Originally posted here.
One of the things I often hear people say about hiring a Nanny is that it is “only for the rich”.
While it is obviously true that using in-home childcare may be more expensive than using a childcare center, the benefits of a Nanny can be made more accessible when a Nanny is shared.
“Share a Nanny? I didn’t know you could do that,” I hear you say. Well, yes, it is possible to share a Nanny in many circumstances, and it is a great way to get access to all the wonderful things that in-home childcare can provide, for a fraction of the cost. It also has the extra bonus of providing extra socialization for the children involved.
Nanny share is quite simple. It involves one Nanny caring for the children of two families at once – up to four children in total. (Our agency’s ratio of 1 to 4 precludes more than four children being cared for in this way.)
In practice, Nanny sharing works best when all the children gather in one of their homes. Most often the home used alternates between the two families in some pattern – it can be daily, or week-about, or whatever works.
Typically each family pays the nanny for their share separately. This is a best practice from a tax perspective, making employment tax reporting simple, and qualifying each family for child care tax advantages.
Other than payroll, all aspects of care are handled jointly. At the start, we interview parents from both families together, and we select potential nannies based on the families’ joint needs. Later, all client liaison visits are held jointly, which presents an opportunity for any issues – including between families – to be ironed out quickly.
Before considering Nanny sharing, there are some things that need to be thought about.
In particular, you and your potential ‘share parents’ need to make sure that you are at one on matters of discipline, nutrition (e.g. sugar ‘allowances’), education (e.g. reading expectations) and screen time (TV, computers and games – and what can and cannot be watched or played on them). Nanny sharing simply won’t work if there is one set of rules for the children of one family and a different set of rules for the other. Where these things are in sync, and the two homes aren’t too far apart, Nanny sharing between two families can be a realistic and money-saving option well worth considering.