Getting a nanny can be crazy expensive (as we saw here, some are making up to $180,000 a year!)
A nanny share just might be the solution to that.
A nanny share is exactly what it sounds like—you and another family (or a couple of other families) sharing a nanny.
In this situation, families split the cost to get the personalized attention of a full-time, at-home caregiver for the collective group of children, without the potentially prohibitive cost.
A little background: Nanny shares actually began in the 1980s when families became dependent on dual incomes and started looking for alternative childcare options. Today, they've gained in popularity after families were unable to employ full-time nannies post-recession.
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Sounds great, right? All the perks of the services of a nanny, but at half the cost (or less, depending on how many families split it)? Plus, they are a popular way to get care for children who are too young for most daycares. (Some daycares do take children who aren't potty-trained, but you'll have to check with your local facility to be sure.)
The truth is they can be pretty great, but you should know a couple of things before diving in. Of course we can't cover every variable and possibility you might encounter when trying to set one up, but our guidelines are a great place to start.
(For a more comprehensive, step-by-step guide to nanny shares, check out this resource from Park Slope Parents.)
Note: We highly recommend having a written, signed agreement, including most or all of the below considerations, before your nanny starts work.
Who Should I Ask to Share a Nanny With?
Keep in mind that nanny shares work best for children of similar ages who will enjoy the same activities and have similar needs (pureed greens just don't hold the same appeal for a 10-year-old that they do for an infant). Also remember that by sharing a nanny, you'll be working around another family's schedule as well, so you'll probably want to limit your nanny share to three or fewer families, preferably who live relatively close by, to keep the logistics manageable.
Having said that, it's up to you whether you would feel more comfortable working with a family you know really well or with parents who are merely acquaintances. If you don't happen to know anyone who would be interested in a nanny share, there are lots of online resources to meet other families and/or find available nannies, such as GoNannies, Nannyshare and even the smaller-scale blog ShareOurNanny.
Another option is good old-fashioned networking. It's easier in larger cities, but joining a local parenting group will connect you with families, and joining a birth club will help you meet families who have children of a similar age. To find a group near you, check out Moms.Meetup, RaisingThem or Babycenter.
How Do We Find Our Nanny?
Once you've settled on the families who will share a nanny, there are still a few things left to consider:
What Do We Need in a Nanny?
Sure, we all dream of Super Nanny coming to our homes, baking organic teething biscuits and teaching our children Chinese. But what really matters to you when you hire a nanny? Is it required that she be CPR-certified? Must she know how to swim, how to drive, how to cook or how to speak another language? Do you want someone young and energetic to run around with the children, or someone older, with more experience and a steady presence? Do you care whether she has a college degree?
Consider all of these questions carefully before heading out into the nanny interviewing process--you need to know which are deal-breakers for you personally, and which you'll be willing to compromise on in order to work with another family.
What Do We Need to Discuss?
Once you've broached the subject of starting a nanny share, keep these things in mind when you discuss the actual terms:
Consider where the nanny will care for the children. As we mentioned above, ideally the families who share your nanny will live near you to make early-morning drop-offs less painful, but where will the kids stay all day? It doesn't have to be one house all the time or even split evenly--maybe in the summer, you'll want the kids to stay more at the house with the pool, or in the house that's easier for your nanny to access in the winter (or perhaps the one with a fireplace for roasting marshmallows).
Your Nanny's Terms of Employment
Think about your nanny's hours (including overtime, weekends, overnights, vacation time and sick days) and salary (including health insurance, holiday bonus and transportation). Keep in mind that a typical work week for a nanny in the United States is 45-50 hours, and the average price for salaried nannies in the United States is between $300-$750 per week, depending on geographic region, experience and certifications. In other countries, however, the range differs. You should also be sure to outline that if one parent requires the nanny to work overtime, he or she should be solely responsible for paying the overtime associated with it.
How You'll Communicate
Instead of waiting for a parent to explode with frustration over the allotted TV-time, or the nanny to quit over her hatred of your pets, build a check-in time into your contract for all involved parties to sit down and bring up any issues that have arisen. Consider monthly or bi-monthly meetings and make a point of attending. For a more immediate fix, set up a notepad or whiteboard for nanny and parents to write notes back and forth as they think of them ("Cassie refused to eat grapes today"; "More Elmo Band-Aids are in the bathroom cabinet"). Much like regular parenting, sharing a nanny is more doable when everyone is communicating clearly.