How to Make a Nanny Share Work

NannyShareTitle

I have shared before that we are part of a nanny share with my brother (Adam) and sister-in-law (Cristin) and this post is about how we make that work. I have enlisted Cristin’s help to fine-tune this post because where as I’ve only been at this game for a few months, Cristin and Adam did a nanny share with another family for over a year before Simon was born.

The “how to” part of this post can really be summarized into a list of nanny share pros / cons and things to consider. The actual way that you make a nanny share work is up to the individual family. We can share what works for us, but we know that what works for us may not work for everyone.

We chose to nanny share for a few reasons:

  • To reduce the cost of nanny care (individually we spend ~40-50% less than we would to have the nanny on our own, but the nanny makes her full “two child” rate)
  • To allow our children the opportunity to interact with others while still receiving the benefits of having a nanny
  • We had another family close by who we could share a nanny with
  • We agreed on the type of nanny that we wanted for our children
  • We share similar ideas about what is important for our children to be exposed to

 

Before you decide to nanny share, it is imperative that you chose a family that you get along well with. Don’t underestimate the amount of time that you and your child will be interacting with the other family. Whether it’s to hire the nanny, discuss logistics, or just to remind the other family that they need to bring diapers and wipes over, there is a lot of interaction between the families.

For us, it was important that we nanny share with a family who has similar child raising practices. Are there things that are really important to you that the other family doesn’t agree with? Do you see eye to eye on major parenting choices? If you have different ways of raising your kids it may be hard for the nanny to follow both sets of rules.

Simon is typically at Adam and Cristin’s house 3 days a week and our house 1 day a week. We decided on that setup for a few reasons. I primarily work from home and we live in a duplex condo, so it is hard for me to get work done when I can hear the kids playing and having fun with the nanny – Adam and Cristin have a house with a backyard and basement for playing – more room to spread out. Also, since Adam and Cristin have been doing this a bit longer (and have an older child) they already have lots of toys for both baby and toddler. Their setup just made a bit more sense, though it means that we have to be more organized with our day.

When I drop Simon off at Adam and Cristin’s house, I know that he is being cared for in a similar way that he would be in our own home. This was hugely important for me and J because there will be plenty of instances where Simon is spending time with Adam and Cristin (and my niece with us) when I am not present and so it is important that both families agree on the type of environment that they want their child to grow up in.

One of the really nice things is that we can cover each other if we need to. If I have an 8AM meeting and need to drop Simon off 15 minutes early, I know that he is with people who care about him – the same is true if one of us is running late from work. I can stay and care for my niece or Adam and Cristin can watch Simon for a few minutes. The flexibility is a HUGE bonus.

Issues are likely to arise at some point, but we’ve chosen to nanny share together because we genuinely like each other and can have honest dialogue if an issue does come up – between the kids, with the nanny, amongst the adults… I think that a nanny share can work with friends just like it does with family. As long as you’re able to have honest conversations, it really is a great setup.

There are a lot of benefits to a nanny share that I have highlighted below. I believe that the pros outweigh the cons, but I have shared both because there are some cons.

Pros:

  • Benefit of an awesome nanny but shared cost likely makes things a bit more manageable than doing this on our own
  • The nanny may make a few extra dollars if caring for more than 1 child
  • Socialization – the children get to grow up together – instant friend(s)!
  • There is added flexibility when life comes up. Running a few minutes late from work? Can the other family cover you for a few minutes so the nanny can leave on time? Is the nanny sick? Can you work with the other family to cover each other so that everyone doesn’t miss work?
  • There is not a lot of “extra” stuff needed to add another child into the mix. You may need extra seating for mealtime or a double stroller, but ultimately what you have for one child will work for both if they’re of similar ages

 

Cons:

  • Just like a one family nanny situation, if the nanny is sick or on vacation, you have to adapt to the schedule change
  • You may have to take your child to someone else’s house. Packing up yourself and your child and getting out the door can be time consuming
  • You’ll have things in more than one place. You may have toys at the other family’s house. You’ll likely have clothes there… it’s important to stay organized
  • If the nanny share is primarily at your house, you may experience additional wear and tear on your home
  • If the nanny share is at your house then you may have to dedicate a bit of space to the extra child. Cristin and Adam have set aside an extra drawer in my niece’s room so that we can leave things there. When they were nanny sharing with another family they also had a shelf in the fridge to keep everything separate when both my niece and he were getting bottles and then eating solids
  • If the nanny share is at your house you may be the one interacting with the nanny the most. That can be awesome if you get along well or it could be hard if you have to confront the nanny about something
  • You will pass germs back and forth more than you would like

 

Ultimately, what a nanny share comes down to is that you’re making the right decision for your family. It takes a bit of coordination and organization, but if it works, it can bring huge benefits with it.

I found a site that helps US based families find other families to nanny share with. I can’t speak to the validity of the site because I have never used it, but it may be a resource for you if you don’t already have another family that you can nanny share with.

Obvious things to consider when selecting a nanny share partner:

  • Make sure that you and the other family agree on the type of nanny that you want to hire
  • Agree on a nanny schedule before interviewing nannies
  • Nanny share with people that you like because you are going to have to see them daily
  • Nanny share with people that your child/ren like
  • Nanny share with people who have the same general beliefs as you – at least those pertaining to raising children
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of time that you’ll be spending with and seeing the other nanny family
  • Make sure that the nanny share is convenient for both parties
  • The nanny is likely to make the same amount every day of the year, regardless of how many kids she’s watching. She is an employee with paid vacation, holiday, and sick days – there should be no bargaining for extra hours if you have to take your child to an appointment or take your own vacation
  • Each child needs to be on a fairly regimented schedule so that the nanny can manage her day – it’s helpful for everyone if at least one nap overlaps so that the nanny can take a deep breath

 

Things that you might not think about / extra expenses:

  • You’ll need to have workers comp insurance if you have a nanny in your home
  • You might need an agency to manage nanny payroll and taxes if you don’t want to be responsible for ensuring that taxes are handled properly (we use Breed Love)

 

Are you in a nanny share situation? What tips, or pros and cons would you add? Let me know in the comments!

Are you looking for a nanny? Check out my tips for finding and hiring a new nanny.


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