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What is a Nanny Share? (Worth It?)

What is a nanny share?

You may have seen nannyshare posts trending online. But how do nanny shares work, exactly?

On the surface, a nanny share might seem self-explanatory. Yet, once you start thinking about the logistics, it might lead you to wonder, just how do nanny shares work?

Nanny Share what is it?What is a nanny share?

It sounds simple, right? Until you start taking into consideration things like schedules, personalities, specific needs, and even legal considerations. That’s when things get complicated, depending on where you live, your family, your needs, and the list goes on.

Just ask your smartphone, “What is nanny share law in (name your state)” and read all about it. Surprisingly, they are not legal in most states!

How do nanny shares work?

Just like it sounds, a nanny share describes when two families, not more, share one nanny, for all of their childcare needs. In some states, if the nanny brings her own child or children, they count as one family. In a nanny share, the nanny makes more money, up to 33% more, but is paid by two families.

The idea is less expensive for each family, but is it really worth it?

Is it difficult to share a nanny?

Naturally, it’s complicated, like families and kids. Your situation and family are huge variables in a nanny share arrangement. Not to mention the candidate you choose to nanny for you.

If you share Nanny with your sibling or best friend, it might work great. Figure out how to nanny share between co-workers, and this could be a good arrangement too.

If you don’t live very close to the other family or share schedules, this can be difficult. Nannies sometimes find the dynamics of two families’ kids twice as challenging. 

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Shared Nanny?

ProsLittle girl with daisy

It’s personal

Families who share a nanny get close. They make lifelong friendships with each other and their nanny. Compared to daycare, a nanny share is a more personal experience for everyone. The same can be said for hosting an Au Pair, only with international options.


It’s mobile

Though more expensive than typical day care programs, nanny shares can get your kids out, actively exploring their community. A nanny will typically drive the children to and from school and activities, saving the mom taxi from some hours of service.

It takes a village

Small families like the nanny share concept, especially if they don’t live near family. Each state has its own rules about how many children a nanny can care for, often age-dependent, but many families enjoy the low child to adult ratio.  Be sure to check the law in your state.


CostNanny and kid picnic

On the surface, a nanny share sounds cost effective. Start comparing actual costs and you might be surprised. Using national averages, a leading child care online resource suggests $376.67 weekly is a growing figure.

While this figure is just above the average weekly cost of hosting an Au Pair, the benefits do not compare. Go Au Pair also offers many discount options to bring that figure down even more.


How flexible is your work schedule? Does your partner or spouse work? Mix your schedules with those of the other family and your nanny might not be so flexible. Will it be fair to both families?

An Au Pair works a flexible schedule depending on the Host Family needs. This can change, too. Most nanny shares will demand a more fixed schedule that might not work for both families all year long.


At first, sharing a nanny sounds convenient. You might think, we don’t need full time childcare. Maybe we could share our nanny and save money too.

But then your kids are sick but the other family’s kids are not. Where does nanny go? Which parent has to miss work?

What about vacations? Will you have to coordinate vacations with the other family? Nanny share might not be so convenient after all.

CultureStory time

At its heart, the Au Pair Program is a cultural exchange program. Au Pairs have a desire to learn about the American culture and share their own unique culture with your family. A nanny may have a cultural background to share, but an Au Pair can bring the entire world to your children.

Choose cultures and languages from around the world or choose candidates from one country (or language) or your choice. American families love raising global citizens who appreciate each other for their differences. Hosting an Au Pair is one perfect way to achieve this goal!

ConsistencyEating an apple

Your Au Pair lives with you for a year, up to 2 full years. He or she is there for the good days and the bad, sick days and celebrations.

The cost stays the same too. No matter if you need 32 or 45 hours of care, the price is constant. Families can count on that kind of consistency.

Peace of mind

Host Parents get peace of mind knowing their child is cared for, at home, with one well-trained and skilled Au Pair backed by the power and regulations of a federal program. Host Parents set the house rules, so don’t worry about where the kids are or what they are doing today. Finally, Au Pairs are sponsored and supervised by an agency, agree to a contract, and are ultimately chosen by the Host Family and agree to accept the position.

Now that you know more about a nanny share and how it compares to daycare and an Au Pair, where does your family fit?

Joan Lowell


Joan is a mother of six and is a writer and Local Area Representative in Providence, RI for Go Au Pair. She earned her BS in Elementary & Special Education from RI College and her MEd from Providence College. She helps lead other LARs in writing content and growing their clusters.

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Go Au Pair is one of the best Au Pair agencies in the United States, providing quality child care for over 30 years. Beginning as a nanny company in 1984, we soon expanded to include Au Pairs. We were one of the original Au Pair Program sponsors designated by the department of State in 1989.

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