There are quite a few different ways to do a nanny share, and each family can decide what will work for them.
The first big decision is which family to share the nanny with. Many people share with a family they already know, perhaps a family from antenatal classes or a neighbour. This can be great as you already know you get on. Others meet a new family specifically in order to share. A good family match is one that is local (ideally within walking distance or a short trip), with a roughly similar start date (within a month or so) and roughly similar needs for days and times. Nannies can spend some time looking after children on a ‘sole care basis’ so the start date and days/times don’t need to match up exactly. (Do be aware that ‘sole care’ is a bit more expensive so the family having ‘sole care’ will need to make sure their budget will stretch to it.)
On a day to day basis you probably won’t have much to do with the other family – you’ll just say a quick hello and goodbye – so you don’t need to agonise over the choice, but it does definitely help to have similar attitudes to what’s important in a nanny and the kind of things you’d like your children to do all day.
Another big decision to be made is where the share will be hosted. Some nanny shares are hosted entirely at one of the family’s houses. This especially happens if one of the families has a house which is much bigger or has a garden! Hosting a nanny share has pros and cons – some families love it as it makes drop-off/pickup very easy. Being able to leave the house in the morning with the baby half dressed and still having breakfast is a wonderful benefit. It’s also great having someone in the house to receive deliveries or be there when the plumber comes. Other families – dare we say the particularly tidy, house-proud ones? – like the idea that all the mess of children is contained in someone else’s house.
Because there are pros and cons of hosting a nanny share, many families decide to split the hosting. Some do alternative weeks or months, others keep it fluid and respond to events. Sometimes it makes sense to start the day in one place and end it somewhere else, for example if there’s a baby group near one of the houses. This is the kind of thing that you can discuss with a potential family match when you meet.
Of course the biggest decision of all is who to employ as your nanny. This is where having another family can really help. Lots of parents find it comforting to have two families’ input when choosing a nanny. Talking upfront about what is important to you in a nanny will make sure you are all aligned.