Finding a like-minded family to share a nanny with is a boon in itself, but share care offers a host of other advantages. Many parents like being able to provide their kids with personalized care while avoiding both the high cost of a private nanny and the potential pitfalls of daycare, which forces children to spend time in an unfamiliar environment with a group of strangers, exposes them to more germs, and follows a rigid schedule that clashes with some parents’ work obligations. With share care, the nanny looks after children in their own homes and can accommodate scheduling conflicts more readily.
For parents, share care’s most desirable quality is its affordability; as Stamm summarizes, “It’s the best value, hands down—daycare rates for almost individual care.” While the nanny’s hourly fee is higher than it would be for a single child, everyone involved benefits. For example, nannies who charge $15 per hour for a single child might charge $20 for two children, so they earn more than they would caring for only one child. And because two families are splitting the cost, the parents pay less than they would if they hired a private nanny.
For children, the main advantage of share care is socialization. Snyder explains, “I think my daughter will definitely benefit from spending her days with another adult and another child. My friend who is a full-time stay-at-home mom said that although she loves having so much bonding time with her son, he does not warm to other children or adults very quickly. I am hopeful that my daughter won’t have that kind of anxiety.” Stamm says, “I like that my son has to share his nanny’s attention. He’s an only child right now, but one day he’ll probably have a sibling. Maybe share care will make that transition a little easier.”
What’s the Catch?
Despite all its perks, nanny sharing poses a unique set of challenges, primarily scheduling difficulties. Stamm notes, “The nanny and the families all have to compromise to arrange a schedule that works for everyone. Scheduling vacations is especially tough, because ideally both families would go on vacation at the same time, but that’s not always practical.” Snyder adds that “transporting your child to another home part of each week, making joint purchases (such as a double stroller), and buying extra supplies to keep at your share-care partners’ house” are logistically and financially inconvenient.
Another potential issue is that some people’s parenting philosophies change over time. As children who share a nanny get older, their parents’ opinions on what foods, television programs, and activities are appropriate for their respective kids may diverge. Parents in a long-term share-care partnership should make it a priority to communicate regularly about their expectations for the nanny, the children, and each other.
Sharing Is Caring