Nannies and babysitters, same or different?


With the plethora of childcare options available to parents, it is understandable when parents get confused and are unsure about the right type of childcare arrangement for their children. Babysitters and nannies are the most common types of childcare that parents avail but it is important to understand how they are different from one another.


  • Location: Nannies as well as babysitters will work where you live. Unlike day care centres and childminders, both nannies and babysitters will arrive at your residence at an agreed time to care for your child and leave as per the agreed schedule.

  • Childcare duties: Nannies and babysitters perform the usual childcare duties such keeping an eye on the kids as they play or sleep, engaging with them in play, serving a meal if it is mealtime, and bathing them or putting them to bed.

  • Outside activities: Both nannies and babysitters can take the children to outdoor activities such as the local park, swimming, arts and crafts activities, etc. with the intention of keeping your child busy, active and also help with their development.

  • Cost: Nannies and babysitters can cost anywhere from £9 to £16 per hour depending on skills, experience, and qualifications. Some experienced nannies and babysitters can charge even more for certain high-net-worth clients.

  • Training/qualification: Nannies and babysitters can be trained/qualified or not. Childcare professionals offering nannying or babysitting services are trained in early years development of children, pediatric first aid, child nutrition, etc.


  • Legality: Nannies usually work on a salary basis and can live-in or live-out depending on the family requirements. This makes the family an employer of the nanny and therefore they have to comply with government regulations as it applies to employers, such as having an employment contract, processing payroll including national insurance, offering annual leave, etc. This is not the same for babysitters who get paid for the hours they work with none of the contractual or payroll obligations.

  • Work hours: Babysitters only only work a few hours on certain days; they may not be as flexible and may only be available on a planned basis. Nannies on the other hand can be more flexible due to their longer working hours.

  • Early years development: A nanny serves as a stable and consistent presence for the children and is entrusted to meet the children’s needs with both day-to-day and long-term development goals in mind. A babysitter however, given the ad-hoc nature of their work, may not be able to contribute significantly to the development of children.

Closing thoughts

Hiring a nanny or a babysitter is an important decision!

Consider your circumstances and determine whether employing a babysitter on an ad-hoc basis makes more sense or whether a long-term nanny would be a better fit considering the pros and cons of each. You can email us on if you need help in deciding or exploring your options.

Once you have decided which option is best for you, you can use your social networks or a nanny placement agency to find a babysitter or nanny to fit your needs. If you’re looking for a nanny, you can also register on as a parent and the platform will do the rest for you - from matching you to the right nanny, to sorting out your employer responsibilities such as contracting, payroll, etc.

No matter what you choose, remember that you can always re-assess and change your approach as needed.

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