To consider when sharing a nanny
Mother of two and a professional nanny with eight years experience, Louise Kirk offers her take on issues affecting both parties with carefully considered points from both positions. Here she advises how to ensure your nannyshare runs smoothly.
Working part time can provide parents with the chance to keep their place on the career ladder whilst still enjoying family life, but it can be hard to juggle the childcare issues that arise from needing a part-time nanny. Split week is the term used when a nanny works some days for one family and the rest of the week for another family. This is becoming increasingly popular with families and nannies.
The advantages are obvious; nannies get variation within their working week as they may work with different aged children or even in a different area. This often means that the nanny is refreshed when she arrives at each home; nothing keeps you on your toes more than a little variation! Mothers get to spend some quality time with their children and keep up to date with their current classes, teachers and favourite activities. The change between handling clients one day and play-doh the next is challenging but can provide the best of both worlds.
However there are some points that will make both you and your nanny's week run as smoothly as possible:
- Be realistic about the amount of time that you need to spend in the office and employ a nanny to cover the maximum hours needed.
- It can be hard for nannies to fit two jobs together so try to keep your work days in a block.
- Try to be flexible about issues such as holiday. The most common solution is for each family to choose one week and for the nanny to choose two weeks.
- Give as much notice as possible over any changes and remember that it is worth extending courtesy to the other family. One day you may need their flexibility.
One of the disadvantages of split weeks can be when one family no longer needs their nanny. As with everything involving three or more parties, removing one component can upset the others. Nannies sometimes find it difficult to find a job when their other employer has already established their days in the office. The best way around this is to keep communications open between both families and the nanny.
Be understanding of the awkward position your nanny may be in. Remember it is unlikely she can afford to survive on the wage from one family alone. Extend her as much flexibility as possible during her interviewing process and possibly consider increasing her wage with extra days or babysitting during any interim.
By Louise Kirk , a mother of two and a professional nanny with over 8 years experience.