Is a Nanny Share Right for You?
Decide if it makes sense for your family to share a nanny with other families.
Amy Leibrock, Contributor
Articles> Is a Nanny Share Right for You?
nanny with two kids

Finding the right child care situation for your family can be overwhelming. Many parents find that they have to decide between hiring an in-home nanny or enrolling in daycare, with neither feeling quite right. Fortunately, there is a middle ground that can provide both a high level of personal attention and the socialization benefits of daycare, at the right price: the nanny share.

What Is a Nanny Share?
In a typical nanny share, two or more families employ one nanny, sharing the cost of her salary. Most nannies watch all the children together, but many families work together to come up with a schedule that is tailored to their needs. Since both families are contributing to the nanny's pay, the nanny is usually able to earn more than she would make working for a single family.

We talked to four nanny-sharing moms to find out why they chose to share a nanny and to get their insider advice on setting up a successful nanny share.

Advantages of a Nanny Share
Here are four reasons a nanny share may be the right child care solution for you.
 

  1. Quality Care at an Affordable Price
    "We basically have all the luxuries of having a nanny at half the price," says Debbie Tobias, a mother in Brooklyn, NY. The cost of a nanny share varies by region, but with this type of nanny share, you can generally expect to pay about the same or a little more than you would pay for quality day care.

    For Stacey King Gordon, an Oakland, California, mother who shared a nanny for three years, the socialization benefits made her feel like she was giving her child the perks of day care on a more personal level. It also cut her child care costs almost in half.

    Learn more about how much child care costs.
     

  2. Attention
    Even though the nanny will be watching multiple children, kids in nanny shares still get more one-on-one attention than they would at a day care center, and they are in a home environment, which appeals to some parents. "The girls get the same care, or better, than we would give them if we weren't at work," says Tobias. Children also get the opportunity to build a nurturing relationship with another adult. "We loved our nanny," says Gordon. "She had a huge heart and genuinely loved our daughter."

    Weigh the Pros and Cons of Nannies and Day Care.
     

  3. Flexibility
    The parents we interviewed touted the flexible, DIY nature of nanny shares over day care centers, which often have strict policies for hours, holidays and sick days. With a nanny share, you and the share family make your own rules. "We need to be sure we have somebody who can handle our crazy schedules," says Tobias, who works full time and whose musician husband is often on tour.

    Emily Moore, a mom in Brooklyn, NY, likes that on days she works from home or is sick herself, her nanny can watch her son at her share-family's home, and when the children are at her house she doesn't have to commute to child care. "It's like having the best of both worlds," she says.
     

  4. Socialization
    All the parents we talked to emphasized the bonds their children developed with the other kids in their share. "The children build strong relationships with other children and learn to share," says Ellen Shahan, a mom in Hopkins, Minnesota, who has been sharing the same nanny with families in her neighborhood for nine years. Tobias' daughter has become best friends with the other girl her nanny watches. Likewise, Moore says she's happy that her son "is growing up with someone akin to a sister."


Keys to Successful Nanny Shares
Want to organize your own nanny share? Here are five things to keep in mind.
 

  1. Choose Wisely
    When putting together a nanny share, take time to get to know both the nanny and the share family well before settling on an arrangement. "It all works well if you have the right nanny and the right family to share with," says Skahan.

    Tobias suggests making sure the family you share with has a similar outlook on parenting issues like education, diet and behavior, since the children will essentially be raised like siblings. Make sure the kids have chemistry as well. "We had one kid who was a hitter," one mom said.
     

  2. Understand the Tax Rules
    "In a nanny share, both families are considered separate employers in the eyes of the IRS and the state," says Tom Breedlove, Director of Care.com HomePay. "This means both families need to follow the nanny tax process and each family can capitalize on the tax breaks -- if they pay the nanny on the books." Families that need help setting up their nanny share correctly can utilize Care.com HomePay to assure their nanny's payroll is accurately calculated and their tax returns are filed on time.
     

  3. Put It in Writing
    "Make a list of everything -- hours, sick days (both the nanny's and how to handle a sick kid), holidays, pay schedule, petty cash, what to eat, activities, where kids will sleep, who will buy what (do you need a double stroller?) -- and put it all in writing so there's no miscommunication," says Tobias. An agreement or contract gives everyone a common road map to refer to when issues come up.
     

  4. Communicate and Stay Flexible
    Once everyone has settled on the details, it's important to keep the lines of communication open and the drama to a minimum. "With three parties involved, all manner of issues will come up -- having everyone on board with helping to cover an unexpected nanny sick day or a parent running late helps things run smoothly," says Moore. She makes time for all three parties to speak together when issues come up or just to check in. "Professional and clear communication is key," she says.
     

  5. Anticipate Change
    For all its advantages, a nanny share is also more fragile than a day care or single-family situation, says Moore. If one party decides to leave the share, you might be left scrambling to find a replacement. To minimize this, Gordon suggests sharing with a family that has a child the same age as yours, so they will "age out" of the share at the same time. Also, talk about how you will handle it when someone wants to leave the share, so you avoid conflict and hurt feelings.


With a little work, a nanny share can be a great experience for everyone involved. "It's one of the very best decisions I ever made," says Moore.

Check out nannies near you:
San Diego, CA
New York, NY
Corvallis, OR
Windermere, FL
Jacksonville, FL
Or take a look at some other care options:
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(20) Comments
Michelle H.
Michelle H.
I like the idea, but I thought it worked differently. I thought the idea was to "share" hours to accumulate to 40 hours for a full-time position. But the actual childcare was still individual by family. Is that not the case? That's the type of situation I would be open to (Union, NJ)
May 15, 2015 at 5:31 PM
Janet K.
Janet K.
I have one several occasion been a nanny for share the families were best friends and loved was trees a king care of their 4 children almos r of the same age it's fun
April 21, 2015 at 9:12 PM
Annie D.
Annie D.
Just wondering... Does each family have to pay minimum wage or does their combined contribution have to be at least minimum wage?
March 27, 2015 at 3:47 PM
Yan Ping Z.
Yan Ping Z.
I haven't pay for the premium account yet, but if there is an option for nanny share I would do it. I currently have a babysitter, she doesn't earn much from me but I'll love for her to earn a bit extra by having a second kid around. It would also be great for my daughter to be able to have a playmat.
March 6, 2015 at 11:51 PM
Pollyana G.
Pollyana G.
I think Care.com should open a Windows or a topic for the Nanny share
July 9, 2014 at 6:10 PM
Jennifer G.
Jennifer G.
I actually interviewing tomorrow for a Nanny Share job, my rates are $10-$15 per hour.
I was thinking of telling them the $15 an hour so that would make it $7.50 an hour per family.
but I also wanted to tell them if they bring children to my home, I will decrease their rate.
I feel caring at my home is easier for meal planning, preschool work, crafts and such. having one home instead of me having to travel between 2.

has anyone ever done this?
May 27, 2014 at 9:47 AM
Care.com Member Care
Care.com Member Care
Hi Pamela! Thanks for the question! The wages we have on our website are based on what all of our members are asking for or offering for jobs. We have a babysitting rate calculator on the site as well that I would recommend checking out!
http://www.care.com/babysitting-rates
April 3, 2014 at 2:34 PM
Pamela H.
Pamela H.
I want to know how you are figuring your wages? Is there anything out there that has like a wage chart?
March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM
Zoe J.
Zoe J.
Super great I idea.
December 3, 2013 at 11:18 PM
Katy B.
Katy B.
I think this is a wonderful idea. It saves the nanny from having to jump around town to various part time jobs, but most importantly the children can play with other children and families can rest assured the kids are having a great time at a less expensive cost to them.
August 31, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Syn F.
Syn F.
As a nanny, my biggest concern/gripe is families thinking they are getting a nanny for "half price" when, really, it should be them saving a percentage while the nanny earns more than she would with just one family. I have seen LOTS of ads for share families who want to pay $20-25/hr. You may think that's a great wage for a nanny (it's not, if she is experienced and qualified), but actually, you are saying that you will only pay $10-12.50 for each child. Where in the world would you expect to pay a quality caregiver or day care $10-12.50 per child? Yet, you want a private nanny? Think about it from the nanny's perspective. Also, it is actually MORE difficult to work with two families than for one, and more difficult to care for two little ones of the same age (if they are under 3 or 4 yrs old) than for one little one and an older child. (When was the last time YOU watched TWIN NEWBORNS?) Yet, MOST shares are for infants, even newborns. Qualified, legal nannies I know would never take on twin infants for $25/hr even for one family, why would they do it for two? A share is to save families money AND give the nanny a higher wage, NOT to get a 50% discount on nanny services or take advantage.
August 30, 2013 at 5:56 PM
Member Care C.
Member Care C.
Hi Oksana,
Currently Care.com is not set up to find a Nanny for a Nanny share program, just based on how our safety vetting works. What you can do however, if you already have a Nanny hired, is to find a family for the share! We have a program set up on the site called 'My Care Exchange'. It is located in the list of links on the left hand side of your home page, the same place you would find 'My Jobs' and 'My Messages'. You can get started there today. I hope this helps!
https://www.care.com/my-account-care-exchanges-p1175-q540599.html
November 27, 2012 at 5:20 PM
Oksana P.
Oksana P.
How would family go about finding a nanny share? We are members of care.com, but I don't see a way to post an announcement/ad for a nanny share family. Would love to give this a try!
November 21, 2012 at 4:46 PM
Victoria K.
Victoria K.
I think its a marvelous idea especially since it would give the benefit of varied playmates..I would be very much for the arrangement
June 8, 2011 at 9:29 PM
Sandra R.
Sandra R.
I am a young retired grandmother, looking to supplement my fixed income. I love the idea of caring for a group of children and sharing those children with other nannies. Great way for children to learn socializing skills.
June 2, 2011 at 2:55 PM
Gouri S.
Gouri S.
I have a 8 month old baby boy who usually goes to day care but the daycare owner is closed for a week. So we are sharing our friends' nanny just for a week in July. They pay her $300 per week and our friend suggested we could pay her $200 or $250 depending on what we think is a fair price. I really don't know how these things work - are we supposed to pay her exactly the same rate they pay her or lesser if it is a temporary arrangement? The hours will be the same, except that she babysits their baby at their house so we will be dropping off our baby there for 5 days. Please let me know what is fair thing to do. I don't want our friends to think we are taking advantage. Your comments will be helpful!!! Thanks in advance.
May 26, 2011 at 12:36 PM
Sarah R.
Sarah R.
I have done nanny share on a few occasions. When a group of families are going out to dinner and someone's sitter cancels they can add their children to my care group. It works out great and the changing sets of playmates is always a hit!
May 10, 2011 at 5:19 AM
Debbie B.
Debbie B.
Hi,

How do I go about becoming a member of Nanny share?

Thank You, Debbie
May 6, 2011 at 2:46 AM
Erin M.
Erin M.
If I get interest from a family that pays less then I require I ask if they'd be interested in doing a nanny share with another family, who I could find through the website also. I'm in one now and it's a great deal for both families.
May 2, 2011 at 9:10 AM
Brenda S.
Brenda S.
i love this idea! I hope that a lot of parents respond. How would we as caregivers put the word out?
May 1, 2011 at 6:15 AM

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