Nanny shares are an increasingly popular child care option, namely because they are more affordable than a traditional nanny, provide hands-on care and are in a home setting but still allow for socialization.
In a nanny share, two or more families agree to share the same nanny. That means families reap the benefit of having more individualized home care for their children — but at a lower cost than hiring a nanny of their own. But before you jump into a nanny share, consider the pros, cons, costs, and alternatives.
The benefits of a nanny share
The challenges of a nanny share
The cost of a nanny share
Depending on your needs and the needs of your share family, the cost of a nanny share can vary. Some factors include your nanny’s level of experience, the number of children that will be under her care and where you live. Nanny shares tend to be cheaper than traditional nannies but more expensive than day care centers. See the average cost of nannies, nanny shares and day cares in your local area with our Cost of Child Care Calculator.
You’ve done your homework and decided a nanny share is your ideal child care option. Now what? Let’s take it step by step.
Search for a share family
Finding the right family to join up with is just as crucial as finding the right nanny for your children. Typically, you’ll search for a family before you start looking for a nanny, so that you know you’re teaming up with folks that have similar scheduling and cost goals. Of course you’ll also want to take into consideration personality and parenting styles, how close you live to each other and the ages of your children.
Align on job requirements
Next you’ll need to find and interview nannies. But before you get going, make sure both families agree on a general job description. Be sure to align on:
Find and interview nanny share candidates
Your interview should cover all the caregiver basics, such as work experience and child care philosophies. But also ask questions that help your candidate demonstrate the necessary skills for a nanny share, including strong communication skills, flexibility and the ability to give individualized attention to multiple kids. You’ll likely want to have at least one interview with just your family and the nanny, and another one with all families, including children, present.
The first step to success in a nanny share is to get everything down in writing before the nanny starts her job, and preferably in the form of a contract. This will get everyone on the same page for important things like vacation (what happens when one family goes on a getaway?) and salary (how and when will the nanny be paid?). A nanny share contract should include specifics on:
Outside of a contract, constant communication across all parities will also be key. Some nanny shares use group texts for day-to-day communications. Others may designate one parent as the point person with the nanny. No matter how your share decides to communicate, make it meaningful and make it often. It’s also good to plan regular face-to-face “check-ins” with everyone present, so any issues can be discussed before they become problems.
Considering sharing a caregiver? Be sure to do your homework: Nanny shares and shared care arrangements may be subject to various licensing requirements or prohibited in certain states and jurisdictions. Research local laws and regulations.