For many child care professionals there is a hot button issue when it comes to the terms people use to refer to their career choice. Are they a child care provider or babysitter? This simple title issue, calling them a daycare provider or babysitter, can be quite the hot topic for many providers. I frequently see this discussion in child care forums. Many providers highly dislike being called a “babysitter.”
I’ll admit I’m not a super big fan of the term babysitter when it’s used in relation to what I do but I can see how easy it is to use by people outside of the profession. Below you’ll find information on the difference between daycare providers and babysitters from a daycare provider’s point of view.
Please note this article is meant to explain why many professional daycare providers dislike the term “babysitter.” It is not a derogatory post about those that babysit or those that prefer to be called babysitters. This post also does not apply to nannies. Nannies are household employees which is a whole other set of regulations and responsibilities.
Daycare Provider or Babysitter?
After talking with many daycare providers over the years, here is my take of the difference between a babysitter and a daycare provider:
- Occasional, short term, not on daily basis
- Very short hours
- Usually in child’s home
- Does not guarantee hours/days that parent may need
- Is not required to have any education in child development field
- May or may not have first aid/CPR training
- No background checks required by state
- Is not limited to the amount of children they can care for at one time
- Per hour a babysitter will charge more ($7+/hr usually, depends on area and # of kids)
- Does not report income to IRS
- Regular, daily or consistent basis
- Care provided in home of provider
- Reliable and consistent schedule of availability to parents
- Generally first aid and CPR certified and have food handler’s certification
- May be registered or certified through a state/county office, in which their home must pass inspection and they are subject to random home inspections at anytime
- States require anyone providing consistent care (and all living in household) to any child must have a background check done and on file with the state
- Continued education in the field of child development is required yearly by the state
- Has limits on number of children and what ages of children they may care for by state laws
- May charge more monthly because care is more frequent, but when broken down hourly rate is cheaper than that of what a babysitter may charge ($2 -$3.50/hr typically while babysitters make $7-$10/hr)
- Reports their income to the IRS, which means parents can claim it on taxes as an expense
Personally, I feel as a daycare provider I am more dedicated and invested in the care that the children receive while in my care. A babysitter will obviously care about your child, but they are only there for a short time to entertain your child. A childcare provider on the other hand is with your child day after day for hours on end, daycare providers help children learn new skills (i.e. potty training & other life skills) as well as providing a fun and safe environment. As a parent, I do not expect as much from my babysitter as I do from a childcare provider.
In our society’s view of these two terms there is a distinct stereotype that goes with each of these terms. When I say babysitter most people picture a teen or college student that will come over for date nights or a few hours one afternoon in order to make some extra spending money. They didn’t picture someone that is running a business in order to provide for their families.
I think that difference is why many providers do not appreciate being called a babysitter, as it generally feels more negative to them and daycare providers already have a pretty negative stigma in our society. Professional daycare providers work hard with their kids everyday, most working 10+ hours a day, and the children become like members of their family. They want to feel respected by the families of the children they care for, not like an occasional babysitter doing this to make spending money.
What do you think about the child care provider or babysitter title?
Disclaimer: I know that not every daycare provider is amazing or highly educated. I also understand that many babysitters are highly qualified. I’m not implying that one is better than the other. I am simply stating the differences in what is perceived when someone says “daycare provider” or “babysitter” and why some providers feel one term is more offensive to their career choice. Please remember this post is written from a daycare provider’s perspective on why some in-home daycare providers feel that they do not fit the standard stereotyped version of the “babysitter” term.
Looking for more post about running a daycare? Check out my daycare page to learn about starting or running an in-home daycare.