With camps being canceled and day camps staying closed, many families will be considering a nanny share as an affordable way to get child care coverage this summer. This might not be a new concept for you, but we’ve connected with our partner GTM Payroll Services to get you started on the details of getting one set up for your family.

Find the Right Family/Families To Partner With

The first step in setting up a successful nanny share is finding the right family for the partnership. A nanny share isn’t the best option for everyone and not all families will work well together. Here are a few things to consider when getting started.

Approach to Parenting

It’s unrealistic to find a family that exactly matches your parenting style, but you’ll want enough commonalities so the nanny can be consistent in how they care for all your children. Topics to cover could include discipline, activities, diet, vaccinations, and nap schedules.

Your Kids Pair Well

Besides the nanny, your kids will be spending lots of time together. If they’ve never met before, spend some time to see how they interact together and to make sure they feel comfortable around each other. The nanny will be a new person to introduce, so knowing the other kids around will provide some familiarity to a new situation.

Your Kids’ Ages Blend Well

When kids are of a similar age or developmental stage, it’s a lot simpler for your nanny to schedule activities that they’ll all love in addition to the logistics of planning meals and coordinating nap schedules. If this is your kid’s primary source of socialization, progressing together through developmental stages could be an ideal scenario for everyone.

You All Get Along

There will be a lot of interaction between the families involved in a nanny share. Especially in the beginning when you’re coordinating details. Make sure that both you and your partner get along with the other parents and that the other parents.

Find the Right Number of Families

Typically, a nanny share is just between two families. While that’s already complex enough, sometimes a nanny share can include more families. Make sure you understand what your threshold is for the number of families involved in your nanny share.

Discuss the Details Together

Location

All care could take place at one family’s house, or it could be split between both. If both homes are being used, discuss a system to help everyone to know where care is happening and when. The last thing you want is for wires to get crossed and neither home is available for care.

Talk about the types of activities that are available with each location possibility. This could include enough room in the house for all of the kids or nearby parks and libraries.

Additionally, for each sitting the visiting kid(s) will need transportation to the home in which care is taking place. This could be solved by including this task as a part of the nanny’s duties, but know that this will be a task that they’re on the clock for.

Schedules

When does everyone need kid coverage? How do those times overlap? It’s possible that one family might need child care more often than another family. That’s ok—as long as everyone agrees on what the solution is. It could be that the family who doesn’t need as much coverage uses the extra time anyway. The other option is that the family who needs more coverage simply pays the nanny the full rate when they’re only caring for that family’s kids.

Pay

In a nanny share, both families are considered employers by the IRS. That means both families must pay the nanny legally and pay the related taxes. However, it also means that they can take advantage of the Child and Dependent Care Credit and/or their employer’s Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to offset the cost of their nanny’s wages.

Typically, each family pays two-thirds of a nanny’s hourly rate based on what you would pay on your own. For example, a nanny’s rate is $20/hour for 1 child, with an extra $1/hour per additional child. Family A has 1 kid and Family B has 3 kids—that’s a total of 4 kids in the nanny share. Family A would pay $13.25/hour and Family B would pay $14.50/hour for the nanny share.

Each nanny might have their own unique guide for how much they charge for a nanny share. Only use the above example as a guide to estimate what your nanny share could cost. Just make sure you are paying at least minimum wage, which is the highest of the federal, state, or local rate. You are also required to pay your nanny time and a half for hours worked over 40 in a week.

Benefits

Will you offer health insurance or a retirement plan? How much time off will the nanny receive? Will you put restrictions on their time off? For example, will you require them to use some of their PTO when you go on vacation? How many sick days will they receive? Some states specify a minimum number of sick days for domestic employees.

If workers’ compensation insurance is required by state law, then both families must purchase a policy. Workers’ comp will help cover part of your nanny’s medical bills and lost wages if they get hurt or sick while on the job.

For more details on how to manage nanny taxes, benefits, and payroll, our partner GTM Payroll Services offers free, no-obligation consultations for families entering a nanny share. You can speak with a household employment expert and get answers to all your nanny share questions.

Backup Plans

Life isn’t perfect and there are always surprises that come up to disrupt our best-laid plans. Talk through all the scenarios of how your regular schedule could get thrown out of whack:

  • A parent’s work schedule changes and they can’t relieve the nanny.
  • The nanny is sick and can’t watch the kids.
  • A kid is sick and shouldn’t be around anyone else.
  • A car needs repairs and can’t transport people from place to place.
  • The regular location of the job isn’t available for the day.

Behavior and Discipline Guidelines

Each family is unique in how they approach their parenting styles—especially when it comes to behavioral issues and discipline. This might be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but it’s a very important one. Take some time as the parents to cover what the nanny needs to know about this topic.

  • Are there any common behavioral issues with any of the kids? If so, how are they currently being addressed?
  • What options for discipline/punishment can the nanny utilize and in what situations?

Find the Right Nanny

Once you’ve found the right family to partner with and have gotten on the same page about all of the details, it’s now time to start looking for the most important part of the equation: the nanny. Finding a nanny doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Thanks to the magic of technology and the hard-working team at Sittercity, you don’t have to pin a flyer to your local coffee shop community board and hope for a call. You can post a nanny job with your exact details for qualified nannies in your area actively looking for work to see and apply to. So what exactly are you looking for in a nanny share nanny?

Experience

A nanny share is slightly more complicated than any regular nanny job. Instead of having just one employer for the same work, they have two. And they have to juggle the wants and needs of both sets of parents and all of the kids at the same time.

Finding a nanny with experience doing a nanny share would definitely help make the process smoother. However, how do nannies get experience with nanny shares if they aren’t ever hired for the job? Discuss among the parents whether this qualification matters or not.

Communication Skills

As stated, nanny shares have a lot of moving parts. Multiple sets of parents and multiple kids with potentially multiple sets of siblings. The nanny needs the communication skills to properly manage a complex schedule and making sure that each kid and each parent feels comfortable with the day-to-day goings-on. Even if you see yourself as an easy-going, no-fuss parent, managing that many personalities and needs requires solid communication.

Aligned Interests

If there are particular types of activities your group of kids will want to be engaged in, finding a nanny who is excited about that makes things easier on everyone. Talk with your kids about the things they like and don’t like to do—especially if a new nanny is in the picture. Getting the kids involved in imagining what their time with the nanny will be like will help with your nanny search and make the transition of getting to know each other that much easier.

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