Childcare in Vancouver is no joke. You must be creative, persistent and a bit lucky to find a childcare solution that fits your family’s needs. Not to mention a provider that nurtures and cares for your child while keeping them stimulated, educated and happy but also well rested. The perfect childcare solution is a unicorn but not impossible.
With my first child we decided to go down the route of a nanny-share. This was for several reasons, not excluding the fact we had not yet made it to the top of any daycare lists. We are now in our second nanny-share arrangement with my youngest. Working with two families, and two nannies has shown me how great an arrangement like a nanny-share can be. The relationships between the kids, the nanny and the families we’ve shared with are really special.
Six tips for making your nanny share a success
- Find your family first
Finding a family to share your nanny with is like finding a business partner. There are generally lots of nannies looking for families but not always families with the same scheduling needs, parenting philosophies and budget as you.
- Don’t be shy
Deciding how your child will be cared for, by who and on what budget is not the time to be shy or too polite. Be clear up front with your partner family about any unique circumstances or desires you have. It’s best to get everything on the table up front, especially discussing finances.
- Post a clear job description
When your nanny search begins, post a concise, detailed job description that includes the rate you’d like to pay and your general location. Also, include any benefits you plan to offer like a bus pass or science world membership. If you’re hoping for qualifications, include this in your post. Ask for references and be sure to check them.
- Use a payment service
For our first nanny-share my husband did the accounting. It was time consuming and frustrating every time he had to communicate with the CRA. For our second experience we’re using Heart Payroll. There are several payment services to consider but we’ve found this a huge help. They manage the set-up of your ‘business,’ all of the deductions and tax considerations as well as produce a T4 and any documentation your nanny needs.
- Prepare a contract
Once you’ve found your partner family and your nanny, get it in writing. There are contract templates you can download and edit to suit your specific needs. Put more than you think you’ll need in the contract without over complicating it. Hopefully you’ll never have to refer back to it but if you do, best to make expectations clear. Have a separate contract between the two families as well as one between the families and the nanny.
Before your start date, during your initial days and every day after that – communicate with your nanny and your partner family. When someone is in your home and caring for your child, it’s essential you’re transparent. This includes being honest if your child has been sick, hasn’t slept well or if you’re uncomfortable or unsure about something that has taken place. This also includes letting the nanny know what they are welcome to eat and if there are any areas of the house you’d prefer they didn’t access. Establish clear boundaries but treat your nanny like extended family and they will grow to love your family as their own.
Jenn Wint is a writer, communications strategist and a public relations specialist. She is passionate about storytelling and community. Jenn lives in East Vancouver with her husband, 3yo son and 1yo daughter. You’ll find them hanging around Vancouver’s playgrounds, water parks, coffee shops and anywhere that bakes fresh cookies in-house!