What is a “Nanny Share”?
Imagine having your children cared for in the home while you work. You might argue that hiring a nanny is not something you can afford. Well, how about sharing your nanny with another family and paying her a part-time salary? A nanny share is an arrangement whereby a nanny is employed by more than one family to care for the children in each family. In this current economic climate where many couples are struggling with childcare costs, teaming up with another family and sharing a nanny may be the solution. It’s less of a burden on the family finances and at the same time, you have peace of mind knowing that your child is being cared for in a home environment by a professional.
Finding a family that fits
First, you will have to find a family interested in sharing a nanny. How can you be sure that you and the other family will be a good fit? You need to consider the following basic points: does the other family live close enough? Do you have similar child-rearing philosophies? You should explain your approach to discipline and your children’s dietary habits. Be as open and frank as possible. Discussing the care of your children can be the hardest thing in the world to do, but there is no use settling for something which may not work further down the line. It might be easier to share with a family you don’t know extremely well rather than a very good friend.
Both families and the nanny will have to tailor the arrangement to meet their needs. For example, will the nanny mind the children in your house or the other family’s or will she work half the week at your house and half the week with the other family? You should draw up a written contract to ensure that arrangements between all parties are agreed and understood. It should include hours of work, pay and duties and stipulate how holidays will be managed. It may not be feasible for both families and the nanny to take holidays at the same time. One family may have to make alternative arrangements if the shared nanny is on holiday at the same time as the other family. This needs to be written down in clear and precise terms.
Some advantages of a nanny share
There are several advantages for many families. Your children will have the best of both worlds: a one-to-one relationship with their carer but with other children for play and company. You have the flexibility of a nanny with lower costs. If the nanny is ill you will have additional backup – both families could share the childcare between them.
A little advice
It is very important that both families are flexible and tolerant, and you have to be ready to trust each other. Remember to always be punctual as it can mess up the arrangement for the other family. Do keep your nanny’s welfare in mind. She is the lynchpin of the arrangement. Provision will need to be made in the contract for the possibility of one family or the other opting out of the nanny share. It should be clear who has the responsibility for finding another family with whom to share should this arise. Lastly, it is a good idea for all parties to get together on a regular basis. It is not uncommon for niggles to arise over the fairness of the arrangement. The best way to resolve or diminish these problems is by planning to stay in regular contact and being open with one another. It may be worth meeting with the nanny and the other family on a fortnightly basis to ensure things are running smoothly and to iron out any difficulties.
Is it for me?
Increasingly we hear reports of childcare costs rising, often making it more difficult for both parents to continue working. A nanny share is a flexible childcare solution that appeals to people in a variety of situations. You may work full-time and wish to reduce your childcare bill; or you work part-time and only require childcare on specific days or at certain times; or you are on maternity leave and no longer need a full-time nanny. Whichever situation you find yourself in, it may be worth considering a nanny share for your childcare needs.