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 a Nanny will be more expensive than using a childcare centre, 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 socialisation 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 ratio of 1 to 4 precludes more than four children being cared for in this way.)
In practice, nanny sharing works by all the children gathering 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.
To keep it simple for our clients, we invoice each family separately, incorporating for each any government assistance or rebates that may apply. (It doesn’t matter if one family qualifies for assistance and the other doesn’t – the benefit is just applied to the proportion paid by the qualifying family.)
Other than that, 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, client liaison visits are also 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 considered.
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.