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Babysitters and Nannies

Get details on the duties and training requirements for babysitters and nannies.

Typically, full-time nannies should have more training and experience than hourly babysitters. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Typically, full-time nannies should have more training and experience than hourly babysitters.

While babysitters and nannies both fall under the category of child care workers, there are some distinct differences between the two. Babysitters typically supervise and care for children on an as-needed basis. Nannies, on the other hand, provide regular care for a family's children. According to the International Nanny Association (INA), nannies are employed by a family and manage all tasks that relate to the care of the children. Babysitters and nannies have distinct responsibilities and job duties, as well as divergent qualifications and rates of pay.

Responsibilities of Babysitters and Nannies

For both babysitters and nannies, the primary responsibility is to ensure the well-being of the children in their care. Babysitters and nannies can expect to put more time and effort into the care of older children than the care of infants and toddlers. Responsibilities are also based on a number of other factors, from the age and experience of the babysitter to the children's specific needs.

Nannies, however, are more involved in the intellectual, social, and emotional needs and developments of the children for whom they care. Many nannies are expected to commit to working for a family for one year in order to provide stability for the children in the family.

Duties of Babysitters and Nannies

Babysitters, who typically work on an hourly, as-needed basis, are often involved in such activities as dressing, feeding and bathing the children they care for, as well as supervising their playtimes. Depending upon the hours that babysitters work, they may be required to wake children up or put them to bed. Reading books, playing games and disciplining bad behavior are also commonplace.

Nannies usually provide their services for a single family, and they may work from 40 to 60 hours each week. While they often perform some of the same daily duties as babysitters, nannies are responsible for the all-encompassing care of the children in the family. Typical duties include taking care of the children's basic needs, doing laundry and child-related clothing care, providing guidelines for behavior, disciplining when necessary, organizing play dates and activities, encouraging intellectual stimulation and transporting children when necessary.

Qualifications and Certifications for Babysitters and Nannies

For babysitters, special training or certification is not necessarily expected. However, the Red Cross and YMCA conduct classes, and babysitters that complete a class receive certification from the agency. In addition, babysitters certified in first aid and CPR make good candidates for jobs. Potential babysitters should also be at least 12 years old if caring for toddlers or older children. If infants are to be cared for, then babysitters should be older.

According to Somerset Medical Center, the younger the child being cared for, the older the babysitter should be. It is also important for babysitters to have experience with children of similar ages, either from working for another family or from younger siblings.

Nannies may or may not have formal education and training, but they commonly have an extraordinary amount of child care experience. In the United States, the demand for nannies is high; therefore, many nannies without any formal training can find jobs working for families.

Training programs are available for nannies in the United States as well as in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. Such programs offer coursework in nutrition, safety, play activities, child development, CPR and first aid. In the United States, nanny training programs that offer certification take from six weeks to one year to complete. Some nannies may have an associate's or bachelor's degree in childhood education.

Because full-time work as a nanny can be overwhelming, candidates should be mature and have the aptitude for working with children. Many nanny agencies will not refer candidates that are younger than 20 years old.

Average Pay for Babysitters and Nannies

Babysitters are typically paid per hour of work. The national average rate of pay for babysitters is $10 to $12 per hour, depending on the age of the babysitter. However, according to  Parenting magazine,the closer babysitters are to a major city, the higher the rate of pay. There are additional factors that may affect the rates of pay for babysitters, such as experience, CPR and first aid training, number of children to care for and the ability to drive.

Like the average rate of pay for babysitters, the pay for nannies also varies depending on the area of the country, as well as qualifications and experience. According to the International Nanny Association, the average salary for live-in nannies with little experience ranges from $250 to $400 per week. For live-in nannies with additional training and experience, a salary of $350 to $1,000 per week is average. For nannies that work part-time and do not live with the family, the average rate of pay is $7 to $20 per hour. Typically, nannies who work extra hours during the week receive an additional amount of pay or more time off.

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