Is a Nanny Share Right For You?

In a typical nanny share, two families share one nanny and split the cost of her compensation package. The nanny cares for the children of both families together or splits her time between the two households. A nanny who works part-time for two or more families is not part of a nanny share; she’s simply working multiple part-time gigs. The common factor in a nanny share is that the employers come together to determine the terms of employment and share the cost of employing the nanny. A nanny share usually costs 20 to 25% less than a standard nanny arrangement.

Sharing a nanny with another family is a great way to save money on high quality in-home childcare. However not every family is a good match for a nanny share. Consider the questions below when thinking about using this option for your family.

Do you live in an area where you can find a family to share a nanny with? Finding the right family to share a nanny with isn’t always easy. You have to find a family that lives fairly close to you, has a compatible parenting style to yours, and that you like on a personal level. If you live in an area where there are few families similar to yours, finding a compatible family can prove to be more difficult than finding the nanny.

Are you a team player? Nanny shares can get complicated. There are two sets of parents and one nanny in the relationship. It’s important that everyone involved is committed to being flexible, respectful of others’ needs, willing to talk about any issues that come up, and open to creative solutions. When one side of the relationship has a problem it will affect the whole relationship, so it’s essential that everyone be on board with keeping things running smoothly.

Are you comfortable with your nanny’s attention being divided? One of the reasons many parents choose nanny care is that they want one-on-one attention for their child. In a nanny share, your child will still receive great care, but the nanny will not be able to focus on your child exclusively. For some parents, that’s not a problem. Others don’t like the idea that their child’s needs might not be immediately met. Be honest with yourself about your comfort level with this limitation before making a decision on the type of care you want.

Are you willing to compromise on what your nanny can do around the house? A nanny who works for you exclusively usually takes on many child-related tasks on top of providing hands-on care. She may do your child’s laundry, keep the kids’ areas of the house organized and tidy, and rotate seasonal clothes. She often will take on other household tasks as well, like grocery shopping or running errands.

In a nanny share, your nanny won’t have the time to provide that kind of household support. Since most nanny shares are for infants or younger children, your nanny will have her hands full with two or three children who are close in age. Add in laundry and other tasks for two households and it quickly becomes too much, even for the most dedicated caregiver. Before you choose a nanny share, think about what your household needs are and decide what jobs you’re willing to take on.

Are you flexible about your child’s environment? Everything will not always be exactly as you want it in a nanny share. Even when you do a great job of picking another family and nanny, compromise will be necessary. You may want your child to be put down for her nap at 1:30 every afternoon, but if the other child is teething and needs extra attention, your child might not go down until 2. You may want your child to only have non-battery operated toys, but if the other child gets a new Leap Frog toy for his birthday, there’s a good chance your child will be playing with it too. If you want your child to take swimming lessons but the other family feels their child isn’t ready for lessons yet, you might have to wait or take them on the weekend. If the other family wants to get a new dog but you think dogs and kids are a bad mix, you might not be happy with the new addition to the family. Make sure to think about how much control you need to have over your child’s everyday environment when considering if a nanny share will work for you.

A nanny share can be the perfect way to get high quality in-home care that you can afford. But a nanny share isn’t the right solution for every family. Carefully consider how well a nanny share will fit your family’s unique needs before moving forward.

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