What Is the Difference Between Babysitter and Daycare?

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    The difference between a babysitter and a daycare worker starts with the amount of training, certification and licensing daycare workers need to go through to work legally. 

    In addition, daycare workers usually provide more help with child development. 

    For many new parents, going back to work is one of the most challenging decisions they have to make after the birth of their child. 

    The transition can be challenging, especially for mothers due to their powerful bonds with their children. 

    But it's inevitable for most families, and it's something that both the child and their parents have to deal with.

    Understanding the difference between daycare and babysitting will help you decide if you want to offer casual babysitting services or prepare for a part- or full-time career as a daycare provider.

    Having a nanny or care provider look after your little one is becoming increasingly popular these days. 

    When both parents work, it becomes increasingly authoritarian to look after their kid(s). 

    While several options are available for working parents, babysitting and daycare/child care are the two most familiar options. However, there exists a difference between the two services. 

    Here it is.

    Babysitting Vs Childcare

    Using the services of a nanny (the old fashioned word) to look after your tiny tots is becoming increasingly popular these days, and no longer is it a prerogative of the rich and famous. 

    When both parents are working, it becomes challenging to look after kids and ensure their safety at home. 

    There are many options available for the purpose, and babysitting and childcare are two prevalent ones. 

    However, there are differences between these two services that you need to know to choose better suited for your requirements.

    The Key Difference

    A daycare means an institution where parents/guardians drop their children to be looked after during work hours. 

    Babysitting is the act of a child being watched over temporarily. Babysitting is a form of daycare.

    Daycare, as suggested by the name, refers to the act of a child being looked after during the daytime, as his parents/guardians can't do so due to their work responsibilities. 

    Daycare is often inevitable for working parents and, in most cases, proves to be a boon. 

    Dropping the children off at such an institution means that the parents don't have to worry about their child's safety and security, which allows them to focus on their work single-mindedly. 

    Daycare may be performed at a daycare centre or at a child's residence itself. In addition, daycare comprises sub-variants such as nanny care, babysitting, family daycare etc.

    Babysitting is the act of a child being watched over temporarily. Babysitting is a form of daycare. 

    This facility is opted for by Parents/guardians who can't stray back at home to look after their kids due to their work commitments. 

    Babysitters are usually teenagers who carry out such activities for some quick and easy pocket money. 

    As part of babysitting, a child is expected to be fed well, watched over while he's sleeping and played with if necessary. 

    Babysitters generally go through a formal babysitting course before they begin professional babysitting. 

    This course acquaints them with the know-how of child safety and general well-being, allowing them to act correctly and independently in an emergency.

    Comparison Between Daycare And Babysitting:



    Babysitting is generally done by teenagers who do this in return for money. 

    As teenagers do not have all the time to devote to babysitting, this is part-time, temporary baby care. 

    Generally, in every locality, you will find such kids who perform the role of a babysitter. They are always ready to provide their services on nights and even weekends.

    If you have asked a teenager to babysit previously, you probably know that they would only provide services once or twice a week. 

    Of course, this depends on her availability and your terms and relations with her family. The primary purpose of babysitting is to let parents have quality time together when going out. 

    Parents get a break from kids, and the babysitter gets money for her services. Thus, there are both active as well as passive babysitters.

    Active ones play with kids while passive ones quietly supervise them, ensuring their safety. 

    The babysitter comes to the home whenever her services are required, and parents inform her well in time to allow her to come prepared. 

    Babysitters get hourly rates that go up with the number of children to be looked after. No formal training is required to become a babysitter, and anyone with the patience to look after kids can become a babysitter.

    Despite being the costlier of two options, many parents go for a nanny because they feel it's best if a child is being taken care of in their own home. 

    Parents feel that the child will be more comfortable in the surroundings they are familiar with and have all the things they need.

    Parents also have more control when a nanny takes care of the child since the nanny can give them constant updates and send pictures to them. 

    This way, they will know what their child is up to. In addition, the parents have total control of what their child eats, wears, and plays in their own home. 

    Also, if parents don't change nannies often, the child can form a strong emotional attachment, which can be positive for early development.

    The cons of choosing a babysitter/nanny over daycare are cost, competency, and parenting style conflicts. 

    Having a full-time nanny is significantly costlier. Also, a nanny doesn't require specific qualifications and skills (apart from child-rearing and housekeeping).

    So unless you are going with a highly qualified, well-trained and very expensive nanny, your child will get primary care (and love), but nothing more that may add to their development. 

    And lastly, if your perceptions about discipline, care, teaching, playing, and other parenting elements are different from the nanny, it can be detrimental to your child's development. 

    Two very conflicting parenting styles may confuse the child, and they may subconsciously start favouring one over the other.


    Childcare is usually provided by adult females, either full time or part-time. 

    This is different from babysitting because the service provider is in close contact with the kids most of the time. 

    Childcare is just like any other job, and such females work for 8-10 hours a day on every working day of the week. 

    Childcare providers do it for self-support, while parents are assured that their kids get proper care and guidance. 

    Childcare providers meet the developmental and educational requirements of a growing child and help in small kids' language and motor abilities. 

    She also looks after the emotional and social requirements of the kids while getting the kids involved in activities appropriate for their age. 

    A childcare provider is a professional who guides a kid to develop positive behaviour.

    Childcare is provided both at home and at childcare centres that are open all days of the week and provide all facilities to satisfy parents about the safety of their kids. 

    Childcare is a business where parents are charged on an hourly basis. 

    All states in the country require centres providing childcare providers to get annual training for the purpose. However, this training varies depending upon the service provider's educational qualifications.

    What Babysitters Do

    A typical babysitter watches children while the parents are out for a few hours, such as when adults go to the movies, a ball game or a party. 

    While babysitters might have regular customers, they generally don't have regular schedules. 

    Once a babysitter starts working long hours with the same children, she moves into the nanny realm.

    Most states don't have specific laws or regulations for babysitting, but some have rules regarding age limits to prevent young children from having responsibility for toddlers.

    Baby sitters don't have specific job descriptions – parents mostly want sitters to keep their children safe, supervised and happy. 

    Some babysitters are very involved with children, taking them swimming, going outside for walks, playing games or preparing lunch or dinner. 

    Babysitters who tend very young children in the evening often watch TV, do homework, talk on the phone or use their computers or smartphones while the children sleep.

    If you'd like to become a more sought-after babysitter, spend more time with children, especially in developmental activities, such as reading, teaching them to use a computer, helping them learn to cook or teaching them a sport or musical instrument.

    While daycares are not exactly the Wild West for children, one of their primary benefits is exposure. 

    At daycare, your child gets to socialize with other kids. It can help them develop better social skills, learn to fend for themselves, and have access to multiple (ideally, trained) caretakers to teach them, as well as care for them.

    A daycare centre with professional teachers and accredited caretakers that understand how their behaviour and schooling can impact the development of children under their care can help set a solid foundation for your child.

    With so many children, more extensive daycare facilities usually can't provide the individual care each child might need. 

    There is less flexibility, and unlike a nanny that can wait around if you are late from work, you will have to pick your kid up from daycare (or arrange for someone else to do so). Relatively fewer daycares can cater to specific diet and care requirements for kids with fragile health, and they might cost as much like a nanny.

    What Daycare Providers Do


    Daycare providers look after children for more than just a few hours and must keep children entertained, fed, clean and safe. 

    Parents prize daycare locations that provide educational and physical development activities for their children.

    Entry-level daycare workers who work for a centre will do more chores for the business, such as buying supplies and food, cleaning the facility, answering phones and assisting more senior providers with games and activities. Many start with only a high school diploma.

    Daycare providers usually follow a daily schedule of activities to ensure kids are entertained, take naps, are fed, go to the bathroom and get some physical activity. 

    Daycare providers must help children with emotional situations that can arise one day at a time (such as when a child gets upset after losing a game) or can be a continuing issue (such as shyness or aggressiveness).

    In-home Vs. Daycare Center

    Some daycare providers work out of their homes. They either provide the care themselves, seeing only one or a handful of children or hire additional providers so they can take more children. 

    State laws regulate in-home daycare centres, with providers required to have some training and the business and leading provider to be licensed by the state. In-home daycare provider assistants are often part-time contractors who are paid hourly and do not receive additional benefits.

    The home must meet various physical requirements and will be inspected to see that the house provides adequate bathroom facilities, safe food handling and a safe environment.

    Daycare centres can be stand-alone businesses or be connected to a company (for its employees or customers), a university, a civic organization or a military base. 

    They must also hire licensed providers and pass an inspection. 

    A daycare centre usually has more equipment, rooms and activities, so daycare centre workers will need more training than in-home workers – at the very least, learning to use all of the centre's equipment, which can include computers.

    Daycare workers at high-end centres can work as full-time employees with regular schedules and benefits such as health insurance. 

    Both in-home and daycare centre businesses must have a city business license and carry general liability insurance.

    Requirements For Daycare Workers

    Depending on your state, you will need no training, certification or licensing to work as a casual babysitter. 

    You won't need a business license or liability insurance. The only legal requirements you'll face are age limits, the number of children you can sit with, and how many hours you can work at one time.

    If you plan on working as a babysitter on a regular business and want to earn more money, consider taking low-cost or free babysitting, CPR and First Aid courses. 

    Contact your local police department to learn where you can get a free or low-cost criminal background check.

    Even if you don't make enough to pay income tax, you still need to file a tax return. Talk to a tax expert to learn whether or not you'll need to file a return based on your income and age.

    Child care providers who work at in-home or daycare centres can start with no certification or specific education, receiving on-the-job training. 

    The more training and education you have, the more attractive a candidate you'll be than others are applying for the same job. 

    In addition to taking courses, take a child psychology class at your local community college. Look for child care provider certification courses that lead to a diploma or certificate.

    Pay For Babysitters And Daycare Workers

    What you'll earn as a babysitter largely depends on the going rate in your area and any extra training and experience you have. 

    In addition to courses and a background check, consider putting up a website with information about yourself, links to child care articles, client references, and your availability and rates.

    To set your rates as a babysitter, call parents you know and ask what they've been paying. 

    Ask them if they are happy with the quality of babysitting in the area and pay more for a sitter with babysitting, CPR and First Aid training. 

    You can also lookup babysitting ads on websites like NextDoor, Facebook and Craigslist.

    Pay for daycare centre workers depends on what type of daycare centre you work in and your area. 

    Affluent areas or few daycare centres can charge parents more and pay their staff more.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), child care providers earned median pay of ​$12.24​ per hour or ​$25,460​ per year. 

    These figures are for all child care workers, and the BLS doesn't provide a breakdown for entry-level, in-home or certified providers.

    The best way to find out what daycare providers earn in your area is to look at employment websites that provide salary estimates by state or extensive metro areas. These sites include Indeed,, PayScale, Zippia and ZipRecruiter. The pay rates you'll see come from advertised jobs placed by employers in the area you search.

    Which One Is The Best Choice?

    A daycare provider is relatively more dedicated and reliable in the kids' care while in the child care centre. 

    On the other hand, babysitters are not likely to care much about the quality of the care they offer because they are not professionals and only available for a short period. 

    Daycare providers teach values and skills to the children, which a babysitter does not usually give.


    It might be challenging to make the right choice right away, and you may want to try both options to end up with the right one. Whichever option you choose, make sure to do proper due diligence and research.

    If you are considering choosing a nanny, interview them thoroughly to ensure their competence and ensure you are on the same page regarding care and parenting. 

    If you are going with daycare, it's a good idea to talk to as many parents of the kids in daycare as you can. And understand what the daycare can and cannot provide.

    In brief: Babysitting and childcare are two very popular options for parents to have arrangements for their small kids to be looked after in their absence. While babysitting is temporary, childcare is done on a permanent basis. Babysitters come at home whereas childcare service is available at such centers.

    Day care. While day care is expensive, it's often considerably cheaper than hiring a full-time nanny or baby sitter. Still, as with baby-sitting, you'll want to choose your child's day care carefully.

    The person providing childcare at the home of the child for whom they are caring, has many job titles: Babysitter, Mothers Help, Au-Pair, Nanny. These could all be considered to be the same thing, though there may be differences in what duties the person has.

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