Perhaps the perfect nanny has years of experience, a degree in early childhood education and, disappointingly, is asking for a salary you can’t afford to pay. You may be surprised at what some candidates may accept; even if you can’t offer cash directly, there are other ways you can make sure the perfect nanny accepts your offer.
If you can’t afford to pay a candidate the salary that is commensurate with his or her experience, you can offer incentives to sweeten the deal. These bonuses might prevent the nanny from accepting a job offer from another family. Perks might include providing a membership to your gym, allowing the nanny to use the family car, providing extra time off or anything else that you think might encourage the candidate to take the job offer. Perhaps it is inexpensive to add a cell phone line to your family plan. If that’s the case, you can buy an affordable phone and give the nanny the extra line. If you happen to have excess extra mileage points, you can get the nanny a flight home or fly her out to a vacation destination.
If you can’t afford a nanny on your own, you might consider splitting the cost with another family. Perhaps you have a friend who is also looking for a caregiver. If the nanny can watch your children at the same time, you can both pay her less than what you’d pay alone, and the nanny will still make more money.
For example, if the nanny is asking for an hourly rate of $20 for one child, you can offer her $25 to care for another person’s child along with yours. Doing this could save you $60 for each 8-hour day. This situation is a win-win because the nanny gets a larger salary and you pay less out of pocket, but it only works if the nanny is willing to care for additional children or be involved with more than one family.
There are advantages and disadvantages to a share care situation.
Advantages of share care
- You’ll save some money when you go into a share care with another family.
- Even though you’re paying less, you’ll still get all the benefits of having a nanny watch your child.
- Your children get to spend their days in a familiar environment and not at a large daycare center.
- Your child can play and socialize with another child.
- Sharecare can be one of the most rewarding experiences that your child will ever have.
Disadvantages of share care
- You have to get along with the family with whom you’re considering sharing a nanny.
- A share care situation comes with compromises and discussions, and this can be tiring or frustrating.
- It may be difficult to come to a decision about where the nanny will watch the children. For some people, having the child watched outside of the home may not fit in with the family’s schedule.
- If one of the children requires more attention than the others, it may be difficult for the nanny to provide adequate and equal care for all of the children involved.
- Your parenting philosophies might be different than those of the other family. For example, you might not want your kids watching television but the other family’s children are allowed screen time. The other family might not focus on nutrition and you only want your children to eat healthy foods.
How to make share care work
These disadvantages shouldn’t dissuade you from considering share care. There are several ways you can make share care work. You can avoid share care headaches by going into it with a family that you know you get along with very well. You can have a written agreement with the other family detailing important issues, such as who pays the nanny and when, how much the nanny gets paid, time off, paid vacations or holidays, house rules, the babysitting location and anything else that could pose a problem in the future.