Nanny Shares from a Nanny's Perspective
Our first guest post comes from Kelsey Granger, a nanny who not only loves her job, but loves nanny shares!
During the summer of 2016 I moved to Seattle on a whim and shortly after started my life there as a nanny. I had no idea what a nanny share was when I began my first job. I was totally content watching only 14-month old Sully each day - I’d discovered a renewed love for play-doh and legos! After a couple months Sully's mom presented me with an idea - the opportunity to care for a 6-month old baby girl for a few hours each day along with Sully. Given my love for infants, I jumped at the chance. (The two moms had met at a work conference and just so happened to live within 1.5 miles of each other.) And so began my first nanny share!
There are many benefits that come from sharing a nanny but perhaps the greatest one was the opportunity for little Anya and Sully to interact each day. Anya idolized Sully—they laughed together, cried together, played together and Sully even held Anya’s hand as she took her first steps. Seeing the two interact was truly special! I loved that the nanny share allowed Sully and Anya to learn and practice skills, like sharing, communication, and playing nicely with others that they may not have been as likely to practice otherwise.
One of the first challenges when deciding to nanny share is usually figuring out whether just one family or both families will host the kids. In my situation, Sully was the primary kid I cared for so Anya’s parents would bring her over to Sully’s house for about 5 hours out of the 8 that I was there with Sully. With the families living so close to each other this worked out very well! Anya came over each day with a tote filled with food, formula, diapers, wipes, and extra clothes. Sully (usually) loved sharing his toys with her, one less thing for mom to pack!
Another challenge is the initial adjustment period while figuring out naps, feedings, and trying to coordinate the potential different (and ever changing!) schedules of the kids. I found there to be a lot of trial and error before deciding on a schedule that worked best for the children in my nanny shares. At first I tried doing opposite nap/feeding schedules with Sully and Anya but the one that was awake was usually a little loud and would end up waking the other. I then put them on the same schedule and this worked out much better. Feedings involved a little compromise as I had to prepare food for Sully but also spoon feed Anya. However, once I got a routine down everything ran smoothly.
One of my favorite things to do as a nanny is take the children out for walks. I enjoy getting some exercise in and the kids that are old enough to walk love running around the park and playing on the slides and swings. With multiple kids, a double stroller is ideal but that might not be an option if neither nanny share family has one. What worked well for me was using a body carrier like a Baby Bjorn for one child while the other rode in the stroller. When the kids outgrew the carriers, I just shortened the walks and they switched off between walking (or me holding them) and riding in the stroller.
After nannying for Sully for about 10 months, his family ended up moving away. I began working full-time caring for Anya and at the same time began searching online for another family for a potential nanny share. I didn’t have much success looking online. Ideally you’d like the two families to live close by but with sites like Care.com it’s not easy to tell where exactly a family is located. Luckily Anya’s mom was able to find a second nanny share through their PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support) Group. They lived close by so I walked with Anya over to their house once a week and watched both kids for the day.
My third nanny share came about when Anya’s mom met some neighbors with 16 month old twin girls. The twins’ mom would bring the girls over for a few hours in the middle of the day and the three little ones had a wonderful time playing together. The twins had recently started talking and it was the sweetest thing when they both immediately learned our names and started yelling “Kiki” and “Anya” in excitement each day on their way over to Anya’s house.
Another benefit with nanny shares that ended up helping me tremendously is the increase in pay. Living in Seattle on my own and trying to support my life there along with my other fixed monthly expenses was not easy. With two families contributing to my salary, I was able to make a few extra dollars per hour while the families ended up paying less - a win-win for all!
My three nanny sharing gigs were completely different in terms of logistics but all were such amazing experiences for both the kids and myself. The financial benefits were a lifesaver and it was truly special being able to witness the relationships formed between the little ones. I plan to continue being a nanny to multiple kids and I’m excited to spread the word about it!
- Kelsey Granger