When parents divorce, the number one concern they usually have is the well-being of their children – and ensuring stability in their routine through consistent child care can be essential.
If you have a nanny that you trust, that can be invaluable when it comes to giving your children a sense of security despite the rest of the changes in their lives, and there’s no reason not to share the nanny across households (as long as everybody is willing).
5 essential tips for parents who share childcare services
Ideally, you and your co-parent should have a written agreement in place that clarifies your nanny-sharing arrangement – and it’s essential to make sure that your nanny is kept in the loop and is in agreement.
This can help you avoid conflicts in the future, especially if things remain tense between you and your co-parent. Here are some suggestions for a good working agreement:
- Have a system for the regular expenses. You and your co-parent may need to split the recurring child care expenses (beyond just the nanny’s pay), and that means keeping track of the bills. Giving the nanny a single credit card for use when they need to pay for something for your children or buy gas for their car to run errands can make it easier for everyone.
- Have a clear understanding of the work agreement. Since the nanny is working at two different households, you need to make sure that you, your co-parent and the nanny are on the same page when it comes to time off, paid vacations and pay dates. The last thing you want to do is lose a good nanny because of poor communication with your co-parent about their salary and benefits.
- Use the nanny to help with routines. Children thrive on routines, so work with your nanny to create a few that can transverse households. For example, you may want to set things up so that the children have consistent meal times and bedtimes across both households, which the nanny can help facilitate.
- Do not use the nanny as a messenger. Never put your nanny in the position of having to communicate for you or your co-parent – even if those communications involve the children. Create a master calendar and use a chat app to talk to your co-parent about schedule changes, behavioral problems, school issues, doctor visits and more.
- Give the nanny a clear way to communicate. Your nanny may have critical information about your children that needs to be relayed to both parents. Establishing a routine form of communication – whether through an app, an online calendar or some other way – makes it easier for your nanny to keep everybody informed.
No matter what your situation, shared parenting agreements require careful consideration, a lot of communication and some good planning if they’re going to be successful. Establishing clear rules and guidelines about childcare during and after the divorce can be easier with experienced legal guidance.