As a parent, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is the one that determines who will care for your child when you can’t. For most, that means the decision between nannies and daycare while mom and dad are at work, but, in recent years, there has been a new trend on the rise.
Nanny sharing is described as when “two or more families employ one nanny, sharing the cost of her salary,” according to Care.com. Essentially, families agree to “share” a nanny at a reduced cost per family (in comparison with daycare or a full-time nanny), which creates an attractive savings benefit. While it may sound simple, there are several things to consider before deciding whether or not a nanny share is right for you.
For starters, it isn’t as simple as divvying up time among households. Nanny sharing usually entails children of multiple households all being cared for under one roof. In other words, your child would likely spend a week at one house or a week at another, moving around based on whatever schedule the families had decided upon. However, this is not an unpredictable schedule, rather this shows how it differs from a traditional nanny service.
There are a multitude of pros and cons associated with nanny sharing options. Here is a look at some of the top benefits and drawbacks to participating in a nanny share.
1. The Financial Aspect
The first, and most obvious, benefit is the financial break most families experience when compared to more traditional nanny or daycare options. Since the cost of the nanny’s salary is shared across two or more families, the financial burden one family bears is usually significantly lower than any other child care options.
In fact the cost is usually the same as or less than public daycare, but with the attention of a personal nanny. It’s also reportedly a huge benefit for nannies because it allows them to charge a higher salary than normal due to watching more children.
2. The Individual Attention
Another “plus” is the greater amount of one-on-one time your child will receive. While it isn’t as much as a traditional nanny would be able to give, nanny sharing provides a more intimate environment than daycare centers, which frees up the amount of attention your child gets every day.
3. The Socialization Aspect
One of the biggest bonuses parents say they love about daycares is the socialization aspect – something that is usually lost with traditional nanny experiences. But with nanny shares, it’s like getting the best of both worlds: your child will get more individual attention than at a daycare center, but with the benefits of socialization with the other kids involved in the nanny share with your family.
Things to consider:
1. Compatibility Between Families
The most difficult aspect to maneuver with nanny sharing is the struggle to find families to “share” with who are compatible with your family and schedules. Because there are so many different routines at play (not to mention personalities and parenting methods), it can be a bit difficult to find another family who is similar enough to work within a nanny share.
If you’ve found a good match otherwise, you may need to be willing to be flexible on some of your parenting rules, since your nanny will be caring for other children at the same time.
2. Scheduling Vacations
While it may not be something you would normally consider when thinking of child care, with a nanny share, you need to be able to coordinate vacations across multiple families – which can (understandably) be quite tricky. Not only for your own family vacation, but also for the sake of the other families (so no one is left to pay for a full week solo). AND for the sake of the nanny – working out who watches the kids when the nanny wants time off.
3. Being in Other Homes
If you are against child care options like a daycare setting because you’d prefer your child be in your home rather than another facility, then nanny shares might not be for you. Even though you essentially have a nanny, there’s a fairly high chance your child won’t be in your home for hours or even full days.
Nanny shares usually work by the nanny dividing her time among the homes of the families involved – so your child will likely spend a lot of time in someone else’s home.
Overall, nanny sharing can be an amazing option for families who find themselves struggling to decide between the high cost of a live-in nanny or the lower personal attention of a public daycare center. Nanny sharing can be highly financially appealing and can also offer your child a supervised socialization option that allows them to grow up with other sibling-like children. But as with everything in parenting, it all boils down to what’s right for your own family.
Be certain that you weigh your options thoroughly and get to know the other families you’re considering entering a nanny share with before opening a contract. Ask lots of questions and do your research, but know that for many, it’s a fantastic alternate option for many families.
If you think that nanny sharing may be right for you, the Mommybites Nanny Share board helps connect you to other New York families in your area looking to start a nanny share. Already have a nanny, but need a family interested in sharing a nanny? Post a nanny share.
Jamie is a married mother of four – two girls and two boys – ages 3 to 22. With 19 years between her oldest and youngest, she writes to keep her sanity in check with a healthy dose of therapeutic humor injected for good measure. She is a children’s book author and full-time mommy blogger for her site, Momma Juice and regularly guest blogs for other sites.