My Best Parenting Advice: What’s the Difference Between a Nanny and a Babysitter by Beth Weise

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While Nannies today don’t look anything like this one from Downton Abbey, their Number One responsibility is your child. But do you know the difference between a nanny and a babysitter. Beth Weise, from A Caring Nanny is here to help.

The easiest way to tell the difference between a nanny and a babysitter is to give some examples. If two children are fighting over a riding toy, a babysitter will simply swoop it up and distract the children with another activity.  

     But a Nanny will see this as a learning opportunity and will as questions, like: “What did you do?” or “What was wrong with that?” or “What would have been a better way to handle that situation?” or “Can you tell your brother you’re sorry and ask him to forgive you?” to get the children thinking about their behavior and how they could have done things differently. She is thinking about the whole child, their character, manners, and values.
     A Nanny comes in with a plan. She’s thinking about small muscle, large muscle development, social, emotional, cognitive, and language development. She’s thinking about the age the child is now and what to expect three months out, and how to accelerate development through art and crafts, books, asking questions, outdoor activities, finger plays, music, books and field trips. Her main priority is the child’s character, especially to develop qualities like creativity, attentiveness, kindness, honesty, courage, self-discipline resilience and a joy in living, all foundational to success.
     If a two year old discovers an earthworm under some new sod, a babysitter may quickly wash hands, but the Nanny may start a worm farm in a quart jar, get a library book about worms, do art projects about worms and do music and movement and talk about how important worms are to us. (There would be no food on the earth without the hard work worms do for us!)
     If a toddler is eating blueberries, she may ask him to count them, and count agin when one is eaten. If he can cut a banana slice in half, she’ll be talking about halves and quarters.
     A Nanny has years of professional experience and possibly an educational background and sees herself as a teacher. She usually becomes a part of the family and is considered almost a third parent. She may have more experience than the parents and can give parents insights about ages and stages. She may spend more time with the child than the parents and keeps a log or reports about the child’s day. She works full or part time, but has a regular salary or hourly pay, and gets paid 52 weeks per year. She usually gets paid holidays and vacations and has a written working agreement with her family. This is a career for her.
     A babysitter usually comes when needed, is on call, and keeps the child safe, fed and puts them to bed. She is paid hourly.
     If you are mostly an at-home parent and only work 10-15 hour per week, a babysitter may be a good option for your household. But if parents are both in demanding full-time positions, a nanny can be an essential element of your child-rearing strategy.One more difference. A Nanny oftentimes has down time during naps or when a child is in preschool.She may throw in a load of laundry or get dinner started. She will often grocery shop or pick up a gift for the weekend birthday party. This way, the family has more quality time to capture those fleeting cherished relationships.

      

Beth Weise

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Beth started Caring Nannies in 1983 after working 13 years in the teaching profession. She received double majors in Education and Biology from Arizona State University and has since taught preschool through high school in public and private schools. She has taken many additional educational and counseling courses and seminars and is well-read in the childcare field. Beth also worked as a Baby Nurse for 14 years, including quadruplets, triplets and twins. As a working mom, she has a passion to help children learn in a way that delights them. Having five children and ten grandchildren and counting, she has had her own Live-In and Out Nannies over the years, so she feels compassionate towards the needs of both the nannies and caregivers. Her goal is developing trusted, secure and long-term relationships between families and caregivers. In her free time, she loves mountain bike riding, gardening, hiking, camping on the Mogollon Rim and spending time with family and friends.