Sharing a Babysitter or Nanny: What to Know

By Kaitlin Hurtado on March 28, 2022

Sharing a babysitter or nanny may be a foreign childcare option to you. However, if done right, it can be the perfect solution to your family’s childcare needs. It is no secret that babysitters and nannies, especially good and well-experienced ones, can often come with a hefty price. Sharing a nanny with another family (or two) can help you minimize the cost of hiring a babysitter without compromising on how well your child is taken care of when you are not available. Sharing a nanny can bring affordability, convenience, and be more beneficial to your children than the traditional nanny setup.

Photo: Pexels

What’s a nanny share? 

A nanny share is typically when two or more families hire one nanny to share the cost. The children of the participating families are often cared for together by the nanny at the same time, with each families’ home being chosen on a rotating basis. Depending on your situation, you may opt to choose one family’s home for all childcare needs, or adjust the situation as needed.

Many families opt for nanny sharing to encourage socialization among their children that they wouldn’t get with having a babysitter of their own while giving their children more individual attention than they would get in a traditional daycare setting.

Choose a family similar to yours 

When it comes to sharing a caretaker, the family you choose to share with is just as important of a decision as who you decide to hire to watch over your children. If you opt for a family that has nothing in common with yours, from child ages to schedules, you are likely going to run into a variety of problems from the beginning.

If your children and their children are going to be cared for by the same person at the same time, you want to make sure that both you and the other parents are on the same page with how the children are cared for. Do you have a certain policy on-screen time with your kids that you expect to be carried over in their time with the nanny? Are you and your kids okay with pets if the other family has them, or vice versa? Does your child have specific dietary needs? There are some things that you may be willing to compromise on during childcare time, and others you aren’t comfortable swaying on. Whatever the case may be, establishing these sorts of expectations early on can make sharing childcare with another family as smooth as possible.

Identify and establish your family’s needs 

Just as you would want to think of your family’s needs when it comes to hiring a babysitter for your own family, you will want to identify your family’s needs to make sure they resemble the family you will share a nanny with. What is your budget for childcare? What’s your family’s schedule, or what times do you expect childcare to cover — is it solely for a small period of time after school, or does childcare need to be provided late nights and weekends? Do you expect your nanny to pick up your kids from school or different activities? Decide the hours you will need from a caretaker (part-time versus full-time) and the days you will need coverage. Sharing a caretaker will not be beneficial to you or the other family if you are running on completely opposite schedules.

Detail any specifications you want in your ideal babysitter. If you value hiring a babysitter with first-aid knowledge or other specific certifications, make it known that’s something you expect. Is your ideal babysitter bilingual or multilingual, in order to give your child the opportunity to learn about a new language? These types of things may be at the top of your list but could be something the other family could ultimately care less about. If you are actively seeking out a nanny that fulfills both of your desires, be ready to make a list of needs that work for both families. If you find yourself struggling to find a nanny that works for both of you, you may want to consider parting ways and seeking out another family to share childcare with.

Another thing you will want to decide early on is your budget. You and the family you are sharing childcare with will be splitting the cost of childcare, so you want to make sure that each family has the means to split the cost of the nanny you decide to hire. If you share with a family that doesn’t have the same amount of children as you, such as one family having two kids and another having a single child, you may also experience some sort of negotiations to figure out a fair cost.

Sharing a nanny can be a great solution to your family’s childcare needs. With these tips in mind, you can help your choose the right partner family and nanny to go with.

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