Childcare is the second greatest expense behind a mortgage, with costs that often rival college tuition, so it’s no wonder new parents are anxious to economize. When you share a nanny, you not only split the cost of wages, but save in numerous other ways that may not be immediately obvious. One example is the savings of gas and mileage associated with battling daily rush hour traffic to and from daycare.
Consistency of Care
According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, “the childcare workforce experiences an annual job turnover rate of between 25 and 40 percent,”1 which means a revolving door of childcare providers in facility care. A reputable nanny agency requires applicants to commit to a minimum twelve-month contract, with many nannies staying longer. The stability this offers your children is immeasurable.
When your child gets sick in daycare or school, it often means you have to stay home with them or scramble for last minute childcare. This can put a significant burden on your work life, especially if your child has a chronic condition or is prone to getting sick. A nanny comes to work regardless of your child’s health, and can even take them to doctor’s appointments if you are unable.
In a typical nanny share arrangement, the nanny alternates between the two homes. When the nanny is on duty, she will be doing the things that you yourself would do around the house. This includes laundry, washing dishes, and often general tidying. By outsourcing even a few domestic tasks, you buy back precious time in the evening and weekends when the chores would typically land on your or your partner’s plate.
Daycares and schools are a Petri dish of germs, no matter how high the quality. Reducing exposure to illness during the early months and years means healthier children (as well as healthier parents). With a nanny share, you’re able to decrease the risk of contracting nasty cold and flu viruses, while still enjoying the benefit of socialization with the other family.
Unlike daycare, where there are fines for every minute you are late in picking up your children, your nanny will offer flexibility. Nannies usually work longer than a traditional workday, accommodating your specific commute, schedule, and work-related travel
No other childcare arrangement provides you with as much influence over the individual that will care for your child as hiring a nanny. With daycares and schools, you can select the highest rated in your area, but you don’t have any input regarding who they employ. With a nanny share, you and the other parents have the opportunity to select the skills and qualities that best suit your families, and personally screen their background. As not all reports disclose the same level of information, it is highly recommended to enlist a search firm bound to FLCRA (Fair Labor and Credit Reporting Act) regulations to guarantee the most accurate information. A benefit to working with a nanny placement agency is that they serve as an intermediary in this process, since as a direct employer you are not allowed to discriminate based on negative information found in a background check.
Washington State daycare regulations require one provider per four infants or seven toddlers, and up to ten children of preschool age.2 Family childcare regulations allow for a provider to care for up to twelve infants or children with an assistant.3 A nanny share arrangement between two families with one child each is a ratio that can only be matched by the parents themselves.
A good daycare can require a deposit and up to a year waitlist. This translates to securing your spot before your second trimester of pregnancy (if you wish to take the standard three-month maternity/parental leave). While it can take some time to find the right nanny and family in a share arrangement, once selected, a nanny can begin working immediately, providing a smooth transition as you return to work.
More and more services are catering to families who are interested in a nanny share, with agencies such as Seattle Nanny Network providing a Nanny Share Portal for families to meet. If you have found the right family but are still looking for a nanny, a placement agency would be able to provide you with viable candidates, assist in writing contracts, and refer a payroll service.
For more information, or to join the free online community of families seeking to connect with one another to share a nanny, please visit http://nannyshare.seattlenanny.com/
1 The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies. “The Child Care Workforce.” January, 2012. http://www.naccrra.org/sites/default/files/default_site_pages/2012/ccgb_cc_workforce_jan2012.pdf
2 Washington State Legislature. “WAC 170-295-2090: What are the required staff to child ratios and maximum group sizes for my center?” Accessed January, 2015. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=170-295-2090
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