Appropriate age range for baby in nanny share

We’re hoping to join a nanny share in the next few months when we’re both working full time. One thing I was wondering is what age gap between 2 babies sharing 1 nanny is ideal. Our child will be 5.5 months old when we start. Any insights would be helpful!

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I don't know that it was ideal or not, but our son was with a four-year-old boy when he was about four months old. The 4 y/o ended up being a great helper with our son and they developed a very sweet relationship. The share ended when COVID hit and our son was almost 10 months by then. I think it was probably helpful for the nanny that one child was older, but honestly our nanny was so awesome she probably could have done any combination. She had twins herself plus another child in addition to lots of experience, so she was very prepared. She took the kids to the park every time they were together so the older boy saw the same kids closer to his age too and got that socialization as well.

Now that my son is 20 months, I would probably want him to be in a share with kids closer to his age, if we were to do it again. We opted to start him in daycare last week as he is very social (among other reasons for going with daycare at this point). As a baby, I don't think the age mattered quite as much to him or us as just being around other children.

If you plan on the nanny taking the babies to the park or other activities, it's useful if both babies take the same number of naps. A one-nap baby is sleeping during the two-nap baby's awake time (usually), which makes going out harder. We dealt with this by having my baby's one nap in the morning, but this made for a month or so of rough evenings before the nanny got them both to one nap at the same time. 

Hi Jessylin:

We had our son in a nanny share with a kid who was very close in age (birthdays within a month) and were glad they were. Kids develop at different rates of course, but what felt really important to us was having napping patterns line up. For a 5.5 month old, it probably makes sense to be within a few months at most of one another, so they can move together from three to two to one nap. It was also nice to have mobility and speaking be somewhat aligned. In our case, the other child walked and talked several months before ours, but then it was nice for them to be able to run around together. Another thing to consider if your nanny takes the kids out for outings is that it's easier to keep track of two kids that are at roughly the same stage of mobility. Hope that's helpful.

I would ask your nanny what they're comfortable with. From my perspective, you don't want more than a few months between them so they go through the transitions pretty close together. In our current nanny share, our son is 3.5 months older than the girl we share with and it seems to work well. Each time he transitions to a new nap schedule or learns a new skill, she's not far behind so it's not too much of a burden on our nanny. When we were first looking into shares, we asked her what worked for her and she said she would prefer them be close in age so that she didn't have one napping 3x a day and one napping 1x a day and having to occupy the non-napping baby somehow in the house or have the napping baby sleeping in the stroller all the time. Once they're older, I think the age gap can be bigger, but when they're young, it's just easier to have them going through the same things at the same times.

In general, I don't think it matters much, though of course the nanny may have a preference for closer vs further away in age.  Our first child shared a nanny with another baby the same age (starting around age 1).  When our first child was 3, we sent him to preschool and replaced him in the share with his younger brother, who was 5 months old.  The other family originally expressed a preference to share with a child closer to their child's age, but finding none and probably because they were comfortable with us anyway, they accepted the swap.  The 2.5 year age difference ended up being beneficial for their child, who was an only, as it gave her an experience of being an older sibling - sharing, being patient, etc.

My daughter was 5 months when we started our share. She’s now 8 months. One kid is a few months older and the two others are around 3 (3 of us in the share and the nanny has a child). My kid seems to hang out with the 3 year old the most. The 3 year old (also a girl) likes taking care of my daughter, like a baby doll. It’s really cute. My kid doesn’t really seem to pay much attention to the other kids and vice versa.