sits 2-3 evenings per week
  • Receives at least 1 full free day and 3 evenings off
  • Pay minimum £130 - 35 hrs, £150 - 40 hrs, £180 – 45 hrs for Europeans
  • Pay minimum £150 - 35 hrs, £210 – 40 hrs, £230 – 45 hrs for Native Speakers
  • More responsibility, younger children and/or longer hours, more housework
  • When you employ Mother's Help paid more than £144 per week, you have to register as an employer for tax and national insurance. You may wish to contact for advice. Clients are legally responsible for paying employers tax and national insurance contributions and must provide appropriate payslips.
  • You may wish to take out employer’s insurance. The Agency does not accept responsibility for any loss, damage, expense or injury resulting from an introduction. The agency advises both the employee and the employer to take out appropriate insurance.

Throughout the stay of your Mother’s help we recommend you to;

1. Prepare a handbook, this must include emergency procedures and telephone numbers. (we supply a template)

2. Take your time to train and assess the confidence level of your help with your children. If in doubt, provide more instruction and postpone any sole care.

3. Ensure your help is booked on a First Aid course within the first month of arrival

4. Continue to monitor and guide your help.

5. Provide further training and guidance where appropriate, we offer an NVQ program, please see our website

For more information about the placement fees, please see our fees page.

Please call us today to discuss your search for a mother's help or register online today.