Nanny share is increasingly popular with London families, and it’s not hard to see why. Childcare costs British parents up a third of their income – a much larger proportion than in other developed countries. In a nanny share, instead of having their own nanny, the children of two local families are looked after by one nanny at the same time. So nanny share keeps childcare costs down, saving parents roughly a third. That allows many more families to hire a top quality, experienced nanny.
But the benefits of nanny share aren’t just about saving money and getting a top class nanny. Growing up alongside another child is also great for emotional and social development. Children learn to share, take turns, and resolve conflict by having another child around, just as they would in a natural family grouping.
To make a nanny share work, you need to think carefully about the family that you’re sharing with. With over 800 families in our nanny share network, we’ve learned a lot about what makes a nanny share match work. Whether you’re arranging your own local nanny share or doing it via Koru Kids, here are some tips that might help you.
1. Walking distance is best, but not the only way. We’ve seen nanny shares that are a few tube stops apart, with both families very happy with this arrangement. However, most of our shares are within a short walking distance. The key constraint is often the double buggy, which can be a pain on the Tube. If the journey involves only one child—for example, a pickup at one house and then the day spent at the other—it’s a lot more doable.
2. Children of all ages can work well together. Just like natural families, nanny shares come in all shapes and sizes and involve children of all different ages. Baby-toddler combinations can be highly successful, with the older child loving to ‘help’ with the new baby and the baby benefitting from an older role model. Same-aged shares also work really well.
3. Be guided by the nanny’s enthusiasm. In a nanny share, the nanny gets paid more per hour, so experienced nannies tend to really like it. For many nannies, it’s a career progression to take on a share. (Perhaps surprisingly, many nannies who’ve done shares before will also say that it’s actually easier taking care of two children than one, as they play with each other!) Of course, not all nannies want to take on more responsibility for more money—just like in any other part of the workforce. If you are interviewing a nanny for a role that you hope will eventually become a nanny share, do be explicit about your plans at the interview. It’s also a good idea to ask the nanny for her ‘nanny share rate’, which is usually about £2 per hour higher than the sole rate.
4. Careful with the taxes. Firstly, always remember to factor them in. Never make a decision based solely on a ‘net’ rate quoted by a nanny, as the ‘total costs’ will be a lot more. At Koru Kids we always use total costs, so you know exactly what you’re getting and there are no nasty surprises. Nanny shares are complicated from a tax perspective, especially if they don’t involve the exact same hours each month or you have a some-shared-some-not perspective, so unless you’re handy with numbers and willing to put the time in, you’ll need some help here. Seek out a payroll provider that really understands nanny share. (If you’re doing a Koru Kids share this is included as part of the service.)
Happy nanny sharing!