First things first, you made the decision to move forward with a nanny share for your little one. That’s great! A nanny share is an awesome way to provide important socialization yet also guarantee some personalized attention. Now you’re ready to set up your nanny share by finding the two essential elements: your nanny and your share family.
If you’re starting from scratch, it’s best to find your nanny share family before bringing in a nanny. That way you can make the hiring decision together. At Guidepost at Home, we’ve seen this be a very successful element in creating a long-term nanny share. If you already have a nanny, you can still bring on a share family, but will have to be open and transparent with both your nanny and the new family on what you expect from care and what you’re willing to adjust (and what you’re not.).
Partnering with a family for childcare can be a beautiful thing for everyone involved. Your little one will get their first best friend and you will get a mini village—community couldn’t be more important when taking on this crazy ride called parenthood. You’re essentially choosing to coparent together, which means picking the right family is a big decision. So, let’s help you make the right one.
Based on our experience matching families, we’ve laid out the main buckets you'll want to focus on when trying to find the right nanny share family. We've also put together two checklists to help you determine what you need and want in a nanny share family (more on those below!).
We know—we just talked about co-parenting and now we’re talking schedules and coordination. This might not be the fun stuff, but it is essential in determining if two families are compatible for a nanny share.
First, start the process with thinking about where you live. With a nanny share, care is happening at either your home or your partner’s family’s home, which means some extra travel has to happen for drop off and pick up. Think about where you live and where you are willing to travel for care. If you live in a city and are willing to walk a few blocks to drop off, great. If you live in the burbs and are unwilling to drive more than twenty minutes out of your way, then note that. Be really honest with yourself on what you’re willing to do and not do.
A consistent daily routine is also a must in creating a successful nanny share. Of course, there will be exceptions from time to time, but overall everyone should have a pretty consistent schedule in order for all the moving parts to work. Think about your daily schedule (ha we know, if that’s possible with a little one) and your commute. When do you need care to start in the morning? End in the evening? Do one of you work from home on a regular basis? How many days per week do you need childcare? How many hours per day? These are all things you'll need to figure out to make a nanny share work.
It’s also important that partner families have similar schedules. Keep in mind you’ll be working with one nanny so while schedules don’t have to be exact, they should be similar enough to keep hours reasonable for your nanny. Maybe one family starts at 7:30am and the second child joins at 8:30 or maybe you pick up at 5:00 but your partner family needs care until 6. Those are all things that can be worked out in advance with your partner family and nanny.
Hosting vs. Dropping Off
Another big element to coordinating a nanny share is figuring out where the nanny will be watching the children every day. What’s your preference for hosting? Do you want the nanny to watch the little ones at your house? At your share family’s house? Would you rather alternate? Is parking available at your home? Is there public transit close by? In order for a nanny share to be successful, drop off and pick up should be convenient for both parties. If you have a strong preference one way or the other, be clear in your conversations with potential nanny share families.
There’s a lot of gray area with parenting and most parents will have certain preferences. It’s important to understand what’s important to you as a parent before partnering with another family and bringing in a nanny. You'll need to consider things like your sleep, medical and dietary preferences, rules around screen time, your views on discipline and much more. Once you’re clear on these answers, you’ll be better prepared to evaluate potential partner families.
Communication and transparency are really important in a nanny share. Both families need to be able to communicate with each other and with the nanny. After all, you’re working together to raise little ones!
As you navigate sharing care in your home, there will be difficult conversations along the way. When looking for the right nanny share family, try to find a family with similar styles of and expectations around communication.
Consider the following:
- How do you prefer to communicate?
- What are your expectations from the nanny during the day? (check-in calls, pictures, etc)
- How would you make sure you’re checking in with the nanny and your partner family on a regular basis? (Monthly meeting, weekly calls, etc.)
- If you had a concern or something you’d like to discuss with your partner family and/or nanny, how would you go about doing so?
Find the Right Nanny Share Family!
Ready to get started? We've turned our experience matching families into two checklists to help guide your search for the right nanny share family. One is a Personal Checklist with a list of questions to ask yourself before you meet with other families. Finding the right partner family for your nanny share starts with your family. When you’re clear on what you need, you’ll be in a better spot to find the right fit.
The second is a Family Interview Checklist that lays out the same questions in a printable format so you can check questions off your list as you go. We recommend that you sit down with your partner and fill out the Personal Checklist and then have it ready to compare side-by-side with the Family Interview Checklist as you talk with potential share families.
Remember to keep in mind that a nanny share is a partnership and like any partnership, there will have to be compromises along the way. So, figure out what’s most important and then get out there and find a like-minded family. Your new village awaits!
Download our checklists to get started!