Nanny - Share, or not to share - the big question!
Employing a nanny is expensive , so no wonder over the past couple of years, the number of families sharing a nanny hugely increased. Sharing certainly makes having a nanny a more affordable option, but it doesn't come without its compromises!
Finding the right family
In an ideal scenario, you would have a friend to share a nanny with. Unfortunately, in most cases, you will be having to end up searching for another family. Finding the right family to share a nanny with is just as important as finding the right nanny!! In fact, most nanny-shares end up falling through because of the differences in the families and it would have nothing to do with the nanny.
So here is our little guide to help make your “share” work.
The distance between the homes
We are not saying that if you live a few bus stops away from the other family, it won’t work…. BUT talking from experience, the closer the families live to each other the better! You need to bear in mind the time it takes to travel to the other family’s home, as well as doing your own commute into work. (In most cases, the families would live a short walk away from each other).
The ages of the children
If you have a baby, you probably want to share with someone whose child is a similar age. We’re not saying that they need to be the exact same age, i.e a baby would work very well with a toddler or 3-4 year old, but it probably wouldn’t be so suitable with an 8-9 year old. You need to remember your nanny will want to organise playdates and activities, and it can be a very difficult to do it fairly when the children are so far apart in age.
This one is a biggie!! - It is very important that you’re on the same page with the other set of parents when it comes to parenting. If you’re into “attachment parenting” but the other family feel strongly about following a strict routine, and the use of naughty step etc… then realistcly the share won’t work, as your nanny would have an awfully hard time to follow both parenting styles. If you have a “deal breaker”— get this out in the open early and be upfront about it.
In a nursery, you follow their policies, and if you hire your own nanny, you make the rules, BUT in a nanny share, it’s all about the compromise! So take the time to talk about things like food, schedules, TV time, daily activities and discipline strategies at the outset. Although small differences can always be worked out, fundamentally, different perspectives won’t work and could end in disaster.
Work out the practicalities
This is a no brainer really - before even hiring a nanny, sit down with the other family and work out the practicalities. Who’s house are you going to use? Are you going to alternate the houses? Remember, if you have a baby or toddler, you will need an extra cot, highchair, and a double buggy.
A Full-Time nanny will be entitled to 4 weeks paid holiday PLUS bank holidays. How this time is divided up between the two families is a matter of negotiation. Usually one week is taken for each family, and the remaining 2 weeks are up to the nanny to decide.
This is definitely something most families tend to struggle with, (and one of those things you need to compromise on, in order to make your nanny share work).
Think of the finances
First of all, when you’re working out your nanny’s salary, remember - nannies doing shares tend to charge £2-£3/h more than their usual “sole” rate. On top of your nanny’s salary, bear in mind the hidden household costs, as well as who will be responsible for paying for the nanny and children’s food and daily expenses (like classes, playgroups, outings). A joint kitty is a good idea and to be decided/updated on a regular basis.
What happens if my child gets sick?
If your child is sick, (and we are not talking about a common cold) then you will probably need to make separate childcare arrangements, because it is simply not fair to infect the other children in your nanny’s care.
The benefits of a nanny share isn’t t just about costs. Children learn to take turns, share and resolve conflicts by having another child around. And the key to success in a nanny share? - Ultimately lots of communication and honesty.