How to make a nanny share work

October 25, 2016

Rachel Carrell - Rachel againRachel Carrell of nanny share company Koru Kids gives her tips on how to make a nanny share work for you.

Nanny sharing is an increasingly popular option to keep the cost of childcare under control. Nanny share means that the nanny looks after children from two families at the same time. Done right, it’s a win-win solution: the nanny gets paid more per hour while each parent pays less, and the children get a friend to play with.

Given the recent news that British parents pay up to a third of their income on childcare – much higher than in other developed countries – anything to help with the costs is of course very welcome.

But the benefits of nanny share aren’t just about costs. Children learn to share, take turns, and resolve conflict by having another child around, just as they would in a natural family grouping. Parents often find that they become good friends with their nanny share family. It also means that when the phone rings with the disastrous news that the nanny is sick, there are four people who might possibly be able to take a ‘working from home’ day rather than just two!

As we now have over 500 families in our nanny share network, we’ve learned a lot about how to make a nanny share work. Here are our top tips.

  • Local is best. While shares a couple of tube stops away can work well, most of our shares are within a short walking distance. This is easiest for coordinating between two houses—and manoeuvring a double buggy.
  • The nanny has to be enthusiastic about it. Most nannies love the idea of adding in an extra child in exchange for a higher hourly rate. But not all of them do! Have a frank word. While you’re at it, ask your nanny what her ‘nanny share rate’ would be. It’s usually about £2 per hour higher than her sole rate.
  • After school nanny shares can work well. If you’ve had a nanny for a while and now only need her after school – which means you’re paying for lots of daytime hours you don’t need – another family can employ her during the day with a share after school. You’ll still need to make a contribution during the day, as that’s the price you pay for keeping your options open (otherwise the other family would just get their own nanny). But you will save a bundle, and you’ll keep your nanny involved in your child’s life.
  • Don’t restrict your preferences to same-aged children.  Although first-time sharers often request that the other family have the same aged child as theirs, in fact we’ve seen lots of highly successful shares with different ages, such as a baby and a toddler. Each can learn a lot from being around the other, and a good nanny will have no problem looking after them both at once.
  • Stick with your payroll provider.  Nanny shares can be notoriously complicated from a tax perspective, but your payroll provider has seen it all before and will be invaluable in helping you navigate through it.

At Koru Kids we help match families for nanny share. Families that already have a nanny in place tell us where they live, and we present them with a curated list of options from within our database of families seeking nanny shares.  If you already employ a nanny, the service is completely free to you and there’s no obligation to proceed with any match.