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Acceptable responsibility for a nanny?

(45 Posts)
StiffyByng Sat 01-Dec-12 21:10:50

I'd be grateful for nanny opinions on whether this would be a reasonable set up. A friend and I currently have 18 month olds, at nursery. We are both pregnant and due a month apart, and live on the same street. Neither of us can afford two sets of nursery fees so are considering a nanny share. Would it be OK to ask a nanny to look after two one year olds and two three year olds? We'd hopefully have the three year olds in pre-school for half the day.

Bagofspiders Sat 01-Dec-12 21:19:01

Personally I wouldn't be willing to do this unless I were being offered A LOT of money! I expect it's just about doable but you'd want someone very experienced. I suppose you have to think it all through, would the preschool be walking distance? If not would there be a big enough car for the nanny to use? Would you be happy with the level of attention your DC's would get in that situation?

forevergreek Sat 01-Dec-12 21:25:42

Yes that's fine. It's would be a higher amount per hour probably. Most nannyshares are around £12 net/£15 gross, so you are looking at probably £14 net/ £17/18gross per hour. This is based on London ad surrounding areas, so if you are north then maybe take off 20 %

I have done many jobs with his amount and ages of children ( twins and triplets all under 3 1/2 etc, but for one family which is a lot easier to work with. A nanny share has 4 parents usually instead of 2, 2 houses, different parenting styles etc to work with

StiffyByng Sat 01-Dec-12 23:06:03

Two different answers to give me food for thought. We're in London so paying full whack but nurseries are so expensive it makes it look less bad.

The nanny would only be based at one house. The preschool isn't far away but there would be a seven seater car for the nanny's use. The ratio wouldn't be that out of whack from nursery so I think that wouldn't worry us. The three year olds-to-be are virtually growing up together so hopefully by then will be great friends happy to play together lots. But we really wouldn't want to overload a nanny or ask the impossible and find no one. We're prepared to do a LOT of discussion beforehand between the parents to minimise any differences we have in approach.

Welovecouscous Sat 01-Dec-12 23:13:47

I would do this but only with a very experienced nanny, as pp said.

StiffyByng Sat 01-Dec-12 23:24:40

What's the best way to find an experienced nanny? Loads advertise on our local forum, most seem to have some experience. What sort of background, length of working etc. would you consider to fit the bill?

nbee84 Sat 01-Dec-12 23:37:44

Look for someone that has experience of multiples and/or experience with at least 3 under 5's at one time. Be wary of a nanny that doesn't have that kind of experience but says she'll be fine with that many - it's easy to under estimate the work of 4 children of those ages.

Someone that has worked in a nursery would be used to several children at a time BUT unless they have nannying experience following on from that I'd say they are not the best bet. Working in a nursery means you always have other staff members around for back up and are used to having at least one or two breaks each day - something that may well not happen in this job.

An older nanny (over 25) will be much cheaper to insure on your 7 seater car.

NannyGR Sat 01-Dec-12 23:45:52

Hi I'm 21 and would love a job like this you would never get bored :-) obviously with the right pay I think you could find the perfect nanny, maybe advertise just for childcare rather than nursery duties because I can't see a nanny being able to do much laundry/cleaning with 4 kids about! I used to be in a share with 4 kids, one 4 two 2 and one 1 and absolutely loved it! Have a look on childcare.co.uk for local nannies in your area! Hope you find someone :-) x

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 02-Dec-12 05:24:34

I think you'd have to offer a very generous wage.

I'm a nanny in London and I look after 4 and whenever I tell other nannies, they tell me I'm a mug and I should look for a job with 2! I know nannies that have left long term jobs when they've had a 3rd or 4th baby because they just won't look after that many.

I wouldn't take a job with 3 year old twin and 1 year old twins (and this would be harder). Not a chance.

I don't think you can compare it to nursery because at nursery you have the support of other staff, you usually have staff in to cook etc so you're not doing that, you're in a purpose built environment not a family home with all the hazards/risks, you're not usually venturing out because you have everything in house. Taking them to the enclosed nursery garden for example is massively different from taking them to a public park with a gate they can get out of, strangers around, a pond, a road, dogs.....4 kids all running in different directions....it's making me anxious thinking about it!

minderjinx Sun 02-Dec-12 07:25:48

I am a childminder and have looked after four babies and toddlers at a time. But the difference I think is that I haven't started out with all of them at once - I have had the older ones from babies and got to know them thoroughly, and then had younger siblings join the mix. I would be quite nervous of starting in at the deep end with four children I didn't know well, and suspect that would be much harder as they would not be used to me or have an established routine. Could you perhaps take on a nanny now and give her the opportunity to get used to you and the older children, or are you counting on being free from childcare costs during maternity leave?

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 02-Dec-12 09:01:41

As with all jobs some nannies would jump at this - others would run a mile smile

4 children wouldn't bother me - been there done that but it's like looking after 2 sets of twins baby and 3yrs - but harder as in each family the baby will prob get attention asap but in the share the nanny will suddenly have two babies that aren't used to waiting

Unlike proper twins iyswim - the baby twins I have at the moment have to share time and if one wants feeding sometimes the other has to cry but even at this young age they are starting to understand this.

As with all shares - you have to make sure that both parents are the same with disapline and if allowed to watch tv/ eat certain foods / go to places / as well as holidays can be spilt so one family may go away but nanny still has other one so doesn't get a week off/ 4 parents to please instead of 2/ what happens if share stops - will a family be replaced - will other family be able to afford nanny (not in this case)

Personally I avoid nanny shares for the above reasons but other nannies love them

StiffyByng Sun 02-Dec-12 10:05:51

This is incredibly helpful, thank you.

We're both looking to leave our older children in nursery as long as we can because they both love it. They are very social little things. I'll be using savings to pay for it during unpaid maternity leave. But we will think about starting with a nanny earlier if it might be helpful all round.

I don't think any household stuff was even envisaged! Other than food, which of course has to be done.

I can completely see what the potential problems would be. That's why I wanted to come and ask! Although you have definitely raised new ones to add to the mix.

forevergreek Sun 02-Dec-12 10:07:24

I would try advertising on somewhere like nannyjob. If I was looking for work it would be something I would conSider, providing the parents had considered the logistics etc and like someone else mentioned I wouldn't expect many is any other nursery duties.

I have a job a little like this, and I do all the nursery duties as well, and I manage to get it all done - I like to think I'm just uber organised (once I get home its another story!). I get a few people who seem a bit surprised by how many kids I 'have' but otherwise its fine. It definitely can be done and I think that with a bit of effort I'm sure you'll be able to find someone who suits. I would say check references thoroughly, ask specific questions about organisational skills but also how the nanny interacts with the children - I'm assuming you'd rather the nanny devoted the majority of her time to caring for your children rather than ensuring your house was like a showhome.

I'd also recommend organising the logistics of the share, such as location, food arrangements, kitty etc, between yourselves before meeting potential nannies but be prepared to take their input. I've had a couple of share interviews where it was clear the parents had only thought about how to make the share work for them (insisting I'd need to be traipsing back and forth between houses each day to do both sets of children's washing) rather than thinking about how this would impact their child's, and my, day.

Best of luck!

StiffyByng Sun 02-Dec-12 10:47:41

Thanks!

We live four doors apart and given that mr house has two other children and four cars in it, and the other, well, doesn't, we've already decided the kids should be based at that house all the time, which should make things straightforward. Obviously we need to decide on a food and extra bills kitty. But we will be drawing up a contract between the parents on how stuff will work and would obviously want the nanny's input rather than just imposing anything potentially unworkable.

StiffyByng Sun 02-Dec-12 10:48:00

Cats. We don't run a garage. wink

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 02-Dec-12 11:20:22

Two other children?

Assume much older and therefore not being cared for?

Which in itself could lead to other problems if teenagers (stroppy) or are you talking about children in 20's and at work and never seen

And yes nursery duties are a big one. Obv the house that share is in will hopefully have the children's washing done etc but with 2 families it is harder
As share is always at your house are you paying less for wear and tear / food / electricity bills etc or is it a 50/50 spilt share - are you happy with that?

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 02-Dec-12 11:22:11

And the cars cats would rule me out as allergic - unless share was in the other house

Then again most nannies aren't allergic to furry pussys smile

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sun 02-Dec-12 12:08:19

Our former nanny would have jumped at this job. She was actually actively seeking this sort of arrangement before she found her current placements, but then again she is very experienced and looking to maximise cash.

OUr arrangement was five children in a share (not full-time mind). She was assisted by an au pair but the reason for this was that the older children were not in the same school/nursery and also my DD1 had activities she needed to be taken to. I think she could have done it by herself (just) had they been at the same school and with no outside activities that they didn't all go to. You will need to be prepared to make some compromises and I would say that the arrangement will have a relatively limited shelf-life but might get you through that incredibly expensive in childcare terms pre school period where you often need a nanny to keep the show on the road.

These are the things I think you need to consider.

1) be very very organised - meal plan for her, make sure all the stuff is in the fridget that she needs. If you can freeze stuff at the weekend as well, but don't expect anything to elaborate. You CANNOT go all annabelle karmel on her in this situation. Have everything she needs (nappies) out and organised well so that she isn't struggling to find stuff.

2) Do't expect too much in the way of cleaning. Realistically I don't think she can do laundry.

3) Good idea to keep the older ones in nursery together for a good period of time they are together. Is your preschool term time only?

Things that will get harder later on is if they are in different schools, with different after school activities (if they have playdates later, the other parent/carer will probs need to transport from school), and homework regimes. At this point I think you will need to go it alone.

Our children enjoyed the arrangement immensely. As they got older, they entertained themselves well too. But as I said, it was not a full time arrangement, so you may get fewer years out of it as it might be that much more exhausting.

But honestly, I think it's doable as long as you accept there will need to be compromises on your part. If you or the other family are manic about adhering to a special schedule/meals or have different views on parenting/activities then I think it will make your life v hard but not save that much money.

I am assuming you don't have space for a live-in?

iluvkids Sun 02-Dec-12 12:24:50

id love a job like this & have often had roles with 4 or 5 young children in the past

StiffyByng Sun 02-Dec-12 12:33:42

Blonde, the share would be at the house that DOESN'T have the other children and cats. And yes, the kitty would make sure additional bills for our friends, including food, were split. To be honest, we were looking at this very much childcare only so any additional stuff would just be a bonus. We do our own washing at the moment after all. I think (hope) we will be fairly low demand parents. No room for a live in or we'd have an au pair like a shot. As it is, we have an after school carer for our eldest as she has severe disabilities so the house is stuffed to bursting.

We were thinking of it three days a week until the older two started school. So possibly not for much longer than a year. Of course if everyone was loving it, that could change. We have no idea at the moment if the older two will go to the same school. Catchments round here are insane and we may both get sent to schools quite a way away. I am thinking of a third child and my friend isn't, so loads of variables. I will also need full time childcare as I'm hoping to be retraining on a full time course so will be looking for alternative childcare on the other two days-I'm thinking childminder.

nannynick Sun 02-Dec-12 12:35:48

LadyHarrietdeSpook is right to mention about looking more long term. Whilst it may work now, will it work in a years time, in two years time, in five years time? You don't want to start something that will only work for 6 months, a year... then breakdown and leave you having to find another solution. So thinking about potential issues which may crop up over time will help both families to decide if sharing a nanny will work.

As a nanny I've worked for a family with 4 children and still did laundry, though the washing mountain never really went down that much, I was just making a dent in it. So you may find that some domestic tasks other than food prep can be done but it may not be a high priority. What they are able to do though is bound to help a bit. If you have older children in the house - they could do some things to help out perhaps.

How old are these two other children? Should they not be factored in, even if they are teenage?

nannynick Sun 02-Dec-12 12:36:58

x-posted there, I see the other children are now not going to be in the house at which the share takes place.

StiffyByng Sun 02-Dec-12 12:40:00

And thanks, LadyHarriet. The only big difference in our parenting so far is that I BLWed and my friend was too nervous. We've already said that this needs ironing out but then again, the babies will be one or so by then and by that stage the two existing kids were pretty much doing the same thing.

We are fairly relaxed about what they do. A playgroup type thing sometimes for the younger ones while the others are at preschool would be good. We live less than 5 minutes from a fantastic museum and gardens so that would be a (relatively) easy trip out. Otherwise we are not particularly fussed about extra stuff and that could happen at weekends anyway. At present my own family juggles our disabled child, another older child, a toddler and two working parents, so things other than essentials are fitted in with great difficulty already!

nannynick Sun 02-Dec-12 12:40:12

If you are looking for full time care and your friend is not, and if the share is at your friends house rather than your house, then I don't see the benefit of a nanny for you. Would it not be better for you to have a childminder for all 5 days?
Or have I missed some benefit that having a nanny brings to your family?

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