It’s not uncommon for parents today to consider a nanny-share situation, which can be defined in two ways: a nanny who divides her days and time between two houses and two families, or a nanny who simultaneously cares for children from two families on the same day at one house.
A nanny-share can be a great option for families, especially part-time working parents. Some love the idea of knowing their children are with their peers during the week. Others see a financial benefit because often times a nanny-share means each family pays less but the nanny might actually make more than she would carrying for children of one family.
In many cases, friends will see an opportunity to nanny-share. Your kids already know each other and it’s likely you share similar values. Before committing to this arrangement it’s important to consider a few key points to help make the experience a good one (and for the sake of your friendship!):
#1: Discuss the nanny-share idea with the nanny from the moment you meet the nanny. Understand how she feels about this, how many kids and what ages she believes she can handle and listen to her concerns.
#2: Clearly define logistics from the get go and put it all in writing so that both families and the nanny are referencing the same document or calendar. Define specifics like hours, location and salary at the beginning.
#3: Set the same ground rules. Even your dearest friend might adhere to a different set of parenting rules. Make sure you are on the same page about the basics including food, screen time and naps.
#4: Respect the other family’s time with the nanny. One of the lesser-known benefits of nanny sharing is the ability to quickly call on the nanny and other family in a pinch. If it’s not your day with the nanny and you need a hand, ask the other parent AND the nanny for permission for your child to join them for the day. The needs and schedule of the family whose day it is should take priority. Don’t ask for this too often. Most people are willing to help once in a while, but if the requests become consistent, it’s time to re-evaluate your childcare needs.
#5: Make time for regular check-ins. Schedule time each week for a private sit-down with your nanny to discuss only your child. Additionally, set aside time throughout the month for a group meeting with the nanny and both families to discuss what’s working and what needs improving.
#6: Approach the relationship with communication and compassion. These things are key to any successful relationship and are paramount to a healthy and happy nanny-share experience.
Have you ever shared a nanny with a friend? What was your experience like?