Separated or Divorced Parents Sharing a Nanny

November 2, 2011

We regularly get families register where the parents are separated or divorced, and they want to use to find one nanny for their children, shared between the two parents. In a lot of ways, this is a great idea. The children have the consistency of one caregiver at both homes, and it's easier for the couple to find one to share, as it’s difficult to find a caregiver for alternating weeks, or however the family splits the time with the children.

We have some advice for parents in this situation. Keep these points in mind to ensure that the situation works for everyone involved.

  • Discuss things that pertain to the nanny's employment in advance with each other, such as how you'll be paying the nanny, hours required, and how holidays are handled. Keep in mind that the nanny is essentially working for two employers, so it is very important that the schedule works together, and is clear to the nanny in the beginning. This will help to avoid conflicts and nanny turn-over.
  • Never speak negatively about the other parent to the nanny, or involve her in anything that will make her feel pulled between the two parents. Keep the relationship professional.
  • All direction of the nanny's duties and commitments for one home should come from that household. Therefore, don't try to interfere with the employment relationship between the other parent and the nanny. If something comes up and this can't be avoided, speak to the other parent and don't go through the nanny.
  • The nanny should care for your children in a manner that both parents agree to. The two parents should discuss their priorities and objectives with one another and agree on a consistent form of parenting, such as behaviour management, nutrition, screen time, etc. The rules should be consistent from one house to the other for the children's sake, and the nanny's.
  • When discussing changes to employment, such as changing duties, holidays, or hours, or terminating the employment relationship, both parents should be involved and make those decisions together. Using technology can make this easy, as some separated/divorced partners are not comfortable talking to one another in person.
  • When making the decision of how to handle payroll and taxes, this full guide on nanny payrollwill help you out.

Overall, it is important for your children and the nanny to see that even though you are not together as a couple, you are united on all fronts when it comes to the children. This situation can be challenging, as the children have one nanny and the nanny has one charge, but there are two homes and two employers involved. Therefore, special arrangements and agreements need to be made to make the situation run smoothly. Try to keep communication in regards to childcare open, and do your best to cooperate for the sake of the children.

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