13 Major Differences Between A Nanny And A Babysitter

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The nanny vs. babysitter question when you start planning child care is always a difficult one to answer. However, this is an important decision you should make for your child’s best interest and to ensure you and your partner’s careers are not affected.

Often, families tend to mistake both to be the same. However, they are different. A babysitter is someone who temporarily takes care of a child of any age in the absence of the parents or a guardian and supervises them. In contrast, a nanny is responsible for taking care of the baby at all times. Having a sitter to take care of your baby for a day is quite different from hiring a nanny permanently.

Read on to know more about the difference between a nanny and a babysitter and find the ideal person for your baby.

13 Differences Between A Nanny And A Babysitter

Here are some major differences between the role, pay structure, and other aspects of a nanny and a babysitter.

1. Basic duties and responsibilities

A nanny’s duties include everything related to childcare, including feeding on time, helping the children with their homework, and picking and dropping them at their school or extra classes. The babysitter is responsible for taking the basic care of children such as their food and safety till their parents are home.

2. Overall development

Other than taking care of the children’s physical well-being, a nanny also focuses on their emotional and mental development. They plan activities for the overall growth and development of the child. On the other hand, a babysitter is responsible for taking care of the children only for a few hours, and they are not accountable for the child’s overall development.

3. Time period

While babysitting is a part-time job, wherein they have to look after the children for a few hours, a nanny’s services are full-time. The babysitter charges every hour, and the nanny’s salary is fixed—it can be weekly or monthly as per their discussion with the parents. In addition, a babysitter can work for two or more families in a week or a month. However, a nanny is supposed to work for only one family till the scheduled time frame.

4. Professional business

A nanny’s service has professional goals, for instance, they aim to progress in the childcare industry. After consistently working as a nanny for a few years, they can move ahead to family assisting service. On the other hand, babysitting is not a profession and is done for extra income.

5. Professional training

A nanny is professionally trained in childcare skills. They are trained to work with children with special needs, different parenting styles, and children of all age groups. Some hold a degree in early childhood education and some may have a teaching certificate. But no such training and skills are expected from a babysitter. However, they should have the basic idea about childcare for the safety of children in the absence of the parents.

6. Payment

A babysitter and parents decide an amount per hour (feasible for both), which is usually paid in cash. On the other hand, the nanny’s service is professional, and they are paid either weekly or monthly or on a contractual basis, and it is done through check.

7. Leaves and allowances

A family who hires a nanny should give them vacation time, sick leaves, and holiday pay. In some cases, they should pay for their medical insurance. A babysitter doesn’t get such privileges as they work on a part-time basis.

8. Taxes

A nanny and the family hiring a nanny are taxpayers. The legal requirements vary from state to state, so the family should check with the state law before moving ahead with the hiring process. On the contrary, a babysitter is not bound to pay taxes.

9. Professional fee

The hourly rates of a nanny depend on various factors such as the area, overtime laws by state, nannies’ education and background, and their experience. For example, nannies in metropolitan cities such as New York City and Los Angeles charge higher than the smaller cities. It could be anywhere between $25 and $40 per hour. Sometimes, the fee could increase based on the tasks as well. However, a babysitter’s fee depends on the negotiation between them and the parents.

10. Additional work

A nanny is supposed to do everything that comes under the umbrella of childcare daily without charging extra. But a babysitter has the freedom to do additional work, and they can charge for it.

11. Live-in with family

A family can hire a live-in nanny who can stay with them day and night to take care of the children. However, this is only possible if the family can provide them with a separate room for the nanny. That does not apply to a babysitter as they work only when the need arises.

12. Household services

A nanny’s job is to take care of children all day and night. However, if parents want someone who can provide childcare and manage their homes as well, they can hire nanny-household caretakers. They take care of children and do other services such as cleaning, grocery shopping, and home errands. Babysitters don’t perform such duties.

13. Nanny share

The concept of nanny-share has been designed by keeping those parents in mind want professional childcare services on a low budget. A partially shared nanny can work with two families at a time. They can spend the first half of the day with one family and attend another family in the second half. Though this concept looks slightly similar to babysitting, the shared nannies work with the fixed families while babysitters provide their services to several families in a week.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is being a babysitter considered self-employed?

Yes, babysitters are usually self-employed as they are not considered full-time. Moreover, most babysitters temporarily opt for the job to earn a side income.

2. What should a nanny not do?

You must consider replacing a nanny if you find her irresponsible, allowing too much screen time, abusing your child, stealing things, and using your computer for her work. Nannies should also not be irregular, dishonest, or unpunctual.

3. What is the difference between a nanny and an au pair?

An au pair is a French term meaning equal to and refers to a young person (mostly female) who comes from a foreign land and lives with your family (for a short time) to take care of your child in return for a stipend. On the other hand, nannies are child-care professionals who usually belong and work in the same country for a fixed amount of salary and on a full-time basis.

If you are planning to get a caregiver for your child, the debate between nanny vs. babysitter is one that is sure to spring up in your head. While making the decision, it is essential that you consider all your requirements, the responsibilities that they will be handling, whether or not they bond well with the child, and for how long you want to leave your child with them. Also, it is advised that you contact reputed and trusted agencies to suggest caregivers and have a talk with their references to learn about their work and skills.

Key Pointers

  • A nanny is responsible for a child’s complete care like the homework, feeding, and pick and drop from school, whereas a babysitter only takes care of the food and safety of a child in the parents’ absence.
  • A nanny plans different activities for the child’s overall development, whereas a babysitter is not responsible for the kid’s complete development.
  • Nannies are professionally trained to look after a child, but a babysitter only knows the basics of childcare and does not have any special training.

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Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship... more

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