Tips for Making a Nanny Share Work

Before starting a nanny share, make sure you go over certain details

A nanny share is an arrangement where one nanny watches two or more children from different families. A nanny share can be a great childcare option because it is more cost-efficient for the employers than a one-on-one nanny, provides socialization for the children and allow the nanny to make more money. However, before jumping in it is important to work out the details in advance. Here are questions that you should ask yourself and then discuss with the share family and the nanny before starting any nanny share: 

  • Do you like each other and each other's kids? 

  • Are your children compatible as playmates? 

  • Do you communicate well with the other family?

  • Do the parents of the other child get along as a couple? 

  • Are you compatible on sleep-training philosophies (if one family does cry it out while the other soothes, this could become difficult for the nanny)) 

  • Do you see eye to eye on screen time (TV watching, Ipads and computers)? 

  • What is each family’s attitude about sweets and treats? 

  • Do you have eating rules or restrictions (only organic, allowing kids to stand and eat)

  • What are your beliefs about vaccinations (and could these beliefs affect your decision to have a nanny Share with a family with different beliefs)? 

  • Do you see eye-to-eye on child-proofing, kinds of toys, or other safety issues?

  • What are your beliefs about discipline? View on sharing? Are your views compatible? 

  • Do you live near each other? 

  • Are your homes set up well for a nanny share? 

  • Are your schedules and work hours similar (more or less)? 

  • Do you agree on where the child care should occur?

  • What is the environment like where the children will sleep and play? 

  • Do you care if they nap at home or on the go? 

  • Do you agree on schedules for naps and mealtimes?

  • Do any of the children have special needs (dietary, emotional, learning, developmental, etc)? 

  • Can you handle your nanny’s attention being divided between the children or would you prefer your child get undivided attention? 

  • If you plan on alternating homes or using the other family’s home, are you prepared for drop-off and pick up? 

  • How flexible will you be about extracurricular activities? 

  • Would you prefer to come into an existing nanny share situation or would you rather start from scratch with a new family and new nanny? 

  • How will you coordinate paying the nanny? Will you pay on or off the books?

  • Who will be responsible for transporting children from one home to the other? 

  • How will you coordinate weekly expenses and supplies, including diapers, wipes, formula, food, etc? 

  • Will you need special equipment, such as a double stroller or portable crib? 

  • Will the families provide petty cash to the nanny? How will/can it be spent? 

  • How will you figure out paying for holidays? If only one family uses the Nanny on Mondays, for example, more holidays will fall in that family’s time. 

  • How will you handle extracurricular activities/classes if the other family is not interested in participating? 

  • What additional perks will you provide the nanny (money for transportation, snacks, etc.) and how will you coordinate? 

  • How will you handle communication with the nanny? Will there be one point person, or will both families speak to the nanny about changes together? It is a good idea for the families to coordinate messages first and then rely them to the nanny together so the nanny is not getting conflicting messages.

  • How will you handle over-time, especially if only one family needs the nanny to stay later? 

  • What are the holidays you have in common? Not in common? 

  • What kind of trial period will you have to make sure it works? 

  • What will happen in the event of one family’s’ need to end the share?(loss of job, moving, school, etc). 

  • What happens if one of the children is ill?

*NOTE: In situations where a child is sick, there are a few ways to look at the situation. Some consider it like a daycare situation and the parents of the sick child find other arrangements. Others decided that it depends on the illness; colds with a runny nose are okay to attend the share, but fever and vomiting are cause for separation. Other people allow the Nanny to take care of both children, assuming that it’s highly likely that both kids have already been exposed to the sick child’s illness. 

*NOTE: It is easier to find a family and then together choose a nanny, but that is not always an option. If you are coming into a situation where another family already has a nanny there may be a power differential in terms of comfort level with the Nanny and routines that are pre-existing. This is not to say coming into a pre-existing nanny arrangements will not work, you just need to state your expectations up front. 

It is important to interview nannies before making a decision. Here are some Nanny Share Interview questions.

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