Nannying vs babysitting

Quite a lot of people often get these two mixed up. It’s probably just an accident as some people may not actually know that there’s a difference. Only around 3 or 4 years ago I learnt that nannies actually existed and there are people like Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee out there. It wasn’t just a made up profession.

The very definition of a nanny is ‘a person, typically a women, employed to look after a child in its own home’. The definition of a babysitter is ‘a person who looks after a child or children while the parents are out’. They are very similar definitions so there’s no wonder why some people get these two very different professions muddled up.


Babysitting usually occurs a few hours an evening. Babysitters do not have to have any childcare qualifications, maintain a first aid certificate, a DBS check and can sometimes be young workers. I started off babysitting at age 13-14, I didn’t have any childcare qualifications and wasn’t first aid trained. I charged £5 an hour and my first babysitting family I cared for a 6 month old baby and a 4 year old. I turned up and the children were usually asleep. I spent my evening sitting eating snacks the family had provided for me and watching a bit of television. Babysitters often turn up to care for children during an evening while the parents go out. The children are often asleep on arrival.


Nannying is a job, a career. A nanny or manny (male nanny) is a person usually with special training who is employed to care for children in the child’s household. Nannies are expected to have childcare qualifications, first aid training and have a clean DBS check. Nannies are expected to care for children all day while their parents go to work, some nannies work 60+ hours a week. Nannies are a big support system for the family. Nannies not only take the children to school/nursery, we take the the children to toddler groups, arrange playdates, take them out to parks, museums, libraries. We cook, clean, do washing, iron and dog walking. On top of that we plan activities, teach and encourage the children in our care to thrive, be entertained and be happy. We help with homework, school projects and run errands such as collecting parcels and grocery shopping. We do the bedtime routine, we bathe and put the children to bed.

Nannies are employed by the parents. We get a monthly pay check, we pay taxes and National Insurance. We are professionals who run a house while the parents are at work, we work as part of a team to help raise tiny human beings.



6 thoughts on “Nannying vs babysitting

  1. Jenni, Thank you for this post! I make it my duty to educate all parents on the difference between a nanny and a babysitter as well. You did a great job explaining the two. Keep up the great work and well wishes on your amazing blog.

    Crystal “The Nanny Broker” Crawford, MSW
    Elite Metro Nannies, Owner


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