Written by Brooke Strickland for Nannies Plus

“Babysitter” and “nanny”: these terms are often used interchangeably, though they are actually very different roles.

While they do provide similar services – taking care of kids while their parents are away – there are some key contrasts between the two!

Babysitters provide care for children on an informal, on-call basis.

They are usually hired for only short term in-home childcare, like on a bi-weekly, once-monthly, or as-needed schedule for a few hours each time. Sometimes, they are young adults or teenagers that work occasionally after school or on the weekend to earn some spending money, and the childcare is basic–they may play with the kids or assist them with simple meals. The role of a babysitter is to serve intermittently as a casual stand-in for parents, for things like date nights, fitness classes, or appointments. Under this casual arrangement, babysitters are exempt from overtime and minimum wage provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

A nanny’s job is much more intricate than a babysitter’s.

Nannies are hired on a long-term basis, providing regular childcare daily or weekly. They are not only involved in caring for the basic needs of the children while the parents are gone, but they are committed to building a lasting relationship with the kids and the family. Nannies may have professional training or certifications, and have proven professional experience working with families.

In many cases, they provide education for the children and foster their socio-emotional and physical development to support them in reaching milestones. A good nanny plays a key role in helping raise confident, well-rounded children! Many nannies become so integrally involved in the family that they work with them for years and become a beloved honorary family member. The kids often become very attached to the presence of the nanny in their life.

Hiring a nanny or family assistant means that they are covered through the Fair Labor Standards Act, which provides regulations around wages, overtime pay, and worker’s compensation. That means that your nanny or family assistant is a household employee. This requires you to be tax compliant.

Ready to find a dedicated professional nanny or family assistant that fits your family?

At Nannies Plus, we work hard to place experienced, compassionate nannies in homes around San Francisco, the East Bay, Marin and Sonoma counties. If you’re looking for an employee to join your family team this summer and beyond, let us help introduce you! Contact us today to get started.