Difference Between a Nanny and a Babysitter – Know Whom to Hire

Looking for someone to provide childcare for your family? If yes, you may be considering hiring a nanny or a baby-sitter. Though they may sound similar, they differ greatly with respect to their job responsibilities. This article sheds light on the differences between a nanny and a babysitter.

What makes a nanny?
A nanny is a professional hired to take care of a family’s child/children. Nanny care is a full time job and responsibilities vary depending on the age of the children as well as the specific requirements of the family. Though the primary responsibility of a nanny is to nurture the children, the job of a modern day nanny also includes monitoring the children, designing activities that help in the overall development (personal and social) of the children, scheduling play activities, picking up and dropping off a various activities, helping with homework, etc.

Depending on the kind of role and responsibilities a family is looking for in a nanny, will depend upon the kind of nanny a family will choose. Following are some examples:
•Live-in nanny: The role of a live-in nanny is to provide full-time, in-home child care. A live-in nanny takes full responsibility for the children. From waking them up in the morning to putting them sleep at night, feeding and meal preparation, personal care such as bathing, washing clothes, and cleaning their room, she will do everything related to care for the children.
•Live-out nanny: A live-out nanny shares only some of the responsibilities as a live-in nanny. A live-out nanny will only be responsible for the children during her work hours, generally for about 6 to 8 hours a day.
•Nanny share: A nanny share refers to sharing a nanny with two or more families. She works part time with each family caring for the children at different times of the day.

As being a nanny is considered a profession, qualifications, certifications and training required/desired by a professional nanny may vary from state to state and country to country.

A babysitter is a person whose services are occasionally utilized to look after the child/children. The services of a babysitter are mostly sought after on weekends or evenings. Teenagers or college students often take the role of a babysitter. They come whenever their services are required.

Key differences:
A nanny generally has a set schedule and has more responsibilities in caring for the children than a babysitter. A nanny, will often establish much a much stronger relationship with the children and family as she spends more time with a family than a babysitter would. Babysitters are typically young, and often have very little to no experience with child care, whereas nannies are often older, have several years of experience and often have some kind of training (CPR/First Aid, Child Development, etc.).

Responsibilities: Though the job roles and responsibilities of both nanny and babysitter vary depending on the family and their needs, there are few things that are to keep in mind:
•While nannies will generally have the same set schedule every week, whether it be full time, part time, or live-in, a babysitter is often only utilized occasionally.
•While babysitting, the role of babysitter includes monitoring the children, keeping them entertained, feeding them, and taking care of them until their parents return home, typically for a short period of time.
•A nanny may sometimes need to handle the role of a housekeeper, driver and a cook, while the babysitter is generally not expected to handle roles such as these.

Payment: Compensation is another difference between nannies and babysitters. Since a babysitter generally has less experience and will only work for a limited period of time, a babysitter’s rate of pay is often less than that of a nanny. The number of hours they will work and job duties and responsibilities should also be taken into consideration.

Nannies, as they are similar to regular employees, are paid on a monthly basis or on an hourly rate based on their contract/agreement. Moreover, nannies may also enjoy the benefits of health insurance, paid vacation/leaves, over time payment, etc.

Taxes: Nannies are often considered household employees, while babysitters as self-employed. Tax deductions also depend on the annual incomes of a nanny/babysitter.

Whom to hire:
Choosing a nanny or a babysitter will depend entirely on your needs and the requirements of the job.

If you are working parents, hiring a trustworthy nanny is an excellent option. A live-in nanny not only takes care of your child but also helps you with many of the household chores (with prior agreement). Hiring a nanny leaves you with peace of mind as you are aware that your child is in safe hands of a professional.

On the hand, if you are not working but still need someone to take care of your child when out for short periods (e.g. date night), then a babysitter may make more sense.

A reputable nanny referral agency can be very beneficial in understanding your needs requirements, and can help you choose the right option for your family.