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Nannies vs Babysitters

Some people are unsure if a nanny is different to a babysitter. While both roles involve caring for children, there is so much more to being a nanny than you may appreciate. A babysitter is usually engaged for short-term, ad-hoc work, while a nanny is an experienced professional that is engaged for long-term care and support.

If you are looking for someone to provide care for your family, here is a basic guide about the duties and responsibilities of babysitters and nannies.


Who are babysitters? A babysitter can be quite varied. They could be a relative or a close friend of the family. They could be a young adult that lives close by. They could be a student that provides babysitting services while studying. They could even be a professional childcare worker or experienced carer.

What does a babysitter do? A babysitter provides short-term childcare on an ad-hoc basis. Babysitters take care of a child’s basic needs while the parents are away.  It isn’t their duty to contribute to a child’s development, and they do not have as many responsibilities as a nanny. Their main duties include:

  • Supervising children
  • Feeding children
  • Changing nappies
  • Playing with children
  • Putting children to bed


Who are nannies? Nannies are experienced childcare professionals who have more duties and greater responsibilities than babysitters. A nanny will typically have qualifications, and many provide specialty services like new-born care, sleep management or development philosophies. Unlike babysitters, a nanny provides ongoing support to the family and not just the children.

What does a nanny do? Nannies are generally engaged for long-term care arrangements. Nannies spend quality time with children and contribute to their education, wellbeing and overall development. Their responsibility is to help the family maintain routines and ensure children are prepped and ready for various activities. A great nanny will always be there to have your back and support your family. This is why most families consider their nanny as a family member, rather than just service providers. The main duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Taking care of children
  • Planning meals and preparing food
  • Playing with children, with a focus on learning and development
  • Nappy changing and potty training
  • Bathing and dressing children
  • Assisting in homework
  • Transporting children to school and activities
  • Preparing meals for children
  • Arranging indoor and outdoor play
  • Assisting in educational and creative activities
  • Creating a supporting environment for children and the family
  • Contributing to the wellbeing of the children and the family

Should I Hire a Nanny or a Babysitter or Both?

Parents who need someone to spend quality one-on-one time with their children require professional childcare services. Hiring an experienced nanny means having someone you can rely on to provide long-term care and support. You can count on a nanny to make a significant contribution to your child’s development and provide amazing support for your family.

On the other hand, a babysitter is a great option for situations when you need short-term care, such as date nights, birthdays and other celebrations.

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