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Ten Reasons to Share a Nanny

Parents going back to work may wonder how a nanny-share really works. Annie of Seattle Nanny shares her professional perspective on the ins and outs of sharing a nanny with another family.

  1. Your Pocketbook
    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.
  2. 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. 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.
  3. Job Security
    When your child gets sick, 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.
  4. Outsourcing Chores
    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.
  5. Health
    Kids are exposed to a Petri dish of germs. 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.
  6. Flexibility
    Nannies will offer flexibility and usually work longer than a traditional workday, accommodating your specific commute, schedule, and work-related travel.
  7. Control
    No other childcare arrangement provides you with as much influence over the individual that will care for your child as hiring a nanny.  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.
  8. Ratios
    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.
  9. No Waitlists
    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.  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.
  10. Accessibility
    More and more services are catering to families who are interested in a nanny share. 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.

Seattle Nanny is a supporter of PEPS and has a local online resource for families to connect with one another to share a nanny.

About Annie Harrington

Annie of Seattle NannyAnnie has over 7 years of professional childcare experience and has been with Seattle Nanny Network, Inc. since 2011. She is a full-time nanny to three fantastic boys (2 year old twins and big brother, 5). Her background is in Education and Sociology, and she attended graduate school in Dublin, Ireland to study Intercultural Ecumenics. She loves to travel, cook (and eat!) foods of all kinds, is an avid Pinterester, and a regular volunteer at Seattle Children's Hospital.​ You may follow Annie at

1 The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies. “The Child Care Workforce.” January, 2012.

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.

3 Washington State Requirements. “Provider/Child Ratio.” Accessed January 2015.

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