Saturday, September 22, 2012

How to Choose a Nanny to Share With Another Family

If you want to hire a nanny, but just don’t have the room for doing so in your budget, you may want to consider sharing a nanny with another family. This is a great way to hire a high quality caregiver at a price that fits your childcare budget. So what should you look for when deciding on a nanny? First and foremost you should make sure the nanny you hire is a great caregiver. You should also talk to her about her childcare experience, her discipline philosophy, her ideas about creating a well-rounded day for children, and other important topics, as well as covering things specific to working in a nanny share situation, like those listed below.

Experience working with multiple children close in age. Most nanny shares are with two infants or two or more young children. Caring for children close in age can be challenging for an inexperienced caregiver. Knowing how to effectively juggle feedings, naps, cuddle time, and other things with babies who often need different things at the same time can only come from experience. Look for nannies who have been in a nanny share or worked with multiples before.

Flexibility Nannies in general need to be flexible to be successful. That doubly applies to nannies working in nanny shares because they’re working with two sets of employers. Make sure the candidate is comfortable adjusting her daily routine and environment to accommodate the changing needs of the children. Ask her if she’s willing to care for the kids at a different location if one of them is sick or when one family’s on vacation. Talk to her about working extra hours and taking vacation time during a certain time of year. The more flexible she can be, the fewer snags your nanny share will have.

Communication Skills Working for two sets of employers requires your nanny to have strong communication skills. She needs to be able to track what both children do during the day and give each family an informative run down of what their child’s day was like. She needs to develop a positive working relationship with all the parents and be comfortable asking questions, bringing up things she’s concerned about, talking through problems she’s having, and working towards solutions that work for the whole team.

Professional Boundaries Nanny share relationships can get complicated. The two families are often friends outside of the childcare arrangement and the nanny has a relationship with both sets of parents. All parties involved have to work together as a team, and it’s easy for things to get out of balance. Having a nanny that doesn’t share private information about one family with the other, that doesn’t complain about one family to the other, and that doesn’t create power struggles and drama between the families is essential.

Fair Attitude Towards Each Family’s Parenting Preferences Even when families have similar parenting styles, there will still be times when what they want for their child doesn’t completely line up. One family may allow their child to watch up to 30 minutes of TV a day while the other family would prefer no TV. One family may like their child to get out every day regardless of the weather while the other family may prefer their child to stay in when it’s raining or cold. It’s a nanny’s job to make sure that both families are getting a fair share of their preferences met. When she goes with the preference of one family on issue A, she should try and go with the preferences of the other family on issue B. This ensures that both families feel their ideas are equally valued, that they have real control over their child’s daily environment, and that the nanny share is fair overall.

Talk to a potential nanny during the interview about how she would handle these choices, how her own preferences would influence her choices, and how she would address any problems she was having keeping a fair balance.

Long Term Commitment Most nanny shares generally last for 1 to 3 years. Because it’s hard to get all the pieces in place, it’s really helpful if a nanny is able to commit to staying with the nanny share until the parents are ready to move onto a different childcare arrangement. Of course no nanny can say with absolute certainty that she’ll stay for years, however if the position is working out well a long term plan is helpful to both the parents and the nanny.

Finding the right nanny for your nanny share can be a challenge, but the right person will make the arrangement work well for both families. The time you invest in hiring a great caregiver and a person who has the personality to work well in a nanny share will pay off in the long run.

Taken From Share a Nanny

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