Nanny Share Explained

What is Nanny Share?

Nanny share is when a carer is looking after two or more children from different families at the same time. With the nanny share arrangement your child is developing in a home environment so you have full control over their daily activities, toys, meals and napping schedule. As a result many conclude that nanny share is a better alternative to a crèche. Splitting childcare costs with another family has made nanny shares increasingly popular among Irish parents.

If your baby is the only child, spending a lot of time with another child will show them what it is like to have a brother or a sister, an experience that many young children really yearn for.

Benefits of nanny share

  • Cost saving- splitting child care cost with another family
  • Closer supervision than at a crèche or at a baby room
  • Parents have tight control over the children’s playing and learning environment and their daily activities
  • Meals can be homemade and served hot; parents choose the menu
  • Sticking to your child’s existing sleeping schedule
  • Getting a ‘brother’ or a ‘sister’

What to consider

Finding a nanny that works for both families will be your biggest challenge.  We all have different ideas of what an ideal child minder should be like so finding one that will satisfy both sets of parents and is happy to work for two families is tricky; hopefully our Search can help.

Location:

  • Would you be happy for your child to spend all day at another person’s house? Are there any parks and playgroups near by?
  • Would you be happy for both children to be at your house all day?
  • If you are taking your baby to another families house, consider how safe their neighborhood is
  • Consider travel time and cost

Activities:

  • Would you be happy to sign up and share the cost of music classes/ gymnastics?

Other factors:

  • Does your child have any allergies?
  • Will they be exposed to pets?

What our members say about nanny share

Kate Kostyunina, working mother of two beautiful children has kindly agreed to share her experience of sharing a nanny:

“After having had my daughter, I had to return back to work when she was ten months old. We initially started at a crèche and to my great surprise she settled down much easier than I had expected. There was no screaming, no tears but she wouldn’t nap for more than 30 minutes and was really overwhelmed with what was happening around her. Soon she started picking up various crèche germs, she recovered quickly. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case for my husband and I. After two different antibiotics prescriptions for my dear husband, I was chatting to a fellow French mama who was in the very same position, word after word we decided to share a nanny.”

The rationale behind this was very simple – we could share the cost, our girls would enjoy each other’s company and little to none exposure to the different viruses, we both would feel that they were in a safe homely environment and it was convenient!

Our initial struggle was finding the right candidate, we eventually found someone we all liked and who was happy to take on the role- a lovely Spanish girl with the University degree in primary school teaching, good English, first aid certificates, exceptionally responsible and a good fun. We did a trial and it all went great. By the time we started sharing a nanny the girls were 12 months old. We bought a second hand double buggy, a foldable high chair and a foldable cot and we were ready to roll.

The arrangement worked as follows: nanny’s working hours were form 7.15 to 5.15 pm (she deemed this long enough so would never do any babysitting); the girls stayed at the other family’s house as it was bigger and on my way to work; nanny spoke Spanish to the girls so my daughter’s first words and sentences were all in Spanish! We agreed to split the cost equally, I was also responsible for providing all the food as we needed the nanny for approximately one extra hour a day.

Then problems started. Our nanny refused to cook, she wouldn’t even boil vegetables for the girls (she was happy to prepare meals during the interview process).  As we didn’t want to feed our kids junk, the other family agreed to cook healthy meals in the evening that nanny would reheat the next day. With time it was evident that my daughter munches non-stop, so I was asked to bring snacks, bananas, avocados, berries, etc.

Things got really difficult when the other family announced they were expecting another baby, so things could theoretically stay as they are for a maximum of 6 months. The other family were now struggling to make lunches, so I was asked to provide food twice a week. I wouldn’t pretend that it didn’t affect the overall mood. Then the expecting mom started working from home once a week, so the girls had to spend a day at our house. It was very stressful for both girls and for the nanny.

My husband and I were trying to figure out what to do next, we were not ready to place our 20 months old girl into a crèche… and then I found out I was also expecting. We talked and talked and decided that we would continue with the existing arrangements until we welcome our new baby boy, however the second family would only use nanny-share part time. That is when everything went downhill because our new arrangement was very shaky and uncertain with too many interdependent factors…

To sum up – I would definitely use nanny share again. All the advantages overweight all the difficulties. My advice to anyone considering sharing a nanny is to have a very detailed arrangement. Find the right nanny who has a lot of relevant experience, preferably someone who has looked after twins. Don’t expect to keep a good friendly relation with the second family. Look at it, as if you are starting a business project together with loads of bumps on your way but with an exciting outcome.”