Nannies vs. Babysitters

nanny teaching children

Many people confuse babysitters and nannies, or think that all nannies do is to watch the kids while mom is away. Nannies can be very frustrated with this misconception. They may have issues when they try to articulate the difference.

Even parents can sometimes treat caregivers as glorified babysitters. Here are a few ways to distinguish between your au pair and a regular babysitter.


The criteria for a caregiver is established by their experience and age, their job description, and the relationship they share with the parents of the children. While a babysitter is generally on call and keeps an eye on children for an hour or two so parents can go on a date or take a meeting, an au pair is an important part of the household life.

Schedule and Relationships

Whereas a babysitter is only around for a few hours at a time, caregivers have a predictable and permanent schedule and have interpersonal relationships with both parents and kids. The caregiver, though a paid employee, will be a part of the family on a daily basis. They take the kids on day trips, plan activities and meals, and may even help with household chores.

Age and Experience

Many babysitters are in high school or college and perform their duties as a means of extra spending money. Alternately, a babysitter can be a trusted neighbor or friend of the family. They may have little formal training and only rarely do they have a resume of child rearing experience.

Nannies often have a wealth of experience and training and have a formal salary and employment contract. They view their duties as an occupation or even a career, and should be able to present a list of references and past employment.

Job Description

Where babysitters have pretty basic responsibilities—keep the kids safe and watch their bedtime—nannies generally have a specific and broader job description. A nanny may have use of the family car to run errands such as helping with grocery shopping.

The caregiver may take the kids on day trips, handle light housekeeping duties, or even help the kids with lessons. In return they get a salary, are entitled to overtime, and might even get paid benefits such as time off and medical coverage.

There is a big difference between a babysitter and a nanny. If you are looking for a professional caregiver from a nanny agency in Vancouver, we are happy to help you find the right fit for your family. How do you define the differences between the two? Leave a comment and let us know!

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