Choosing Between An Aupair, Babysitter, and Nanny: Which is right for you?

May 01, 2022
  • It is fairly common for parents to seek in-home childcare services in addition to daycare centers. Some people are lucky to have family members around who can look after their children while they are away. For others, you may have to hire a nanny, babysitter, or an au pair. While it may sound like a simple choice for some people, it is a confusing choice for others, especially new parents.

    Do you need an au pair or a nanny or a babysitter? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The right choice for you depends on your needs, income, and location. To help you reach this decision, I will quickly explain the difference between all three options. Keep reading.


    Option 1: Babysitter

    Babysitters are typically the go-to in-home childcare choice for many families. In addition to being someone you know in your neighborhood, this option is great because their services are cheaper compared to other childcare workers and they provide the most flexible schedule. For example, you can hire a babysitter to watch your kids for a few hours and that’s it. You do not need any contract or paperwork. You also get to decide the time too. Say there is an emergency and you need someone to stay with your kid for an hour or two? The best call here is a babysitter because the negotiation is faster and you don’t need to go through an agency. Therefore, we can agree that hiring a babysitter is the right choice for you if you are a stay-at-home parent who needs a fast, short-term, cheap, and zero commitment childcare service.


    Option 2: Nanny

    Working parents will find nannies more suitable than babysitters because their services are usually long term and they are trained professionals working independently or vetted by a company. Since they will be working longer hours, you definitely want someone vetted that you can trust with your children. Unlike babysitters, these professionals are reliable and available for regular hours. In addition to caring for your child, nannies can take light home chores to ease your burden. This also means they charge higher than babysitters. They usually opt for monthly payments but some nannies may charge by the hour or weekly. That’s not all, you can also negotiate with a nanny to live with your family. It is not part of their job description but some of them may agree to this extra service for extra pay.


    Option 3: Au pair

    An au pair is the ultimate in-home childcare option if you are in dire need of round-the-clock assistance. They are vetted foreigners who come to a country with an au pair visa for the sole purpose of rendering in-home child care services. By definition, this means they will live in your home as a temporary member of the family. This could last for several months or until your kids go to college. They offer constant childcare services and assist with chores. In return, you offer them a home and weekly or monthly allowance. This allowance is lower compared to what you would pay a nanny because you provide housing and food for them. Another advantage of au pair is the bond with the family. It is easier for the children to form a bond with the au pair because they are always present. This is not the case with babysitters and nannies who may not be available the next time you call.


     My Final Take

    As you can see, each of these options is the right choice for someone. It all comes down to your needs. If you need a few hours of childcare services a few times a month, then a babysitter is the right choice for you. If you are going for a fairly reliable caregiver for at least 8-hours daily for the foreseeable future, then nannies are your best bet. However, if you are overworked and need round-the-clock assistance with your children and chores, you should totally consider au pair services. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each option before making your decision.

    Lastly, let me quickly add that some daycare centers like SLLA offer round-the-clock childcare services but at the center, not in your home.

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