What Is the Definition of a "Nanny" vs a "Sitter"?

Updated on July 17, 2011
M.. asks from Anchorage, AK
11 answers

I asked a question earlier about my "nanny" and quite a few people said she not a "nanny". So I am wondering if I am using the wrong term. Let me explain: I have a sitter/nanny. She came to my home everyday and watched my daughter. She cooked and cleaned while she was here. So I thought of her as a "nanny". Well, earlier this year she wreckd her car and was having a hard time getting to my house everyday as she was relying on friends for rides. So I agreed to take my child to her house until she found another car. Well, its been a few months now and I am still taking my child to her house lol. But anyway, would you consider this a nanny? Or is this a sitter? Thanks. I was just curious if I was using the wrong term. What is the difference between a nanny and a sitter?

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answers from Tampa on

A Nanny is one who is a full time employee - generally one who cares for children, tho many can and do light housework around the house. Most Nannies have a good amount of experience and CPR/1st Aid Certified.

Sitters are the sporadic, call when needed for date night kinda thing. They are usually paid less also.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Nanny ~ A nanny is employed by a family in either a live-in or live-out basis. The function of a nanny is to essentially be responsible for all care of the children in the home in a largely unsupervised setting. Duties are typically focused on childcare and any household chores or tasks related to the children. A nanny may or may not have any formal training; however, many have significant actual experience. A nanny typically works full-time of at least 40 hours a week.

Sitter ~ A babysitter provides supervisory/custodial care of children typicallly on a part-time or an as-needed basis. No special training or background is required; however, the babysitter should possess the ability to respond to a crisis situation, communicate effectively with parents, and have basis first aid skills.

She sounds like a helpful sitter.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

(I read your other post, about her pay... )

She is a Child Care Provider.
Or Whatever she rather be called.
have you asked her???
BUT.... If she is just a "Mom" who is babysitting your child... and you like her, then why don't just ask her what she wants to be called?
Its not like she is professionally 'licensed' (or is she?), and is just a Mom, with a child herself, who you like and is caring for your child too.

I did child care in my Home.
Parents called me their Child Care Provider.
Or away from home Nanny.
Or babysitter.
I didn't care.
My job was to do child care for their child, at my home.
And even if it was in their home, my job would be to watch the CHILD... not do maid service, too.
Or they would have to pay me more.

Either you want them to watch your child, OR, clean your home and do errands/cook for you. And if you want them to do BOTH... keep in mind how it is to tote a child around, transport them AND do housecleaning and errands & cooking... with your child, in tow. So, how much time, do you want the "Nanny" to actually spend, with your child?
As a Mom, we ALL know, how much time it takes to clean/do errands and cook.... for our family. Factor in your Nanny having to 'babysit' & entertain and supervise your child too.... at the same time.
That is... arduous.

Payment to her, should not be pettily minced up, just because she is at your home or hers. REGARDLESS, even if watching your child at her home, HER home has to be, made appropriate for your child/have food/have a place for your child to nap/have toys for your child/she has to clean her home for your child & per safety etc.

Just because I watched kids at my home, does not mean it is cheaper, for me. I STILL had to have things in my home, for THEIR child.... and make it child proofed and have foods/equipment for their child too. Not only for my own kids.
I kept my kids stuff and the other child's separate.
It is, a lot of work... to have child care or Babysit in the child provider's home too.
It is not, just a cruise job.
EVERYDAY... after the child left... I had to again, clean MY house & organize it... and get it ready again, for the next day. Again. Everyday.

And, since your "Nanny" will be driving your kid to and from school... I hope you bought HER... a car seat for her car????? Too.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I consider a nanny a full time provider for your child/children only. I don't think it makes a difference if they do housework or not. I see a sitter as a temporary provider for your children (hiring someone for date night) or someone who watches children from multiple families at the same time. If your provider is only caring for your children, then I'd still consider her a nanny even if she is keeping them at her house. Although, at this point, I'd start making her come back over to your house since her salary included doing some housework for you as she was doing that before.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

She sounds like what I would classify as a nanny, she has regular hours, only watching your child (but some families share nannies). To me a sitter is someone that you call every now and then to help out watching the kids for a few hours.

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answers from Kansas City on

Well she obviously started out as a nanny and become a sitter.

When a person provides care in their own home they are allowed to care for multiple children from multiple families. They need to claim their own business expenses and pay their own employment and state and federal taxes.

When they work for you at your home it's your job to collect these taxes from their pay and remit them AND, you are to match their social security taxes that they pay.

Daycare providers set their own rates, provide food, learning games, equipment, and the wear and tear is placed on their things.

Nannies follow your schedule, and you provide the food and activities for your child.

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answers from Chicago on

She could be a nanny or a sitter or both, but it sounds like she is good to your child, you like her, so you can refer to her as anything you like. Just enjoy the fact that you have a wonderful caretaker for your little one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Medford on

Id have to say she was a nanny at one point and became a sitter. I dont think its a big deal what you call her. Its helpful in reference to what she is paid and what you expect from her when the situation changes, such as school starting and hours changing. That was the reason I commented before about her being a daycare and not a nanny. Now that youve given more of the story to us, it makes sense to have called her a nanny. I hope I didnt offend you by the statement or come off as rude.
Since she used to come to your home and do other chores, it would be a perfect time to approach her with the idea of gettng back to that arrangement when you return from your 2 week vacation. You had her there cleaning and cooking, and gave her 2 raises, and then she started doing less for you. Maybe its time to get back to her previous position and do what you are paying her for.
When I was a teenager, cleaned house and babysat for several familes. Most of these couples had 3 and 4 kids. I made beds, did laundry, dishes, vacuumned, cleaned bathrooms and kitchens, I did the whole house and watched the kids while they went out and got their hair done and shopped, met friends for lunch, and who knows what else. All this, for 50cents an hour! And I remember many times when they owed me $3.50 and handed me $4 and asked for the change.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Nannies come into your house. This lady was certainly a nanny when she started with you. Now she's just a sitter since you take your child there. Hopefully you pay less now since she's not doing housework and you have to transport your child!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Never thought of this before so I looked at the definition. Nanny is someone who's responsibility is for the children only. They don't do any sort of housework or cooking. To me a sitter is the same thing. Even a "live in nanny's" only responsible for the kids. If they take on more than the kids, that's they're choice, but it's not what is expected of them. So I guess if she's doing all that at your house, I hope you're paying her for the extras she's doing.

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answers from Kansas City on

nanny |ˈnanē|
noun ( pl. -nies)
1 a person, typically a woman, employed to care for a child in its own home.

babysit |ˈbābēˌsit|
verb ( -sitting; past and past part. -sat) [ intrans. ]
look after a child or children while the parents are out;

sitter |ˈsitər|
2 [usu. in combination ] a person who looks after children, pets, or a house while the parents or owners are away : a house-sitter.

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