Considering a Nanny Share, Advice

Updated on December 21, 2015
R.S. asks from Lone Tree, CO
8 answers

Hi, I am meeting up with a family and nanny next week to talk about doing a nanny share with my son when he is 1 and their son, same age. It will start when their older child starts kinder next fall. The nanny has worked for them for 3 years. They would like for the boys to be at their house as mom works from home. What advice does everyone have for me?

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answers from Norfolk on

Google 'Nanny share nightmare' and do some research on what has worked and what hasn't worked and why.

Looking at the following article pointed out one big reason not to do as you are suggesting - this other family has a long relationship with the nanny so they'll be viewed as the primary boss.

With the right situation it could work out great but I'd pass on this established family/nanny combo you're meeting with next week.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Portland on

This is going to be long, but here goes...
As a former nanny, who did do shared care successfully, my first recommendation is to have *everything* in writing. Everything.
Here are some of the questions I've dealt with during this sort of arrangement:

1. What is the shared care hourly rate for the nanny vs the private hourly rate? (You will want to know this in advance.)

2. *Which* hours in the day will be shared vs private?
3. In the case of one family or the other having to cancel that day's care due to illness, how is the nanny paid? Will you pay the shared rate for care not used? or does the family utilizing care pay a private rate?

4. In the case of illness, does the nanny stay with the first family (milder illnesses) and provide care while excluding your child or does the nanny come to your house?

5. What are her provisions for health exclusions? (I chose not to do 'sick care' as I had several clients and couldn't afford to A. miss work and B. leave other clients in a bind.)

6. Do you have back up care for times when your child shouldn't be in care? (pink eye, bad cold, other contagious situations)

7. Insurance liability. I had families sign mutual waivers that each parent would cover their child's medical costs and verified they had insurance; any damage to property would be filed through homeowners insurance, and I privately took responsibility for any damage to my person or property (I wear glasses; had a child broken them I would be responsible for replacing them.) Deciding early on who is responsible for what eliminates a lot of arguments.

8. Food. Will you pay a stipend to the host family for them to supply food/snacks; will you bring a bunch of snacks/food to share, or pack your own child's food?

9. Naptimes. There should be adequate and safe accommodations for the children to sleep. Do you need to bring a pack and play for your son? A one year old will need containment and children should not share cribs.

10. Agreements regarding television/electronics etc. They might be fine with some cartoons or shows you feel you don't want your 1 year old watching. Something to think about and discuss.

11. Childproofing and baby safety: are there barriers to stairs and other hazards in the house? Families have many different philosophies on this.

12. Ask the nanny how she handles disagreements and squabbles between kids and how she deals with potentially dangerous behavior. At one, the *discipline* is more about the adult being present and disciplined in paying attention/looking out for potential hazards. A time out would not be appropriate in this case. Does she know how to modify an environment to address this?

13. If your family or theirs is out of town on vacation and the other family needs care, what's the rate expected? And how much paid vacation does the nanny receive/ how much from whom?

I'm going to stop here. As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts which need addressing. In my opinion, one of the worst things a parent can do is to go into this sort of situation dismissing the need for a written contract. A contract benefits everyone with clear communication, expectations, and a chance to state-- beforehand-- what everyone needs. In my experience, some people feel weird about bringing up contracts with friends and clients/employees. They want to hold onto the idea that everyone is friends and it'll all work out. (and sometimes, it does, however...) Those are the situations which end up getting resolved in court because no one wanted to admit, in the beginning, that there is a very real potential for there to be disagreements.

19 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

The only reason I would hire a nanny is so my son could stay in his own environment. What you are describing sounds like an in home sitter. I would only do it on my own turf. Their house, their rules and her kids may , unintentionally, be favored since she has known them much longer.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Good advice below from Nervy Girl. My first reaction is, why does the other mother want a 2-child day care in her home if she is working there? I would think she would want quiet!

But yeah, pay the nanny yourself by check (no cash), have a contract, and make sure you have a plan for when someone is sick (her child, your child, the nanny....). It sounds like all the inconvenience will be on you, and they want your income to help cover the cost. Will you be providing your own port-a-crib, food, bottles, toys, and so on?

I'd really focus on liability and safety (find out, for example, if there are guns in the house - that's a hard conversation to have but it's essential). And have a lawyer look over your written contract - not their lawyer, not matter what they say.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree to read and re-read Nervy Girl's response.

This scenerio raises my red flags because it sounds too one sided toward the other family with the most benefits from the deal.

You would be better off with in home child care where the chance for misunderstandings on pay, priorities, etc would be less.

In any case... Make sure everything is in writing. I'd also run the idea by my CPA.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

it sounds like a nice idea in many ways. the bennies of having a professional nanny, especially one who has a long-time relationship with the other family and has presumably been well-vetted. and two toddlers getting to play together (well, not 'together' so much at that age, but you get the drift), in a safe and well-supervised home environment. i'd be tempted too.
i'm a little surprised that a work-from-home mom WANTS two toddlers and a nanny around during her working hours. when i worked from home i found it impossible with kid-noise in the house. maybe she focuses better than i.
but you really want to think this through carefully and get it ALL in writing. what to do when one kid is sick but not the other. when the nanny is sick. you and the other mom. the kindergartner also needs to be factored in. how much can the nanny take the babies out- just on stroller walks? drive them to the park? take them to story time at the library?
who will pay for snacks? how will discipline be handled? what if your child breaks something in their house? how would an emergency injury (to anyone) be handled?
there's a LOT to think about, and you really need to be pro-active about putting together comprehensive yet flexible plans to cope.
i would pursue this, i think, it's got a lot of potential benefits. but be prepared to sit down with the other family and the nanny, hash out the details and then get them all written up. it will be a daunting task, and may cause everyone to rethink it. but better that than to go in unprepared.
ETA great advice from nervy!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Each parent pays the nanny individually. This way YOU can claim the child care expense on your taxes next year. You pay the nanny a straight fee. They claim their income on their taxes and pay their own taxes. IF you want to pay social security on to a CPA first. You don't pay a plumber social security.

You pay by the hour for your child. You should have to contribute to any other funding that the homeowner pays them, such as cleaning or chores. That is on the home owner to pay then extra.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I would be a little concerned about the age difference between the kids and that she has worked for them for 3 years already. I did a part time "nanny" share one year but both kids were the same age. We took turns meeting at either of our houses so it was fair. And the nanny was really into taking them outside to do things (feed the ducks, playground, music at the library, etc). I was working part time and it worked well for that year till the "nanny" went off to nursing school the next year. By then my daughter was old enough for preschool. If their son is almost 5 and your son is 1 they will be at such different developmental levels. And the 5 year old may be very unhappy that the nanny has to spend so much time caring for the 1 year old. My son was 5 when his sister was born and at age 1 when she started getting into his things it was VERY annoying to him. He loved her at times and hated her at times...and he was not mature enough yet to be reasonable about it all the time. I agree with others that you should write up a contract. Also I would give it a trial first to see how it goes. I would also be concerned that this other family is not willing to compromise and have the nanny watch the kids at your house some days. But you never know...perhaps it could work out beautifully. It's worth a try.

1 mom found this helpful
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