With many child care options out there, choosing the right one for your family can be stressful. From daycares to private nannies, these child care options can be very expensive, creating a challenge for many families. This is where nanny sharing comes in – an increasingly popular alternative to daycares and single-family caregivers.
What’s nanny sharing?
Nanny sharing is an agreement between two or more families to have their child cared for by a single nanny at the same time or at different hours within a nanny’s work week. Often times, both will occur as parents have varying work schedules and need different amounts of support. A nanny share allows parents with irregular schedules to obtain consistent child care at a lower cost than daycare. Hiring a private nanny can be expensive for some households as well, so having a shared nanny service helps to cut down those costs.
While the cost-effectiveness of nanny share rates are what mainly attract families, a nanny share can offer intangible benefits that are just as important, like socialization. With flexibility and one-on-one attention, nanny shares can really be the best of both worlds – perks of a daycare, but on a more personal and private level.
How does nanny sharing work?
How nanny shares work depend on the families and the nanny participating in the arrangement. It can operate on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and can be held at one home at all times or both homes at alternating times. To share a nanny successfully, both families must listen to each other and be able to compromise, or else the shared nanny may feel torn between two sides.
What are the benefits and drawbacks?
There are many benefits to nanny sharing, but there are also some potential risks to consider when deciding if a nanny share is right for you and your family.
Some reasons you may decide to find a nanny share:
- Affordable, Quality Child Care
If you share a nanny with another family, you should only pay a little more than half of the compensation you would if the nanny was solely supporting your family. For example, nanny rates can range from $17 to $26 an hour for two children, depending on where you live and the nanny’s experience. When you split the cost between two families, this works out to $8.50 to $13 an hour.
- Valuable Socialization
In a nanny share, your son or daughter spends a lot of time with the other family’s child, creating meaningful bonds and socialization time. Your child can learn how to share, behave and react around others. When you’re in this arrangement, you’ll most likely also develop strong, familial relationships with the other family.
- Flexibility in Scheduling
Daycare centers often have strict policies regarding hours, statutory holidays, and sick days. With a nanny share, you and the other family can make your own rules, plan ahead, and ensure that the needs of your families are met.
- Individual Attention and Active Support
Although daycares provide a great way for kids to connect, staff members have to divide their attention over a large number of children. In a nanny share, you are able to ensure each child receives regular, active support, and that they have the opportunity to build nurturing relationships with another adult.
Some reasons you may decide a nanny share is not right for you:
- Reduced Household Duties
Many nannies support families by helping with house cleaning, laundry, and other chores. However, when a nanny is being shared with two families, there is less time to help with this burden. Specifically, if the nanny and children are always located at one of the two homes, there is risk of unequal help for one family. Make sure to discuss these expectations up front, and possibly adjust the compensation according to what each family will receive.
- Reliance On the Other Family
Another challenge with maintaining a nanny share is that plans do change. And as one family’s plan changes, it is not always guaranteed that the other family understands that change. This can lead to tension and unnecessary pressure on the shared nanny. I would recommend having a clear, solid schedule before the arrangement begins. If any changes to the schedule need to occur, you should discuss this process beforehand with the other family.
- Great Commitment
Finding a nanny share and setting it up requires time and effort, as well as commitment not just to the nanny, but also to the other family. If things aren’t working out, it will be harder to end the agreement. Before you start, ensure you have a clear understanding of how long you and the other family will be committed to the nanny share. It would be a good idea to revisit this arrangement every 3 months.
- Conflicting Parenting Styles
We’re all human, and we’re all different, especially when it comes to raising a child. If your family limits the amount of screen time or prioritizes physical activity each day, but the other family doesn’t, this can cause some friction between the families. Similar to other potential risks associated with nanny shares, open communication and rules set out in a contract will help to overcome these challenges. This is also a great opportunity to understand and learn about other families’ parenting philosophies!
After learning about the benefits and drawbacks of a nanny share, I hope this helped you to have a better picture of what it means to share a nanny. Before moving forward, carefully consider how well a nanny share will fit your family’s needs. Although finding a nanny share may seem hard at first, with a little bit of work, this child care option can be a great and unique experience for everyone involved.
Christine Cuff, prefers to be called Chris. Currently residing in New York City, but also has a home in Canada. Degree in education and worked as a middle school teacher. Retired early, but a mom of 2 kids. She has an 8 year old daughter and a 5 year old son, where previously she was in a nanny share. Although she misses working with more children, she wanted to focus on her passion of writing and art. With encouragement from friends and family, Chris started to pursue writing. On the side, she is an avid reader of parenting blogs.