Nanny or Nanny Share: Which is best for you?

Choosing a sitter

So the daycare center in your neighborhood has a waitlist a mile long, and the personal attention a nanny can provide is very appealing. In addition to a nanny, there’s a similar childcare arrangement that many parents opt for: a nanny share. A nanny share is exactly what it sounds like: You and another family “share” a nanny who watches both your children. Both have advantages for you to consider as you determine the kind of child care that’s best for your family:

Advantages of Nanny Shares

Socialization. The most successful nanny shares usually involve two children who are close in age, because they each have a built-in play buddy. Snow days? Canceled play dates? No problem — your kid always has someone to hang out with.

Cost. It’s fair to pay a nanny who watches two children slightly more than a nanny who watches just one. But when you split that cost with another family you’ll still be coming out ahead.

Change of scenery. Many nanny shares alternate houses, which offers children a different environment to explore (not to mention a whole new set of toys to play with!).

Parenting partners. Is your nanny out sick or going on vacation? You have another set of parents that you can work with to determine your options. If you both decide to go with a substitute caregiver, your child will still be spending the day with a familiar friend.

Advantages of Nannies

Undivided attention. A nanny is 100-percent focused on your child. Many parents prefer this kind of care, particularly for infants or children with special needs.

Care for larger families. If you have more than one child, it may make sense to have a caregiver who can dedicate herself exclusively to your family. And depending on where you live, the cost of one nanny may still be cheaper than sending two or more children to daycare.

Convenience. There are no drop-offs or pickups to worry about — your nanny arrives at your house every day, and your children can sleep in and remain in the comfort of their own home.

Sick days. A nanny can care for a sick child so you don’t have to miss work, which may not be possible in a nanny share.  And iff you have an older child who is home sick from school, your nanny can watch him or her as well. (Discuss this with your nanny in advance to make sure she’s OK with watching sick children.)