Unlike babysitters, who are often self-employed and have limited qualifications, nannies have professional experience and advanced credentials. They may also have degree-level education in child development or early childhood education. So, what is the difference between nanny and babysitter? Unlike babysitters, who are often hired on an as-needed basis, nannies are employed on a regular (or semi-regular) basis. In other words, they monitor kids after school or while parents go out to dinner. Their responsibilities also vary; a babysitter’s primary concern is watching your child and ensuring their safety.
Often, parents want to select the best childcare option for their family, but this does not necessarily mean choosing the least expensive. Like any product or service, quality is often worth the extra cost.
The cost of a nanny and babysitter is based on the duties and responsibilities the caretaker will perform. Nannies are typically paid more than babysitters since nannies tend to have a more consistent role in the child’s life. This includes taking the child to school, running errands, and performing home management tasks. Nannies can also have extensive medical knowledge and be responsible for specialized needs such as feeding tubes and therapy play.
The pay rate can also increase if the child has specific special needs. For example, the parent may want to reimburse the sitter for transportation costs or provide them with a metro card. It is also typical to give a nanny or babysitter an annual raise. This can range from 3-10% and should include cost-of-living increases and merit.
If you need someone to watch your children regularly for longer periods, a nanny is the way to go. A nanny works full or part-time with one family and typically has an employment contract.
On the other hand, babysitters work on an as-needed basis for shorter windows of time. You might hire a babysitter for a date night, a wedding, or to run errands while your child is at school. Babysitters often charge less per hour than a nanny and may be available at short notice to care for your children.
While a babysitter can take on additional duties like driving children around, assisting with homework, cooking, or conducting minor housekeeping, a higher wage is usually expected for these activities, and they are not considered basic babysitter tasks. On the other hand, Nannies generally have a more comprehensive background in childcare. They might have advanced degrees in early childhood education or teaching and have spent years in placements working with different families and parenting styles.
Nannies typically have a set schedule for the week, especially full-time nannies. They arrive in the morning before their parents leave for work and remain with the children until their parents return home. They also may help with meal preparation, transporting children to and from activities, etc.
Nannies often have more responsibilities and duties than babysitters and may be expected to provide enrichment activities, homework assistance, etc. However, this can be difficult if the nanny and family disagree on discipline or parenting styles. It’s much more serious when the nanny is with your child for 40 hours a week than when the sitter is in your home for a few hours.
Babysitters are hired on an as-needed basis for a few hours. They are usually not trained childcare professionals but have taken an introductory babysitting class and know CPR. This type of flexibility can be great if you have an event coming up, need to run errands, or want a night out with your partner. However, if your family needs regular childcare, a babysitter may not be your best option.
A nanny or babysitter’s personality can make or break your child’s experience. They should be kind and friendly but also firm with children. They should respect your family’s rules and values but still be flexible in the event of an emergency or unexpected change.
A great nanny or babysitter is self-confident and feels comfortable making decisions independently. You can judge this by how they speak during phone screens or face-to-face interviews. They should be able to communicate their answers and ask questions if they don’t understand. They should also be able to bring up any issues with their employment respectfully and openly.
A nanny or babysitter’s patience is essential because long days with children can be challenging. They should be able to remain calm when children test their limits or get emotional and irrational. When interviewing, ask candidates about situations that tested their patience and how they handled them. Also, shadowing a candidate for a day to see how they handle their time with kids independently.
Nanny references can offer a wealth of information about your candidate. They can help you gauge her skill set, ability to manage tasks, and ability to work with children of all ages. They can also provide insight into the candidate’s personality and temperament.
Ensure that you talk to multiple references and ask a variety of questions. It would help if you also probed for stories and specific instances. A reference who can share a time when the nanny had to manage a conflict well or explain how she handled a new situation will have more value than one that only speaks of flawless moments.
You should also request nanny references from families outside your own. While friends and family may have a positive bias towards your applicant, you need a more objective view of her abilities. It can be helpful to get an opinion from a colleague or a supervisor to see how she works professionally. This can give you a better understanding of how she will work as your family’s long-term nanny or babysitter.