Five ways to make nanny sharing work
Nanny sharing is a great way to reduce the cost of in-home child care while adding some extra socialisation into your children’s day. However it works best when it is approached in the right way. While Placement Solutions keep things ‘clean’ by invoicing each family separately, holding joint client liaison meetings and so on, there are a number of factors nanny-sharing families should bear in mind.
1. Create the ‘family match’ yourself
The most successful ‘partnership’ is most likely when two families come to us ‘ready to go’. To a large extent, this situation means that many of the other pointers below are already covered off. We should emphasise that the families involved do not need to share the same status in terms of eligibility for child care benefits or rebates (CCB/CCR). Where one family qualifies and the other doesn’t, fee adjustments will be made independently at the time of invoicing. However, these ‘multi care’ arrangements (as the Department of Education calls them) in which one or more family is eligible for In-Home Care assistance must be approved by the department.
2. Not too young
Generally Nanny sharing really doesn’t work very well with very young children, and in fact we here at Placement Solutions won’t support sharing with babies under six months old. On the other hand, children from different families don’t necessarily need to be the same age. Mixed age groups work well with kids over 18 months old. With sole children in particular, this can give them a real sibling-like experience. If two or more children are of the same age they must be at least 12 months old.
3. Get the values and rules right
It’s critical that both sets of parents are able to agree on their expectations around discipline, nutrition (sugar is a big one), education (reading, for instance) and screen time limits. There can’t be one set of rules for one family’s children and another set of rules for the other … it won’t work.
4. Be clear on the arrangements
It goes without saying that the families involved in a nanny sharing arrangement need to live relatively close to each other. As much as possible there also needs to be a routine arrangement about which house will be used on which days. Most of the time families tend to alternate the ‘host’ home, either daily or week-about, but it can be whatever works for the families and the nanny.
5. Keep it simple
We have had arrangements in the past involving more than one family (as many as four, but only two at a time), nanny sharing works best for everyone when it is kept simple. Overly complex arrangements don’t allow the nanny to plan her activities properly, and so don’t tend to work as well for the children. And one thing we can’t accommodate under any circumstances is a child being delivered unannounced, and/or the inclusion of a family who are not registered with us.
Think nanny sharing could work for you? Give our office a call and have a chat to one of our staff about your options.