What is the difference between a babysitter and a nanny?

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Juggle Street at 16/8/2020

The terms ‘babysitter’ and ‘nanny’ are often used interchangeably. However, they encompass very different roles, each of which may suit one parent’s lifestyle and schedule over another’s. If you’re in need of at-home childcare assistance and are wondering whether to find a babysitter or a nanny, we’ve put together a quick guide below to help you find the perfect solution.

1. What does a babysitter do?

Babysitting tends to involve ad hoc work that is paid by the hour. Most parents hire babysitters to provide childcare that will allow them to go out and celebrate special occasions such as anniversary meals or birthday parties. Some parents hire babysitters on a fairly regular basis but only for a few hours at a time.

As babysitters are not salaried, they tend to take up work as and when it is available and work with a substantial number of families to boost their earning potential. For this reason, good babysitters are often in high demand and parents may find themselves disappointed to find their favourite babysitter is unavailable at the last minute.

Babysitters tend not to have as much responsibility as nannies and are often expected only to play with the children and fulfil their basic needs as and when necessary. Most babysitters are not hired to contribute to the child’s development. Babysitters are often young and not armed with the same childcare qualifications as a nanny.

Overall, hiring a babysitter is a great option if you need some short-term childcare that is relatively affordable. Many parents hire babysitters who are local to their neighbourhood such as teenage children or adult university students. This is a great solution for young students to earn extra money whilst helping local families.

2. What does a nanny do?

Nannies can be hired on a part-time or full-time basis. During the working hours when kids are in their care, the nanny has full responsibility for them. This includes tasks such as preparing meals for the children, making sure they are dressed, tidying up messy play areas, and doing the laundry.

Most nannies have undergone training and garnered plenty of experience working with children across a range of different ages. It is usually expected that nannies earn a first aid qualification before working with kids to ensure they can provide care in an emergency.

Nannies can live in or out depending on the given family’s needs and preferences. If you do opt for a live-in nanny, they should be offered a separate room or granny flat that allows for plenty of privacy when they are not on duty. Live-out nannies, meanwhile, usually agree regular set hours with parents before starting work.

Most nannies only work with one family, allowing the children to develop a strong bond with them. They represent a very good choice for busy parents who need a significant amount of help with childcare and would like to know that their children are in the company of a qualified professional who can help with their education and developmental growth.

3. Should I opt for a babysitter or a nanny?

As you can see, babysitters and nannies offer very different services. If you only need childcare covered every now and again, you can probably stick to hiring babysitters. Just make sure to have a number of babysitters on your radar to avoid disappointment when your favourite is all booked up. If you are in need of more substantial help, a nanny is probably the way to go. A nanny will be able to nurture a strong bond with your little one. This kind of relationship can often prove very valuable in a child’s personal growth.

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