To Nanny Share or Not?

I get many calls from people that are interested in sharing a nanny with another family. This typically means that two (sometimes three!) families share one nanny and split the cost. The nanny cares for the children of both families together or splits her time between the two households.

It is a great option for parents who want the personal care in home for their child(ren) but it takes a lot of research and due diligence to make sure this is the right option for your family. Consider the questions below when thinking about using this option for your family.

Does the other family live close by? This is particularly important if the nanny will be working in two households. If they don’t drive or transit is not readily available near one of the homes, this can cause some problems for potential candidates. Finding the right family to share a nanny with, in your neighbourhood isn’t always easy.

Have you discussed potential issues? It is never a good thing to think negatively but it is important to discuss any potential ‘what if’s’. Things can get complicated quickly since there are 2 or 3 families involved. If you have different parenting styles or expectations for example ,you will want to discuss everything ahead of time. Clear communication is key and it may be wise to have a point person from each family but also have weekly or monthly meetings so that everyone is on the same page.

Are you comfortable with your nanny’s attention being divided? One of the reasons many parents choose nanny care is that they want one-on-one attention for their child. In a nanny share, your child will still receive great care, but the nanny will not be able to focus on your child exclusively. For some parents, that’s not a problem. Others don’t like the idea that their child’s needs might not be immediately met. Be honest with yourself about your comfort level with this limitation before making a decision on the type of care you want.

Do both families agree on what is expected of the Nanny in each house? We all have different expectations from our nanny and it is important to talk to the other family about what he/she will be doing while at their home. If you are splitting the time up, a Nanny may start to appreciate going to one house or another more based on what they are doing. Their time is now split between your sole charge nanny who may take on many childcare tasks on top of providing hands-on care. Some of these will include laundry, family meal prep, vacuuming and dusting.

Since most nanny shares are for infants or younger children, your nanny will have her hands full with two or three children who are close in age. Start bringing on laundry, grocery shopping, cooking etc, it can be too much for the most experienced! You may find yourself having to do some of the things you envisioned your nanny doing if you go with a nanny share.

Again, be sure to weigh the options when considering a nanny share. It will not only affect you and your family, but also the Nanny!

Lisa Bruce is a mother first and foremost to her 2 wonderful kids, wife, Placement Manager and owner of the newest Nannies on Call branch in the Okanagan.

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