We have a disproportionate number of French families within the Koru Kids network
There’s no mystery about why: nanny share is well-established in France, especially in Paris. So French people are very used to the idea of a nanny share—a ‘garde partagée’—and instinctively try to arrange one when they have a baby in London.
Why do the French love nanny share so much?
Partly, it’s because French women tend to go back to work far sooner than their British counterparts. While British mums often take a year off for each child, French mums generally go back after just three months. French women take this expectation with them when they cross the channel, and tend to go back earlier in London as well.
Much like British parents, many French parents balk at the idea of putting a tiny baby into an institutional environment. Others don’t mind the idea of nursery, especially as French nurseries are heavily subsidised—but there’s also a shortage of nursery places in Paris.
Factor in the extremely high cost of a nanny in both Paris and London, and you can see why nanny share becomes such an attractive option for the professional maman.
What can we learn from our French counterparts?
We’ve noticed a few differences in the conversations we have with our French parents about nanny share.
- The most striking thing is that our French families are very relaxed about the whole endeavour. They’ve sometimes done a share before, and know how they work. Or they’ve seen friends sharing nannies in all sorts of situations. Whereas a British parent might not have come across the concept before, the French families we talk to know all about it.
- As a consequence, our French families tend to be open-minded about what the other family might look like. They rarely have ‘dealbreakers’ in terms of what kind of family they will match with. For example, they’re generally open to the idea of their baby spending time with a toddler, or vice versa, seeing these as natural family groupings. They’re usually more focused on the practicalities of the share, such as making sure that it will work with their commute, and making sure that the nanny will be happy with the hours.
- Perhaps most surprisingly, about half of our French families don’t mind whether the share is in English or French. French families tend to be confident their bébé will learn good French in any case, and often really value an English-language share as they feel it makes their child’s later transition into English education smoother.
Vive la garde partagée!