Nanny vs. Babysitter, What’s the Difference?

One of the most common questions we get as a Nanny Agency in Orange County and San Diego is what exactly is the difference between a Babysitter and a Nanny?  The primary purpose of both is to care for children, however there are a few differences to keep in mind.

What is a Nanny?

A nanny is someone who is employed by a family for the long term and has a regular schedule.  They are generally involved in all aspects of a child’s life, from learning colors and numbers to helping them with their school work as they grow.  A nanny is generally responsible for a child’s daily schedule, taking them to and from school as well as any other activities they may have.  How and the degree to which a nanny is involved in a child’s life is dependent on the parents, but most often parents see and treat the nanny as a kind of co-parent.  Families will often discuss various aspects of a child’s life with their nanny, for example how to handle discipline or the best way to go about potty training.

Nannies can be live-in or live-out, and work either full-time or part-time, again depending upon the family’s needs. While many nannies are paid by the hour, it is not uncommon for a nanny to earn a weekly salary, and to be paid via W-2 with taxes withheld.  It is also standard for a nanny to have benefits such as paid vacation, sick days, and paid holidays to name a few.

What is a Babysitter?

A babysitter, or sitter who is responsible for the care and supervision of children for a short period of time, usually several hours.  They typically work on an as needed basis, although many families do have a “regular sitter” for their date nights.  While a good sitter will do more then just watch the children, they generally do not have the same kind of responsibilities that a nanny would.  As a sitter is only with the children for short periods of time, they are not typically involved in a child’s schedule or any kind of development.

Sitters are paid on an hourly basis, and payment is typically made at the end of the day/night.  A sitter will also typically earn less than a nanny as they don’t have the same king of responsibilities that a nanny has.

As a full service nanny agency in Orange County and San Diego we provide our clients with both nanny placements as well as providing them with experienced sitters, many of whom are nannies or teachers.  Please give us a call (877) 553-4231, to find out how we can help you find the right nanny and/or sitter!


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