Childcare can be expensive, with families paying $16,000 a year on average for infant care. With the rising cost of living everywhere, childcare services must also adjust their prices to keep up.
To address this problem, some parents are getting creative by setting up a nanny share. However, nanny sharing can come with its own set of challenges, including having to work out agreements with the provider and another family.
What Is a Nanny Share?
So, what is a nanny share, and how does nanny share work?
A nanny share is when two or more families team up to hire a childcare provider, such as a nanny, to provide childcare services to their children in a co-arrangement. The families share the cost of childcare.
Sharing a nanny certainly has perks. Your child not only has a devoted caregiver to watch them, but they have another child to socialize with, and you’ll be splitting the cost of these services with another family.
How to Find a Nanny Share
You’ve probably got some nanny share questions, like how to find a nanny share service in the first place. To find a nanny share, you’ll want to decide whether you want to find a family or a nanny first. If you decide to find a family willing to nanny share with you, you should set up a meeting between your family and theirs to see if you’re on the same page about what type of care your children need. It’s important that you establish certain criteria, such as:
- Where the nanny services will take place
- Who will provide the food and necessary equipment, such as bottles, diapers, and dishes
- What hours are needed for both families
- The start and end dates of the childcare services, as well as days off
- Vaccinations (especially important post-COVID)
- Nap schedules
Once you’ve met with the family and have worked out some concerns, you can start looking for a childcare provider to fulfill your nanny requirements. Remember, you will be employing the nanny, and it’s important to consider any legal requirements that go along with hiring someone as your employee. For example, laws on payment, time off, and taxation should all be considered.
Aside from that, you’ll want to be wise in choosing prospective nannies. A few reputable websites make finding nannies easy, or you can ask for recommendations from your family, friends, or neighbors. Once you’ve found some potential nannies, do a background check on them; ask for references; and make sure they have a CPR certificate, first aid training, and basic cooking and cleaning skills.
Nanny Share Benefits
Nanny share pros and cons should be evaluated before deciding whether this service is right for you and your family.
Some nanny share benefits are obvious, such as being a cost-effective solution for childcare, but there are plenty of other benefits, too, including:
- Consistent care: Many nanny services require their nannies to sign a 12-month contract, and many nannies choose to stay even longer. This allows your child to receive consistent childcare. When your child gets sick and you would typically miss work to stay home with them, this consistent childcare can be a lifesaver. Your nanny will be there to care for your sick child when you’re unable to and can even take them to a doctor’s appointment.
- Fewer health risks: Children tend to be exposed to many germs, especially in large childcare groups. With a nanny share service, your child is mostly exposed to just the nanny and another family’s child, meaning there’s limited exposure to germs.
- Accessibility: Many services see the value in nanny shares and are helping families find their perfect nanny share service. If you’ve already found a family to enter into a nanny share agreement with, you can turn to a placement agency to help you match with potential candidates.
Of course, nanny share services have drawbacks, too, including:
- Conflict between children: There’s always a possibility that children won’t get along, but, for the most part, it’s a rare occurrence. Typically, when two children are at odds in a nanny share service, it’s more to do with the families and how each expects the nanny to treat their child.
- Disagreements between families: No two families are the same, and you may come across a family who does not parent their children like you. This can cause disagreements on how the nanny should handle certain concerns.
- Differences in childcare: You and your nanny may not agree on childcare, including sleep training, introducing solid foods, screen time, playing dynamics, and discipline.
Nanny Share Tips
If you’ve decided to participate in nanny share services, consider the following nanny share tips:
- Determine your expectations: There are many things to consider when hiring a nanny share service. For example, you’ll need to determine:
- Whether you want a part-time or full-time nanny
- Any availability requests, such as night or weekend hours
- Whether the nanny should provide additional services such as cooking and cleaning
- Whose house will host the nanny (or whether you'll share hosting responsibilities)
- Decide on your budget: Budget is important in looking for a nanny. Some options may be cheaper than others, and if your budget is too tight, you may want to consider finding more than one family to share nanny responsibilities.
- Find the family before the nanny: Before you begin your search for a nanny, you may want to consider choosing the family or families you’ll be nanny sharing with. The families you choose should be compatible with your own, and their expectations and values should align with yours.
- Clarify rules: When hiring a nanny, you should clarify your rules and how you want your child cared for. For example, if you want a limit on screen time, make that clear. If you have certain disciplinary actions for your children, make those clear, too.
- Draw up a contract: Contracts are indispensable when employing anyone. You’ll want to ensure liabilities and outline the nanny’s expected pay, allowances, work hours, and more.
- Test the waters: Consider having a trial period with the nanny to see whether they are a good fit to take care of your little one. If you decide on a trial, outline the trial period and expectations in the contract.