What are The Differences between a Nanny and a Babysitter?

The world of child care often uses a variety of terms to describe exactly what type of service that the child care provider offers. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast definition of the term “babysitter.” A babysitter can refer to someone who comes to your home to watch your children while you go out to dinner and the movies, for example. In this case, we usually think of a teenager who is trying to earn some extra cash. Other people refer to a babysitter as a person who comes into their own home to care for their children on a regular basis. However, some people use the term babysitter to refer to a daycare environment that takes place in someone else’s home. Babysitter is a general term that people use to describe a child care provider of almost any sort.

In contrast, the term “Nanny” refers to a specific type of child care provider. A nanny typically works only for you, whereas a babysitter or a daycare may also care for other children beyond yours. Typically a nanny will live in your home, but this is not always the case. An au pair is a specific type of nanny; an au pair is a young foreign national who is in the United States on a work visa for a one-year term. An au pair lives with the family, and often must take some sort of educational coursework while she is in the U.S. Au pairs are typically paid a small salary, travel and insurance expenses, as well as room and board.

There are some organizations that provide training and certification for all sorts of child care. Teens may take a babysitting course from the Red Cross, although no formal education is required to baby-sit. Day Care providers, whether in a daycare facility or in their own home, must typically be licensed by the state. There are nanny organizations that train nannies and also aid families in finding nannies. The majority of nannies, however, don’t have this sort of formal preparation.

The type of childcare you require, your budget, and the local market will determine what kind of child care you are able to choose.


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