How to find, interview for and land a nanny share job

Sept. 1, 2020

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 you. That often means several adults must all align on schedules, personality and parenting styles, costs and more. 

Here’s how you can navigate the job search and interview process to find a fulfilling position in a nanny share.

Finding a nanny share opportunity

In most cases, families will pair up before they start jointly looking for a nanny. But in some cases, a 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 gotten together and advertised for a nanny. After having a positive experience, 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 seeking a share. Platforms like Nextdoor, which aims to keep neighbors connected, also feature posts from local parents seeking nannies.

  • Nanny-finding websites. There are several websites that help families connect with nannies in their area. For instance, Care.com has a nanny share tool for families seeking this arrangement.

  • Agencies. Nanny shares are becoming increasingly more common. In fact, nanny agencies from coast to coast, like Westside Nannies in Los Angeles and The Nanny League, which is nationwide, are now well-versed in matching families with a caregiver for a nanny share. Reach out to reputable child care agencies in your area and ask how you might be matched with families looking to fill a nanny share role.

  • Job listing sites. While care-specific sites are great, mainstream job listing sites like Indeed.com or Craigslist might 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. Running 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 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 might have two separate initial interviews with each family or one with both.

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 member 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? 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. Just as in any caregiver job, you’ll be bringing child care know-how, energy and love to the table. However, nanny shares require additional skills, which you’ll want to demonstrate during the interview. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Emphasize your organizational and communication skills. “Because you’ll be working for more than one family, and each will have their own unique way of addressing caregiving expectations and concerns, make sure to highlight your communication skills and demonstrate that you can juggle competing needs, says Elizabeth Malson, president of the Amslee Institute, which trains nannies and caregivers. “With multiple families, it is important to remember important dates, activities and insights with the respective parents,” she says.

  • Show you can offer individualized attention. Ask each family personalized questions to demonstrate that although you’ll be working with both, you realize they each have their own needs. Samantha Lande, a mom in Chicago, Illinois, whose child participated in a full-time nanny share for more than two years, says that during interviews, she wanted to see that the prospective nanny could accommodate the needs of both families. “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,” says Lande.

After the initial interview, if both families decide you are a good fit, you might benefit from having subsequent interviews, in order to ensure that you’ve met each parent and their children.

What to cover during the second and subsequent interviews

During the next interview(s), discuss the job in great detail and talk about how you and the parents will work together. This is also when you’ll get the chance to clarify any lingering questions. It could also be beneficial to have a working interview during which you spend time with the children, as this will allow you to see how they interact with each other and allow you to address any potential issues.

Either way, consider having this second meeting in the space you will be working in, says Paxia. That way, you’ll get a chance to ask any questions specific to the home.

Be sure 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. Review the specifics on 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. Ideally, they will agree on how children will be disciplined, but if not, you can come up with a game plan that suits both parties.

  • Supplies. Talk with each family about who will supply necessities, like food, wipes and disposable items for playtime, like chalk. Should each child only use what his or her parents send, or is it OK to share?

  • Communication. Decide how best to stay in touch. Consider establishing a group text or email chain or connecting through a nanny app. 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 boundaries, says Paxia. “You can't go to one set of parents and talk about the other set of parents,” she says. Ask your potential employers what information should be disclosed and to whom . For example, if a child is having behavioral issues, do the other set of parents need to know about them?

This meeting is about allowing parents and the caregiver to ask questions and exchange ideas in order to ensure everyone’s in sync, says Lande. Following this discussion, you can solidify everything in writing with a nanny share contract.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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