Nanny Shares: What are the Pros and Cons?

We have many families ask us about the advantages and disadvantages of nanny share situations.  We’ve seen many successful and unsuccessful shares over the years, and here are our top 5 pros and cons we advise parents to think about before entering into a share.

Top Five Pros:

  1. Shared cost:  Nanny Shares can help reduce the cost of having a nanny by splitting the nanny’s pay.  Keep in mind that both families are still the nanny’s employer and MUST each pay taxes on their portion.
  2. Socialization: Having children of similar ages together is beneficial for helping the children socialize.
  3. Switching locations:  Having your children home with a nanny every day can increase incremental costs like heating and your food bill.  By sharing between the two family’s homes, you can share this cost and also you won’t have to clean up every week!
  4. Increase your “Village”:  It can be beneficial to your family when you have other parents to share struggles with and increase your support network.
  5. Less Illness:  By being around fewer children than in a daycare, your child should have less illness to contend with in their first years.   Another positive is most nannies will work with ill children, unlike daycare where children cannot attend even if mildly ill.

Top Five Cons:

  1. Finding another Family: One of the major hurdles of nanny shares is simply finding a family with which to share.  One must consider things like location, hours, pay expectations, ages of children, and the ever important parenting style. Simply finding another family to share with can be time-consuming and that doesn’t even take into account the time it takes to search for a nanny! 
  2. More Opinions & Logistics:  Making the decision about who you feel comfortable leaving your children with can be difficult enough.  In a nanny share, you will have to contend with possibly 4 or more opinions about who to hire, how to structure the work agreement, etc.  Also, who will spearhead the search? How does one schedule interviews based around two families and nannies schedules, etc.? 
  3. Parenting Philosophy:  It is crucial to make sure you pair up with another family that has the same parenting philosophy as you.  Nothing is more stressful for the nanny and the children then to have the families disagree on how the children should be “parented” throughout the day.
  4. Illness, time off, date nights:  Nothing can end a nanny share quicker than disagreements about these three issues.  Make sure you and the other family have sat down and discussed in detail how you will handle: if one child is sick and the other isn’t, if the nanny is sick, if you leave on vacation or the nanny takes a vacation, who gets the nanny for the coveted date night, etc.
  5. Hidden “Costs”:   Who is responsible for broken toys? Supplying meals and snacks? Buying a double stroller, providing an aquarium family pass etc?  Whose car gets used for field trips? All of these questions should be addressed BEFORE employing a nanny.

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