How To Find a Short-Term Au Pair

by cv harquail on October 15, 2011

Sometimes, you just don’t need an au pair for a whole year. You may need just 8 months, until your child has a full school day, or until you drop down to part-time work. You may just need an au pair to cover a gap between a departing au pair and some other childcare arrangement.  You might even want to test our the concept of an au pair,without commuting to a full 12 months.

What’s the best way to find a short-term au pair?

  • What do you do if you really want to find an au pair that is sponsored & vetted by an agency?
  • How about if you use a web site?
  • And, is it a good idea to sift through au pair chat forums to find someone looking to extend? Is that even possible?


Inquiring moms want to know.

Dear AuPairMom-

I’d love some advice on hosting an au pair for a shorter time than the standard 12 month period.

I first heard about the Au Pair program a couple years ago from two different neighbors. They had wonderful things to say about it. I did research it to see if this was something that would work for my family, but at the time we were happy with our childcare provider, who could cover all our childcare needs.

Now, though, our child care needs are changing, and I am once again looking at the Au Pair program as a possibility. Our current nanny is leaving in January. And, in April or May, my own company will be opening up a childcare center in my building, so I’m planning to enroll my toddlers there. This means we only need to cover the time between January and May.

Is it possible to host an au pair for a temporary amount of time? Would an agency allow me to host someone who is already in the country for the remaining few months of their visa? Should I look at Au Pairs who want to extend only 6 months? Has anyone else tried this situation?

Thanks,   Wonder Woman Want-a-be

Image: Versailles Short Term Parking from EURIST e.V.


DarthaStewart October 16, 2011 at 11:01 am

It is certainly possible. You may have to look around a bit to find an au-pair who is both a good match, and has the “right” amount of time left. You may decide to register with a couple of agencies to get your match.

Another option I’ve seen used to great effect for shorter terms like you’re describing is a nanny through a website like I’ve had several colleagues at work that needed someone for 2-3 months, and they hired someone for the shorter period and were delighted.

Julie October 16, 2011 at 11:02 am

Any agency will have au pairs in transition, especially the larger ones, who are looking for a family. There are au pairs available from 3 months up (they usually go home if they only have a month or two left). We did the same thing and the host mom is welcome to contact me: igelwelch at to talk about the experience. All you need to do is apply to an agency and say you would like short-term for about, say 8 months, and then be a little open–maybe it’s 7, maybe it’s 9. The thing about matching with transition au pairs is the family needs to be ready to welcome an au pair into the family. A transition au pair usually has only 2 weeks to match with a new family, so you need to be ready to spend the time to see if they are a good match and have their room ready (and some ideas for your schedule and your expectations) because they will usually arrive at your house within 4-7 days from the time you decide you’d like them to join your family. We had one au pair for 3 months and the following one for 9 months. Both were excellent experiences.

In terms of extension au pairs, unless you live in California or NYC, it may be difficult to find an extension au pair. Often they are remaining with their own family or they are looking for a new experience–and many au pairs dream of California or New York (sometimes Florida too). It’s worth a shot, but it’s not as common as a transition au pair. Drop me a note if you have any questions!

azmom October 16, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Register with an agency and let them know you want a second year au pair who is looking to extend for 9 months (there are also 6 month extensions available).

German Au-Pair October 17, 2011 at 10:25 am

I happen to know an au pair who wants to extend in January for 6 months but that doesn’t work for her hostfamily.
HER worry is not finding someone who will take an au pair for only 6 months.
So I guess it could work out.

BoysMama November 4, 2011 at 9:59 am

I’m also looking for a short term Au Pair, March through July or August. I’m with Cultural Care, and they’ve told me there is not a single Au Pair up for extension in March. We have the OC/California thing going for us, too. Where can I look? What about the chat rooms CV mentions in the header for this topic? We had an awful experience with a nightmare Au Pair who was rematched and are not very comfortable with the agency’s opinions about which APs they are recommending to other families. If you know of websites where I can contact potential APs please let me know! Thanks

MommyMia November 4, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Two often mentioned on this site are and http://www.greataupair.

Dorsi November 5, 2011 at 5:35 am

Is it possible they just don’t know on the extensions yet? My AP is done in March and her paperwork is due Mid December for extension vs flight home.

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