Families looking for in-home child care providers have several options to consider. To find the best caregiver for your family, consider your needs for qualified, convenient and reliable care to reduce stress, support your children and enrich your family.
What is a babysitter?
- A babysitter is someone who cares for children of any age, not just babies. Generally speaking, a babysitter is a child care provider that is called in to watch kids on a part-time, temporary or sporadic basis. For example, a babysitter is often called when parents have dinner plans and need someone to watch their children for the evening. A babysitter may watch a child for a few hours here and there each week, or a babysitter may watch children every Tuesday for a couple of hours. A babysitter may or may not have child care training, experience and references.
- An au pair is welcomed into an American household as family and provides live-in child care and cultural enrichment. Host families and au pairs meet requirements of the U.S. Department of State J-1 Visa Au Pair program to participate. Au pairs may watch children for up to 10 hours per day and 45 hours per week and often help out with child-related housework and meals, help with homework and transport kids to and from school, activities and appointments. Families and au pairs work together to plan schedules and responsibilities in order to keep a household running smoothly. An au pair must have child care training, experience and references per federal regulations.
What is a nanny?
- A nanny is someone that works full or part time caring for children. A live-in nanny resides with the family, while a live-out nanny resides in a separate residence. Both live-in and live-out nannies help families care for children and often help out with meals and housework, helping with homework and getting kids to and from school, activities and appointments. Families and nannies work together to plan schedules and responsibilities in order to keep a household running smoothly. A nanny may or may not have child care training, experience and references.
Choosing a child care provider is a very important and personal decision for families. To compare your child care options, you’ll want to consider many factors in addition to the details provided in this introductory overview of babysitters, nannies and au pairs.
Some families find a single child care option meets their needs, while others combine more than one to find the best solution to make their lives easier. Whichever options best suit your family’s needs, it’s a good idea to select a caregiver with documented child care and safety training, validated child care experience and excellent references.