Is it babysitting or is it child care?

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There is a difference between babysitting and child care.  The comparisons below will help you to determine which service you need in different circumstances.

Who does it?

Babysitting:  Usually teenagers

Child Care:  Usually adult females although the industry is getting more and more male child care providers.

What is it?

Babysitting:  Temporary care of children.  Usually part-time.

Child Care:  Permanent care of children, part or full-time.

When is it done?

Babysitting:  Nights, weekends

Child Care:  Daily during typical working hours

How often is it done?

Babysitting:  Once or twice a week, or less

Child Care:  Every working day of the year

Why is it done?

Babysitting:  For the sitter - to earn spending money  For the parent - to get a break from the kids

Child Care:  For the provider - to self-support. For the parent - A person to provide a safe and caring space for their children with guidance and educational opportunities.

How is it done?

Babysitting:  Babysitter usually cares for one family's children at a time.  Can be actively engaged with the children in play or be passively involved (supervising children while they are playing or asleep while babysitter engages in other activities like studying, watching TV, talking on the phone)  Meets the custodial need for children:  feeds, changes diapers, bathes, beds.

Child Care:  Child care provider meets the developmental and educational needs of young children. He or she stimulates language, intellectual, self-help, social/emotional, fine motor, and gross motor development by providing developmentally appropriate activities.  Is activetly engaged with groups of young children from several families simulateously.  Guides children toward positive behavior.

Where is it done?

Babysitting:  Typically the babysitter comes to the home of the family where services are required.

Child care:  In child care facilities that are environments specially designed for children.

How much does it cost?

Babysitting:  Usually a nominal per hour rate is charged based on the number of children.  Often left up to the discretion of the parent.

Child care:  Child care is a business.  Parents may be billed an hourly rate per child, or billed weekly or monthly at a predetermined rate per child.

What kind of training is required? 

Babysitting: No training is required.  Most babysitters have no training.  Some may attend a brief 1 -2 hour workshop on "how to babysit".

Child care:  Annual training is required by the state for all registered or licensed child care facilities.  Training varies from those who hold a baccalaureate degree, associates degree, a Child Development Associate credential, or just the minimum required training.