How to find, interview for and land a nanny share job
Thinking about working for multiple families in a share? 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.
The benefits of working in a nanny share are clear: You can earn more caring for multiple families without necessarily having to increase your hours. But finding a nanny share that works for you and everyone involved is often not as straightforward.
To start, nanny shares involve at least three parties: Two families and yourself. That often means five adults must all align on schedules, personality and parenting styles, costs and more. That’s a lot! As a nanny, this means the upfront work of finding the right family matches and interviewing to ensure everyone can work together is extremely important.
Here’s how you can navigate through it to make a nanny share work for you.
Finding a nanny share opportunity
In most cases, families will pair together first before they start jointly looking for a nanny. But in some cases, the nanny can help bring two families into a share.
Nanny Jeannette Paxia, of Oakland, California, worked in two different nanny shares over the course of six years and found families both ways. In the first share she worked for, the two families had joined together and put an ad out for a shared nanny. After having a positive experience in that job, Paxia suggested a nanny share to two potential employers the next time she was looking for work, highlighting benefits like socialization and shared costs.
To find families interested in a share, consider leveraging:
Social media. Local online mom groups and Facebook groups like the Nanny Share can help you connect with folks seek a share. Platforms like Nextdoor also often have posts from local parents seeking nannies.
Agencies. Nanny shares are becoming more common, so agencies have become more in tune with connecting families with nanny share jobs. Reach out to reputable child care agencies in your area and ask about connecting with nanny share jobs specifically.
Nanny-finding websites. There are several websites that help you find the right nannies in your area and, in turn, can help families and caregivers connect with nanny shares. Care.com has a nanny share tool for families seeking this arrangement.
Job listing sites. While care-specific sites are great, mainstream job listing sites like Indeed.com or Craigslist can also list nanny share jobs.
In-person networking. Ask around! Tell fellow nannies, friends and previous families you’ve worked with that you’re looking for a nanny share. Word of mouth can work wonders.
Interviewing for a nanny share
Once you’ve found potential nanny share families, interviewing with them is the next — and most important — step. Having a successful nanny share requires lots of communication and planning, so you’ll likely want to have multiple interviews to dig into details and dynamics to make sure all parties are on the same page. Here’s how to handle those interviews and what to discuss at each step.
What to ask and talk about at the first interview
In many ways, the first interview will be similar to those for a traditional nanny job. You’ll want to ask the parents about what they’re looking for in a child care provider and highlight your skill set. You’ll also want to show the families that you’ve thought about the details of nanny sharing, such as juggling multiple children’s needs. You can opt to have two separate initial interviews with each family or one combined one with everyone.
During the first interview, Paxia recommends asking about:
Location. Will you always be in the same house?
Sick policies. Will the kids still be together if one family is ill?
Pay. What happens if only one family needs to add extra hours? Will they pay your full rate or only their portion?
Parenting styles and rules. Do the families have similar views on discipline or not? Does one family have strict restrictions?
In addition to gathering basic information about the job, you’ll want to highlight your skills as a child care provider. Many skills needed for a nanny share are the same you’d need in any caregiver job: child care basics, energy and love. However, nanny shares require some additional skills, which you’ll want to demonstrate during the interview:
Emphasize your organizational and communication skills. “A shared nanny needs to have crisp communication skills,” says Elizabeth Malson, president of the Amslee Institute, which trains nannies and caregivers. You’ll be working for multiple families, each with their own demands and communication styles. Make sure to demonstrate you can juggle competing needs. “With multiple families, it is important to remember important dates, activities and insights with the respective parents,” Malson says.
Show you can give individualized attention. Ask each family personalized questions to show that although you’ll be working with both, you realize they have their own needs. Remember that every child is different and will require different things. Samantha Lande, a mom in Chicago, Illinois, who had her child in a full-time nanny share for more than two years, says that during interviews, she wanted to see that the prospective nanny could accomodate the needs of both families. “This has to be a three-way partnership,” Lande says. “We wanted a nanny that would be flexible and be able to deal with the personalities of two different families, which isn't always easy.”
After the initial interview, if both families decide you are a good fit, it’s a good idea to then have subsequent interviews with both sets of parents and their children.
What to cover during the second and subsequent interviews
During the next interview(s), discuss the job in great detail, talk about how you and the parents will work together during the share and clarify any lingering questions.
Paxia suggests having the second meeting in the space you will be working in, or, if you’ll be watching the kids at both homes, at the home that you haven’t yet been to. That way you’ve had a chance to be introduced to both work spaces and to ask any questions that are specific to the home.
During the second meeting, it’s time to discuss the details of the job in depth and confirm that you and both families are on the same page. This should happen as soon as possible before you begin working and should cover:
Job overview. Reconfirm the details of when the share will start, where it will take place, pay, benefits and how long the families hope it will last, Malson says.
Discipline and house rules. Ask parents how they discipline their kids, what their screen time limits are and what house rules each family adheres to. “You have to know if the families have the same ‘punishment’ philosophies,” Paxia says. “The parents have to agree on how the children will be disciplined.”
Supplies. Talk with each family about who will supply necessities, like food, wipes and disposable toys, like chalk. Should each child only use what his or her parents send, or is it OK to share?
Communication. Decide how best to communicate. Consider establishing a group text or email chain. Ask whether all parents would like to be kept up-to-date with all issues or only those that concern them and their children.
Privacy. Open communication is important, but so is respecting the privacy of each family, Paxia says. “You can't go to one set of parents and talk about the other set of parents,” she says. Ask your potential employers how much privacy the families would like. For example, if a child is having behavioral issues, do the other set of parents need to know about them?
This meeting is about confirming everyone is still on the same page, Lande says, and allowing parents and the caregiver to ask questions and exchange ideas. Of course, you should solidify everything in writing with a nanny share contract after this.
It can also be beneficial to have a working interview, where you spend time with the children. This will allow you to see how they interact with each other and gives you the opportunity to bring up any potential issues you see.
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