“Have you ever considered doing a nanny share?”
I was interviewing for a traditional nanny position when the mother brought up the question. She went on to explain: “We have a friend with a daughter just a few months older than our son. They live a few streets down from us and are also looking for childcare. We told her about you and she asked about a nanny share.” At the time, I didn’t know much about nanny shares, but I knew it would be different. After being in a nanny share, there’s so much I wished I had known beforehand.
What is a nanny share?
A nanny share is a situation where one or more families employ a single nanny for their childcare needs and share the cost of her salary. There are benefits to the parents (they generally save money), the nanny (they generally make more per hour, and the children (they get socialization. However, there are a lot of things research and discuss with the families when considering a nanny sharing position.
The most important thing is to meet the parents of both families and assess their parenting style. It is easier to work with families who have similar styles and outlooks so you can create a consistent environment and set of expectations for the children. One thing I’ve noticed lately is that many people go into shares not knowing the other family. I highly recommend talking about parenting styles and beliefs with both families before accepting the position.
The next step is to talk through logistics and expectations. If the children aren’t walking, a double stroller or double stroller attachment will need to be purchased. Also, the children need to be on the same schedule. Additional considerations include: Who will host the nanny share? What is the schedule? How will time off work?
The hosting family’s home becomes home base for the position. Some positions rotate where the kids will go each week, but this can be confusing to both the children and the nanny and complicate things for everyone. It can become difficult for the nanny to remember where everything is in each home, for the children to make the constant adjustments, and for the parents to remember which weeks they are hosting. The family who is not the host should pack the diaper bag as they would for a day at daycare including food and whatever is necessary for bottles (formula, breast milk, etc.) If the host family agrees, some of these items can be stored at that location.
Scheduling is critical to a successful nanny share. When it comes to schedule it is important to have the children on roughly the same schedule so the nanny can have a break. While a nanny is with one child it is understandable to ask her to do light chores related to the child. However, if the nanny is caring for multiple children there may not be time for household chores. There may be times when the nanny is working for one family or another or both families. This can impact the amount paid by the families. When working for one of the families only, the nanny would earn their hourly rate for those children, and not the share rate. It is important to be realistic upfront and keep open communication. Schedules rarely stay static for long, so constant open communication is vital. For example, what if one of the children gets sick? There should be a clearly understood plan for caring for contagious and non-contagious children.
Many families prefer their nannies to take time off when they are on vacation. This makes it easier for the families but doesn’t always coincide with the nanny’s personal plans. So, it’s important that time off be clearly outlined as part of the work agreement. Additional things to consider include holidays and nanny sick days.
Some work agreements have guaranteed hours for the nanny. If a family and nanny agree to guaranteed hours, the families agree to pay for a specified number of hours per week while the nanny agrees to be available and willing to work these hours. If the family is going out of town or decide they don’t need the nanny’s services, they must pay the nanny (assuming the nanny is available and willing to perform the work).
Nanny shares can benefit families, nannies and children. The families have a sense of reassurance that their child will have in-home care. The nanny will generally be paid a higher rate and have more children to love and care for and the children have a friend to socialize with. Nanny shares can be challenging at times and must be entered into with complete open communication and understanding. Only then will you be able to have a successful nanny share!
The Nanny Institute provides online childcare classes and certification programs based on a curriculum specifically designed to advance the skills of Nannies and Sitters. The Nanny Institute has over 30 college faculty with a passion for education and childcare, bringing them together to help childcare providers gain practical skills and qualifications that benefit their careers and the children in their care.