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Is nanny sharing a better option

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Before new parents return to work, thoughts have to turn to childcare. While you want the best care possible for your little one, you don’t want the cost of it to break the bank and make going back to work feel like a waste of time. As anyone who has looked into childcare knows, it is expensive and can easily swallow up a huge chunk of your salary.

Nursery costs

Nurseries are a popular option for parents returning to work. Recommendations from friends and family, the social aspect of attending a nursery and the facilities they have to offer are just some of the reasons why parents choose to send their kids there. But price is also a factor. Depending on where you live and work, the cost of a full time nursery place can be as high as £350 per week. This is particularly true of areas like central London.

Nanny costs

But compare that to the cost of employing a full time nanny and it suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. Again at the more expensive end of the scale, a nanny could set you back up to £500 each week. At first glance this seems like an eye watering figure but what if you could still have a top-notch nanny at half the price? Many parents would prefer to have a nanny come to the house than drop the kids at nursery and this is partly why nanny sharing has started to become so popular.

Why employ a nanny?

nanny sharingAs well as having fewer children to look after, nannies offer children the opportunity to stay in their home environment. Parents are assured that someone that knows them well and has the time to respond to their needs immediately, is looking after their children. Flexibility is also an appealing aspect of hiring a nanny. While you may ring up and ask a nanny to come in early or stay late if need be, this kind of flexibility is much more difficult with a nursery that opens and closes at the same times every day.

How does it work?

Sharing a nanny with another family can work two ways. The first option is that the families take a portion of the week each. This works well for those that work part time but would prefer to use a nanny than a nursery. Alternatively, the children of both families are looked after at the same time in either family’s home. To even the costs out fairly and allow children the same amount of time in their own home, it makes sense to spend half the week at one house and half at the other.

How do you arrange it?

Firstly you need to find another family in the same situation. This might be friends, family members or colleagues but if you don’t know anyone that would be interested then websites such as www.nannyshare.co.uk work to match families to each other. Next you need to find a nanny that is happy to work for both families and that both sets of parents like and trust to look after their children. Ask people you know for recommendations and interview potential nannies in person, preferably with your children around. It’s important that the kids as well as adults warm to their carers.

Things to bear in mind

While nanny sharing may be the perfect solution to childcare, there are some things you should consider before making any commitments. As well as the cost of paying the nanny, you’ll have to pay for things like electricity, heating, food and trips out and about. How these costs are split between the two families should be worked out beforehand – a kitty, for example, could be a good idea.

Holidays can be another area of contention. Remember that your nanny will be entitled to at least the statutory number of holidays per year. While nurseries can use agency or pool staff to cover holidays, you’re pretty stuck when a nanny is off. If both sets of parents can’t get the same time off then it might cause difficulties in the arrangement.

If you have your heart set on having a nanny rather than a nursery look after your children then nanny sharing is a great way of making it more affordable. You might even end up saving money on nursery fees.

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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