We have done nanny shares for both of our sons, and it is one of the best decisions we ever made for our kids. There is of course the financial benefits of sharing a nanny, but the social ones are the reason that sharing is so great.
Our four year old is now in pre-school, but still considers the boys he did the share with (from 6 months to 3 years old) his best friends. There is a level of comfort between the three of them that I just don't see with any of his other friends. They are like lion cubs when they get together - their fluid play, interaction and familiarity is incredible.
They learned to play WITH each other - not parallel play, but actually with each other - before they were a year old. They learned to share, to fight with words instead of fists, to interact and to love their friends from the get-go. I believe the reason my son is so successful socially at pre-school is because of the nanny share.
The boys are all completely comfortable at each other's houses, and with the other parents. This is a huge plus for playdates, sleepovers and babysitting shares. read: More Date Nights!
A few more tips from a mom in my mom's group regarding how to set up a nanny share:
Contract: Always a good idea. Use it to spell
out responsibilities and work schedule, and the nature of employment.
Vacations: we gave our nanny 2 weeks of paid vacation per calendar year.
Beyond that, whenever either of the families goes on vacation, you just have
to pay the wages as usual, just as with any other day care provider or your
preschool. It's not fair to the other family to make them take the full
brunt of the hourly wage because you are away.
Holidays: we give all the major holidays off with pay, including December
24 and 31st and the day before Thanksgiving.
Sick time: this is optional but we did have an accrued sick time of a few
hours per month after the first three months of employment.
Reviews: we did an employee review three months in, to give her feedback on
good things and areas of improvement.
Location of Share: we alternated weeks between our house and the other family's
house. It has worked out very well because now the kids are comfortable in another house - great for future sleepovers and date nights.
When One Family Wants to Quit: It can happen. You don't have
any control over it. And you
don't want to be wedded yourself if for some reason you decide to change
your child care plans, move, or whatever. So the most appropriate thing is
to just give everybody at least two weeks (preferably 4) notice if you want
to pull out of the arrangement.
getting ill, but also your nanny. (Of course, minor colds are not an issue). Even if you have the nanny all to yourself, if your child is ill, it's not eally fair to expose the illness to the nanny, just as you wouldn't want the nanny coming to work if she was sick.