Thinking about employing a nanny?Are you put off either by the cost, or the possible lack of social contact that your child would have?

Nanny sharing - a flexible childcare solution for you

Nanny sharing is an arrangement whereby a nanny is employed by more than one family to care for the children in each family. Flexible nanny shares can work in a number of ways. For example:

The decision about how the time is arranged will partly depend on how many children need looking after. The smaller the number of children both families have, the easier to look after them all at the same time. As the families grow larger it may be more difficult to manage.

Who can I share a nanny with?

It's probably easier to share a nanny with someone you don't know extremely well.

The relationship will benefit from a business-like approach, which can be hard to maintain with a life-long friend. A friend or acquaintance who you know shares the same general values as you and whose views you can respect, would be the right sort of person.

It's very important that you are both flexible and tolerant, and you have to be prepared to trust each other.

How do we work out our needs?

You will need to talk to your nanny share partner and work out:

For example:

How to make plans for a flexible nanny share

First you need to find your family. Together you will need to decide how your nanny's hours will be divided, and where the children will be looked after.

Remember that if you are splitting the week equally, the person who normally has the nanny on a Monday will draw the short straw because there are usually 4 English bank holidays that fall on a Monday. You could resolve this by sharing the bank holidays.

It is not unusual for niggles to arise over the fairness of an arrangement, or perhaps one parent having a 'better' relationship with the nanny than the other. Issues of favouritism can arise, too.

The best way to resolve or diminish these problems is by planning to stay in regular contact and talking openly to one another. A fortnightly lunch or meeting after work will probably nip any potential problems in the bud.

How do we find the right nanny?

A three-way arrangement means that there are more relationship combinations and it is important that everyone gets on:

What are the advantages of a nanny share?

There are several advantages for many families:

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