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So, you want to do a nanny share! Here's how to get started

Jayme Kennedy
June 22, 2018
So, You Want to Do a Nanny Share! Here's How to Get Started
Image via Unsplash.com/Alexander Dummer

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.


Once you’ve decided that a nanny share is right for your family, figuring out how to get started can be overwhelming. There are several factors you’ll want to consider when moving forward with nanny share. It’s important to identify your own care needs and must-haves for the family and nanny you’ll be working with. Having these details worked out in the beginning can save you from headaches down the line.

To help you out, we spoke to some families who are doing nanny shares and had them outline the steps they took (in order) to set up their care arrangements. As you begin creating your own nanny share, make sure to consider each step carefully. Every family will have their own list of wants and needs, and knowing yours can make finding the perfect match that much easier.

1) Identify Your Family’s Care Needs

Child care should fit within your family’s schedule and budget and a nanny share is no different. Some families will be looking for part-time care, while others will need a nanny and family who can accommodate a full-time schedule. Decide early on exactly how many days and what hours you’re going to need. It’s important to be as specific as possible when figuring out your schedule and to make that known when you begin your search.

One Bay Area mom listed her family’s detailed schedule when she first put an ad out looking for a family, including what days and times they needed a nanny. If you have some flexibility, it’s also a good idea to note that in your ad or communication with a family. Part-time and full-time can mean different things to different people, so being specific can help you weed out families that won’t work.

Another thing to consider is if your child has special needs or a specific medical condition that would require more specialized care and attention. If your child has a medical condition that needs to be managed daily, you’ll likely want to look for a nanny who has some medical experience or advanced first-aid certifications.

You’ll also want to match with a family that is understanding and willing to make some accommodations for your child’s needs. For example, peanut allergies are fairly common now and some kids can have life-threatening reactions. If you have a child with a severe peanut allergy and a potential nanny share family isn’t willing to go “peanut-free” in order to create a safe environment for him or her, they aren’t the family for you.

2) Figure Out Your Child Care Budget

The same attention to detail should also be used when figuring out your budget and what you’re willing and able to pay for the nanny share. Start by figuring out what you can afford.

In a nanny share, the nanny’s rate may change based on how many kids are in their care. This is the system that one mom from Portland, Oregon, uses in her nanny share. The families pay by “number of babies”; when both babies are in the nanny’s care, the rate is $18 an hour. The families split that rate, so each family is paying $9 an hour. However, if only one baby is being cared for, the hourly rate drops to $15, but the family whose child is being cared for is responsible for the full hourly amount.

When budgeting for your nanny share, make sure you consider any and all contingencies that could pop up; as they say, you can never be too careful. In addition, nannies are entitled to overtime pay - and depending on where you live, sick pay and paid time off may also be required by state law. All of these factors need to be worked into your bottom line. Also budget for any fluctuations in cost for when your nanny has to work extra hours a few weeks out of the year so you don’t encounter any surprises or run into any financial disputes with the other family or the nanny.

3) Determine What the Ideal “Partner Family” Will Look Like

In a perfect world, your ideal partner family for a nanny share would fall right into your lap. But, unfortunately, real life isn't quite that easy. When you’re deciding on what you want out of a nanny share partner family, you'll have to figure out your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves,” and be willing to compromise in some ways. And just remember that every family is going to have different wants!

Are you OK with pets? Do you have any issues with screen time, or special restrictions your kids follow at home? Do you have religious preferences? Are you comfortable with your kids being in a home where there are guns? If you have deal-breakers, now is the time to figure out what those are.

When the Portland mom was looking for another family for her nanny share , her biggest concern was about the kind of food her child would be eating while at the other family’s home . Specifically, she wanted to make sure that the family they went with would be open to buying only organic foods, making baby food versus using store- bought, and maintaining a balanced diet for the kids during shared care hours. According to her, t his wasn’t as important to the other family,  but they were open to her suggestions and thankful that she took the lead on putting those changes into place. However, the other family felt very strongly about the kinds of toys the children would play with — they preferred wooden or silicone toys. W hile it wasn’t necessarily a priority for her , she was willing to compromise on the types of toys available  when the kids were in her home.

We spoke to Virginia, a mom in Richmond, VA, who said that it came down to personality and compatibility for her. She wasn’t just looking for a family to share a nanny with; she was hoping to find a family that blended well with her own family’s lifestyle. She says, “Basically, I was looking for somebody I could share a beer with, you know, or coffee.”

A mom from Boston told us that she really prioritized finding a family that she felt shared the same values. She wanted to find a family where the mom and dad were both really involved, so when the dads didn’t show up to the initial meeting on two separate occasions with two different families, that raised a red flag for her. She also felt very strongly about finding a family that would treat the nanny well. Unfortunately, not all families prioritize the nanny’s well-being and she knew that she wouldn’t want to enter into a nanny share with a family like that.

4) What Does Your Ideal Nanny Look Like?

Now that you’ve decided on what you’re looking for in the other family, it’s time to think about what you want in your nanny. For the most part, parents want to know that the person they’re leaving their kids with is kind, capable, and dependable. But, beyond that, you may have specific criteria based on your family’s needs or desires.

Once the mom from Portland matched with a family, they turned their attention to finding a nanny who fit with both families. Both her family and the other family wanted to find a nanny who was open to baby-wearing, since their kids would be infants when they started the share. Additionally, they both felt very strongly about finding a nanny who had experience in childhood development, and who would devote time to developmental activities with the kids.

Additionally, several of the families noted that they really wanted to find nannies who were either bilingual or multilingual. They specifically looked for this quality because they wanted to give their children the opportunity to either practice a language they're learning in school, or to learn a completely new one.

Several of the parents we talked to expressed that flexibility is key when looking for a nanny. Even if you have a set schedule, things can —and will— happen! As such, you'll probably want a nanny who can adapt well to sudden changes, whether it be a sick child or a change in host house for the day.

Having shared values with the family you choose is important, but it’s equally important to find a nanny who also shares those values, and will work to implement them in your absence. Are you comfortable with the nanny disciplining your child with a timeout or taking away a privilege? For parents of infants, would you feel comfortable with the nanny sleep training your baby during the day, or potty training your toddler? The nanny will be filling in for you while the children are in their care, so ask yourself: Am I comfortable with this person doing all the things I do as their mom or dad on a regular basis?

Just like you discuss parenting styles with your partner before you have kids, you should be open to discussing them with any potential nannies. They can be uncomfortable questions to ask, but in order for a nanny share to be successful, everyone has to be on the same page.

Think a nanny share is right for you?

Care.com Nanny Share makes it easy to start connecting with local families.

Ready to take the next step in setting up a nanny share? Click on the next article in our "The Nanny Share Guide" series:

1) Is a Nanny Share Right for You?

2) How Much Does a Nanny Share Cost?

3) Day Care vs. Nanny Share: Which One's Right for You?

4) So, You Want to Do a Nanny Share! Here's How to Get Started

5) Setting Up Your Nanny Share: The 10 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid

6) Finding the Other Family in Your Nanny Share: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

7) Your Place or Mine? How to Decide Which Family Will 'Host' Your Nanny Share

8) How to Interview Nannies for a Nanny Share

9) How Should You Handle Time Off in Your Nanny Share?

10) How Do You Manage Expenses in a Nanny Share?

11) How Do You Handle Communication in Your Nanny Share?

12) Learn How to Craft a Great Nanny Share Contract


The information contained in this article is provided only as a general guide and is not intended to be nor should it be construed to contain legal, medical or financial advice.  The selection of a caregiver and terms of any caregiving arrangement are solely the responsibility of the individuals involved and not Care.com

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