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How do you handle communication in your nanny share?

Jayme Kennedy
April 20, 2018
How Should You Manage Communication Within Your Nanny Share?
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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.

 

Nanny shares have lots of advantages, but they also require a bit more attention and involvement between the parties. When you’re trying to manage the schedules and needs of two families plus a nanny, keeping the lines of communication open is absolutely crucial. (And when you officially kick off your nanny share, you’ll quickly realize how much you all will need to discuss on a regular basis!) The tricky part is finding a way to communicate with each other that meets everyone’s needs and expectations.

That’s not to say that there’s any right or wrong way to manage communication in a nanny share, though. Keeping both families and the nanny in the loop should be your main priority, and how you decide to do that is really a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer group messages with the families and nanny, while others designate a point person to communicate directly with the nanny for day-to-day matters. Any way you manage it, communication within a nanny share is an integral part of its success. Just make sure that it’s a strategy that works best for all of you -- and emphasis on the word “all.”

To help you navigate this process, we spoke to several nanny share families to find out what strategies work for them.


Communicating as a Group

Group messaging, whether through texting, social media messaging, or emailing, is a great way to keep the lines of communication open in a nanny share. If everyone is involved in the same text conversation, no one gets left out or misses a change of plans. Plus, you can even set up notifications to make sure that you don’t miss out on any last-minute changes or updates.

We spoke to one mom in Portland, Oregon, who said that her nanny share has a parent thread and a nanny thread to manage communication. Every Sunday, the parents discuss the upcoming week and go over, any changes to their schedule or any events going on everyone needs to be aware of. Once they’ve planned out the week, they check in with the nanny on a separate text thread that includes both families and the nanny. We spoke to a mom in Minnesota who also uses group messages to keep in touch with everyone in her nanny share. If an issue arises, either with the nanny or the other family, she takes it off the group thread and reaches out to the concerned party individually.

If you do decide to go with the group text or message thread options, just remember that that inherently involves receiving a flurry of messages from time to time. And, as such, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Two families and a nanny will likely have a lot to say and share, and it can be hard to sift through the conversation to find the key details you specifically need to know. For daily operations, this is probably the easiest way of keeping everyone in the loop. However, if you have something that you need to discuss only with the other family or only with the nanny, it’d be better to reach out to them individually to have a separate conversation.


Communicating Through a Designated “Point Parent”

While group messaging works well for some nanny shares, others may choose to streamline their communication by designating one parent as the point person to manage the nanny share’s day-to-day operations. Families can communicate directly with each other, and pass on any relevant information to the nanny through the designated point person. This kind of arrangement naturally cuts down on the amount of confusion that can come from having “too many cooks in the kitchen,” and ensures that there will be a relatively consistent style and frequency in the communication that does occur. Having one person in charge of the day-to-day operations can also make things easier on the nanny, too. For example, she’ll know exactly who to reach out to with questions about time off or schedule changes, rather than having to get an answer from 2 or more people.

We spoke to Carrie, a mom from Newport Beach, CA, who told us that she communicates directly with the other family if there are issues or matters to discuss relating to the nanny. However, for daily issues, she is the one to speak directly with the nanny.

The nanny manages her own schedule, so if there’s a change or Carrie needs to switch a day, she’ll let the nanny know, and the nanny will discuss it with the other family.


Checking In With Your Nanny Share

Another great way to maintain open, consistent dialogue within your nanny share is by finding time to do regular “check-ins” with both families and the nanny. Think of it like the weekly one-on-one meetings you might have with your manager, or like the parent-teacher conferences you have with your kids’ teachers. These regular check-ins allow you to make sure that everyone in the group is satisfied with the way things are going, and give you all a chance to resolve any issues that come up.

Virginia, a mom from Richmond, VA, said that her nanny share drafted a contract for the nanny and both families that specifically included monthly or quarterly meetings. In these meetings, the families and nannies could sit down and discuss how everything was going and how everyone was feeling.  It was like a “nanny-parent conference”, if you will. Even with consistent communication, regular check-ins with the entire group are a great way to make sure everyone is happy and on the same page

However you decide to communicate within your nanny share, just remember that consistency is key. It’s essential that both you and the other family make your needs and expectations clear from the very beginning. Managing people isn’t always easy, but maintaining an open line of communication with everyone involved will help your nanny share run like a well-oiled machine.


Think a nanny share is right for you?

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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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