Now offering National Placements

How to Handle Challenges in a Nanny Share: Practical Tips and Solutions

A nanny share can be a rewarding experience for parents who want to provide quality care for their children while also saving on childcare costs. However like with any arrangement that is shared, successfully managing it becomes more complex.

Any situation involving parents and children can potentially bring a lot of emotion. Getting ahead of predictable challenges with proactive problem-solving can go a long way in increasing your chances for a successful nanny share. In this article, we will provide practical advice and solutions for common challenges that may arise in a nanny share, including communication issues, scheduling conflicts, handling disagreements, and preventing burnout.

1. Effective Communication

Open and clear communication is vital for the success of any nanny share arrangement. Given the variety of new tools available with the explosion of tech, there is a dizzying array of options for communication and tracking.

Here are some practical tips:

  • Establish a preferred method of communication: Whether it’s through a shared online platform, email, or a group chat, it’s important to agree on a central communication channel where all parties can easily access and share information. This includes all involved parents and the nanny. Make sure you have this in place before the share commences.
  • Set regular check-in meetings: Schedule regular check-ins with the other family and the nanny to discuss any updates, concerns, or changes in the arrangement. This will help maintain open lines of communication and address any issues before they escalate. If you set this expectation before the share begins, it will be routine.
  • Create a shared calendar: Use a shared calendar to keep track of the nanny’s schedule, any upcoming events, or changes in routines. This will help avoid confusion and ensure everyone is on the same page. Again, all parents and the nanny should be included.
  • Encourage honest feedback: Foster an environment where all parties feel comfortable providing feedback and raising concerns. Constructive feedback can help improve the nanny share arrangement and address any issues before they escalate.

2. Scheduling Conflicts

Scheduling conflicts can be a common challenge in a nanny share, especially if both families have different routines and belief systems. “Make sure you’re on the same page as far as what ‘level of sick’ is okay for you all. Kids get sick. Usually, yucky noses, non-Covid coughs, and teething-related fevers are okay, but if a kid has a stomach bug or illness fever that kid would have to stay away from the nanny and other kid until better,” states Ms. Nanny J. “Make sure your comfort levels with illness and Covid in particular match,” she shares, offering that she has been in a highly successful share arrangement for five years. In addition to clearing with one another the definition of “sick” children, each parent should consider the following:

  • Create a shared schedule: Develop a clear and detailed schedule that outlines each family’s specific hours and days of care. This will help identify potential conflicts and allow for early problem-solving.
  • Flexibility and compromise: Encourage open discussions about scheduling conflicts and explore opportunities for flexibility and compromise. Nanny J adds “Make sure you all understand that compromises will need to be made. There will always be one kiddo who has to wait. That means one kiddo may be upset while the nanny puts the other to nap or changes a diaper. Make sure both families acknowledge that. The babies will have to learn to “wait” and “take turns” at a much earlier age than typical only kids”. Finding mutually beneficial solutions in advance of issues cropping up can help alleviate any tensions and ensure a fair arrangement for all parties.
  • Backup plans: Discuss and establish backup plans in case of unexpected changes or emergencies. Having alternative arrangements in place will help minimize disruptions and ensure the continuity of care.

3. Handling Disagreements

How often do disagreements between two parents in the same family occur? Multiply that by two and you have a nanny share. Communication must be proactive to keep this many people on the same page in an emotionally charged arrangement. When disagreements occasionally arise, it’s essential to address them promptly and find resolutions that work for everyone involved. Here are some tips for handling disagreements:

  • Active listening: When conflicts arise, listen to all parties involved, including the nanny. Understanding different perspectives can help identify the root cause of the disagreement and find a suitable solution.
  • Mediation: If necessary, consider involving a mediator, such as a trusted friend or a professional, to help facilitate discussions and find a compromise that satisfies all parties.
  • Establish clear boundaries and expectations: Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and any specific rules or guidelines to prevent future disagreements. Putting everything in writing can help avoid misunderstandings and provide a reference point if conflicts arise.
  • Review and adjust: Regularly evaluate the nanny share arrangement to ensure it continues to meet the needs and expectations of all parties involved. Sometimes, minor adjustments may be necessary to address ongoing concerns.

4. Preventing Nanny Burnout

“I came from a nanny job I loved with a single-family employer of twins. I started when they were six weeks old and felt prepared for a nanny share but the reality was so different. The parenting styles of one set of parents versus the other set of parents took a toll on me. The babies were also so different because one of them in particular expected so much from me based on what he got from his parents. It left me feeling like the other baby was not getting enough of my attention, and I was definitely neglecting my own needs. When I was so exhausted at the end of the day I couldn’t even eat or take a shower I realized something was wrong” says one Seattle area nanny. “I took time to fly across the country and attend a nanny conference but ended up missing half of it because I was in my hotel room catching up on sleep. I returned from that conference and put in my notice. I will never do a nanny share again but wouldn’t hesitate to take care of multiple babies in one family”.

Classic signs of nanny burnout are fatigue, disruption to sleep patterns, and feeling trapped. Unmanaged work stress can lead to burnout which can cause long-term harm to one’s health and wellbeing. Feeling powerless and unappreciated are major contributors to caregiver burnout. If additional resources are lacking, you can still attempt to cultivate more happiness, hope, and a sense of purpose. Studies show that feeling appreciated greatly improves caregivers’ physical and mental health, enabling them to provide care with joy despite the demands. After all, nannies choose this work because they love it and are good at what they do. But at the end of the day, like the parents they work for, they are human and have limited capacity.

By implementing these tips and practicing a sense of awareness, parents can effectively navigate the challenges that may arise in a nanny share. Remember, open communication, flexibility, showing appreciation, and a willingness to address and resolve conflicts are key to maintaining a successful and harmonious nanny share arrangement.

not sure if a nanny is the right option for you?

Welcome to your Seattle Nanny Account

Once you have completed a phone screening, one of our representatives will provide you with login credentials for you new account.

Log in now to view and complete your application.

Coming soon!