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Similar parenting styles is the single most frequently mentioned key to a successful nanny share. Spend time with the other family to make sure you are compatible. Consider getting feedback about the other family from others (especially staff eg: former nannies, house cleaners, etc.); the other family may be charming but not a respectful, fair employer. From a few interactions you should be able to gauge the following:

Family Chemistry

  • Do you like each other and each other's kids?
  •  Do you feel relaxed around the other family? Do they seem relaxed with your family?
  •  Are your children compatible as playmates?
  • Do you communicate well with the other family?
  • Do you and the parents of the other child get along as a couple?

Parenting Philosophies

  • Are you compatible with parenting styles?
  • Do you see eye to eye on screen time (TV watching and computers) and appropriate programs?
  • What is each familys attitude about treats?
  • What is each familys eating style? (Is on the go okay or would you rather your nanny have sat down meals for your kids? Does all food need to be organic or not? Are desserts never ok, or occasional treats fine?)
  • What are your religious beliefs (and could these beliefs affect your decision to have a nanny share with a family with different beliefs)?
  • What are your beliefs about discipline? Sharing? Are your views compatible?

Day to Day

  • Do you live near each other?
  •  Are your homes set up well for a nanny share? (Bear in mind a top floor walk up for a nanny with 2 babies can be challenging, and youll need to have space for 2 kids to nap, eat, play, etc. There may be creative solutions for space challenges, but they are important to keep in mind.)
  • Are your schedules more or less in sync? (vacations, work hours, etc)
  • How many late meetings might there be that could become an issue? After work events? Travel for work?
  • Do you agree on where the childcare should occur (Home A, Home B, sometimes at each)?
  • What is the environment like where the children will sleep and play? (Comfortable? Spotless?)
  • How often does each family want the kids to be outside? What kind of weather does each family feel is appropriate for outside play?
  • Do you care if they nap at home or on the go or not at all?
  • Do the nap schedules need to sync up? (If they do it gives the nanny a needed break in the day)
  • How important are things like music and dance classes or extra lessons? (If families have different disposable income for such things it could be an issue).
  • Do any of the children have special needs (dietary, emotional, learning, developmental, etc)?

Whether you decide to consider a share with relatives, close friends or neighbors, you must understand and be willing to respect their family values and ideals which will be different from yours. If your gut says the other family is not a good fit, dont do it just to save money. If you want to do this and youre willing to keep trying, there is a family out there compatible with yours. Dont just settle.

Look out for our next blog post, Factors to agree on when you decide to go into a NANNY SHARE relationship!