What is the Difference Between Nannying and Babysitting?

Despite the two getting regularly mixed up, nannies and babysitters do not have the same role. While babysitters undertake many childcare duties, including minding children, nannies may have much more responsibility than babysitters.

Babysitters' working hours are typically less than nannies and they will likely not receive benefits such as holiday pay. This is due to the fact that nannies are most often qualified childcare professionals with the advanced childcare training and experience required for child supervision, including nursery care for young children in crucial stages of development.

The team at Nannies Matter understand the importance of the role that nannies play in a household. We have written this guide to explain what functions a nanny performs and what requirements they must meet, which separate them from other childcare roles.

What is the role of a nanny?

The primary role of a nanny is to take care of children, providing them with a nurturing environment to keep them happy and allow for positive development at key stages of their lives. This includes activities like preparing meals, helping with homework and school projects, engaging in age-appropriate activities, and more. A family may hire a nanny with tutoring skills to help their children with early childhood education or the development of specific skills, such as with music lessons.

Depending on the family's needs, nannies may help with grocery shopping, laundry, and tidying up. This is one of the key aspects of nannying that separates it from babysitting. These additional duties will be agreed upon during the initial job interview or may be agreed upon later in their role.

There are a number of specialised nanny roles within the more general nanny job title. Depending on which one a nanny undertakes, their duties and the way they operate will vary.

Live-out nannies

Live-out nannies is the most common nanny role with the fewest responsibilities. Crucially, live-out nannies do not live with the families they work for. This type of arrangement is ideal for families who have busy lifestyles and do not have the space or finances to accommodate a live-in nanny. It also appeals to those who prefer more flexibility , allowing them to hire a nanny on an as-needed basis.

Live-in nannies

Live-in nannies live with the families they work for. This could be in their own room, in an apartment within the family home, or sharing a room with children to better attend to their needs during the night. The benefit of having a live-in nanny is that they can provide more consistent care, and act like an extended part of the family unit.

When it comes to deciding between a live-in nanny or a live-out nanny, there is no clear-cut answer. Each family’s needs and lifestyle will differ, so it is important to consider all the factors before making a decision.

For families that prefer more flexibility and lack the space or finances to accommodate a live-in nanny, then a live-out nanny is likely the better option. Live-in nannies, however, can provide more consistent care. This can be especially beneficial for those with infants or young children who require round-the-clock supervision. As well as providing extended childcare throughout the night and day, they can help out with additional duties such as grocery shopping, laundry and tidying up more easily – something which would be difficult with part-time or short-term babysitters.

Nanny housekeeper

When a nanny is required to perform housekeeping duties, they may be employed as a nanny housekeeper. As well as being professional childcare providers, nanny housekeepers must have the skills to carry out cleaning and tidying duties too. This requires the nanny to have strong organisational skills which will allow them to balance both responsibilities.

Nanny groom

Nannies Matter offers a unique branch of nannying roles called nanny grooms. On top of any other duties a nanny typically holds, a nanny groom has the expertise to work with horses. Nanny grooms are an example of how nannies can be versatile and the broad range and importance of their roles.

Nanny grooms are able to perform any general care for horses, including exercising, schooling, and maintaining their stables.

What qualifications must a professional nanny hold?

Professional nannies are not required to hold qualifications in child care and development, but nannies who do are considerably more employable and can implement skills and adapt to challenges much more reliably. It should be noted that any professionals who work with children must pass a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check before they can perform work. This will assess the nanny's background, including their criminal record, to determine whether they can legally work with children.

Qualifications that may help nannies with these skills include the Level 1 awards in Safeguarding and Introduction to Health, Social Care and the Children’s and Young People’s Settings. Following on from these foundational courses, the Level 2 Certificate for the Children and Young People's Workforce and the Early Years Practitioner qualifications will equip nannies with more advanced understanding and skills.

To work with children below the age of four, nannies must hold an early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework qualification. While babysitters may be informally employed to care for young children, doing so incurs a much higher risk than employing a qualified nanny.

In addition to certifications, nannies should also have experience caring for children in the age group they will be working with. They should demonstrate knowledge of appropriate activities and how to engage children in educational and fun activities that are age-appropriate. Nannies must be reliable, trustworthy, responsible and patient when dealing with young children.

Having a basic understanding of childcare laws is also important since nannies may be held liable for any incidents that affect the children under their care. For example, they must know the rules on swimming pool safety, car seat regulations if they are transporting the kids in their own cars; as well as other applicable regulations specific to their location.

Nannies should have good organisational skills so that they are able to coordinate all of these activities effectively without compromising the duration and quality of time spent with the children.

Finally, it goes without saying that having a love for working with children is essential for any nanny who wants to provide optimal care for the families they work with. Empathy and emotional intelligence are essential; understanding cues from a child and knowing when to step in are both important parts of being a successful nanny. Understanding how to establish boundaries while still providing unconditional support will help foster a safe environment where children can grow confidently and happily.

If you are looking to employ an experienced and qualified nanny, speak to Nannies Matter today. We understand the essentials and nuances of nanny work and will help you to find the right candidate for your unique family situation.

For expert advice, call us today on 0800 121 4881 or fill out an online contact form and we will return your call at a time convenient for you.

Alternatively, browse our careers page.

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