Can You Have a Non-Driving Nanny in the NYC Suburbs?

Jul 10, 2019

MAYBE, but having a non-driving nanny takes some creativity…

In the city, chances are you don’t even know if your nanny, sitter or childcare provider drives. Even if she does, there’s no chance she’s driving from her apartment to yours. She’s hopping on the subway, the bus or, even, in a taxi or Uber to get to and from—and she’s doing the same as she takes your kids from school to soccer practice to swim lessons to playdates.

In the suburbs, though, it’s a different story. If you’re aiming to keep your city nanny post-move, you’re likely going to have to coordinate some serious commuting, especially if she’s car-less (or, even license-less). Even if you tap a suburban nanny, there’s a chance she won’t drive—or will need a vehicle to tote your kids from point A to point B (and C, D, E and F…) every day.

That said, consider your options—like anything else in suburbia, there’s a way to strike a balance. If you’re thinking about a non-driving nanny, think about this…

How will your nanny get to work every day?

If your nanny can carpool with other nannies, walk, get a ride or use public transportation to get to and from your house on time every day, then that’s one major hurdle down. The problem is, their method of transportation has to be reliable, and available at times that complement your work schedule.

You could drive your nanny to and from your home or from a local transportation hub, or arrange for more local pick up, but be sure you aren’t adding too much to your morning routine. We all know what it’s like to get up and get out in the morning, and shuttling a sitter may be the straw.

“I see a group of three or four nannies at the train every morning,” says one Manhasset mom. “They come in from Queens every morning, together, and end up at the Manhasset station. The same taxi driver picks them up each day and takes them to their jobs in and around Manhasset. It seems to work well! He’s always waiting to get them, in the same spot.”


How will they get the kids around during the day?

Nannies have a lot of responsibilities. Chief among them, though, is ensuring your kids are safe—especially as they’re moving from school to lessons to practices to playdates. If your nanny doesn’t drive, they need to rely on other forms of transportation. Uber or Lyft. Public transportation. Carpooling. They’re all options, but they do take some coordination on your part. Uber and Lyft, for example, aren’t always as prevalent in the suburbs as they are in the city, so timing pickups “just right” can be a challenge.

“We have a bus that runs throughout our ‘main drag’—our little downtown area, past the park, the train station and near the elementary school,” says a working Sea Cliff mom. “I’ve never taken it, but our sitter will jump on with our oldest daughter and they can be at the park or the ice cream place in a few minutes. And my daughter thinks it’s so much fun!”

Another option: share your wheels. If your nanny drives but doesn’t have a car, you could let her use your car during the day.

“Other days our sitter drives me to the train, then takes the car for the day,” our Sea Cliff mom adds. “Either she leaves it in the same general spot on her way home, or she picks me up at the train and I drive her where she needs to go. It works well.”

Consider an au pair or alternative care option

A live-in nanny—even weekdays only—or au pair might also work for your family. While this doesn’t necessarily eliminate the daytime transportation issues, there won’t be any problems getting to and from work, even if your sitter doesn’t drive. And if you do opt for an au pair, they virtually always drive—for most programs, it’s par for the course. You won’t have to worry about that, but you will have to provide a safe, reliable car they can use.

There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all.Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.

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