Nanny vs Babysitter – The Pros and Cons

Nanny vs Babysitter

There are many options for childcare these days. How you decide which option to go with is a personal choice based on a variety of factors. Let’s look specifically at a nanny vs babysitter. Which is a better fit? It all depends on when and what you need the childcare for and any other responsibilities you want the caretaker to manage.

What is a Nanny?

A nanny is someone you hire to take care of your child, who becomes an employee of your family. Most nannies work a full-time job (and sign a contract) for the family, with consistent and regular hours. They are responsible for the well-being of your child and following through on the responsibilities you discuss with them. In addition, the longer period of time a nanny works for the family, the more involved they become in the development of the child and being a part of the child growing up.

What are some job responsibilities of a nanny?

  • Care for the child
  • Do minor household chores
  • Take the child to/from school or other activities
  • Plan & prepare meals
  • Organize activities
  • Keep them safe
  • Other responsibilities as discussed with the parent


The average nanny hourly rate nationwide is $19.31/hour. A typical payment schedule for a nanny is to get paid either weekly or biweekly and receive paid time off.

Pros for having a nanny

There are a lot of advantages to a nanny. A nanny can save you time, as there is typically no drop off/pick up time to factor into your day. There tends to be flexibility, the nanny may be able to come early or stay late depending on your needs (there may be additional compensation for any hours over what your contract is with the nanny). Your child gets one on one attention. Another plus is in many cases a deep bond develops and the nanny becomes a part of your family.

Cons to having a nanny

One downside of a nanny is there may be a lack of socialization with other children. Another factor to consider is the hourly rate of a nanny. A nanny typically charges a higher rate than a babysitter.

What is a Babysitter (also called a sitter)?

A babysitter is a caretaker that watches over your child when you are away. Oftentimes a babysitter can be younger and watches your child for shorter periods of time. In general, the sitter doesn’t have a set schedule, instead the babysitter is scheduled when a parent needs extra help watching their children.

What are some job responsibilities of a babysitter?

  • Watch over children
  • Make meals
  • Play with them
  • Put children to bed
  • Clean up the kids toys and/or have the kids do it
  • Keep them safe


In 2021 the average babysitter hourly rate nationwide is $18.36/hour. A babysitter is typically paid an hourly rate.

Pros for having a babysitter

An advantage for hiring a babysitter vs a nanny is the sitter is usually less expensive. If you are looking for just a few hours a week or one off occasions a babysitter is a great fit.

Cons to having a babysitter

One potential downside of a sitter as your childcare provider is how well they know your child. In other words, the more hours a childcare provider works with your child, the better opportunity to learn more about your child.

Overview Nanny vs Babysitter

Nanny vs BabysitterNannyBabysitter
Hourly Rate$19.31 $18.36
Payment Schedule Paid weekly or biweekly
Receives paid sick days and paid time off
Hourly, paid when they leave your house after each babysitting job
Work ScheduleConsistent/regular hours, oftentimes during the dayMay work a few hours at a time, oftentimes date nights
ProsCreates a close bond with your child, has set hours and compensationLess expensive, can use for one off occasions, no contract needed
RelationshipPersonal, many families form a close relationship with their nannyTransactional, unless you have set days a week that the sitter is watching your children.

The Decision: Choosing a caretaker – Nanny vs Babysitter

Choosing a childcare provider is a very important task and no answer is right or wrong. Whatever your choice, do your due diligence — have a set of interview questions ready, do a background check, contact references and read reviews if they are available. Don’t forget to make sure your expectations are clear. Lastly, trust yourself to make the choice that feels best for your family at that time.  

Need help finding a part and full-time babysitter or nanny? Search here at UrbanSitter. 

How Much You Should Pay a Babysitter in NYC

You cannot put a price tag on the care and well-being of your children. However, when you need to find babysitters in NYC for a one-time service or to fill an on-going need, you understandably do not want to pay more than necessary for quality care. If you are wondering how much to pay the best babysitters in the local area, focus on these tips.

Determine the Local Hourly Rate

Babysitters in NYC generally have established rates, and these rates may vary slightly by borough. Before you offer a specific rate to a babysitter, you should research the typical range of hourly rates in your community. One way to do this is to ask other parents for insight or check average babysitting rates online. This research will help you to set realistic expectations. Typically the average is $17.20/hr for 1 child, $20.85/hr for 2 children. Many babysitters will tell you what they typically charge, but you can rely on your research to determine if their rate is fair and competitive. The hourly rate generally will increase for each additional child.

Expect to Pay More for Experience

Experienced babysitters with a long list of satisfied clients may charge a higher rate. The best babysitters in the local area may also have special certifications, such as an infant CPR certification. Before you pay more for experience, ask the babysitter for a list of references. Spend time verifying references and inquiring about the rates that those individuals pay. While many parents would prefer to hire an experienced babysitter, you may not need or want to pay a higher rate for a babysitter with 15 years of experience versus 5 years of experience, especially for evening jobs where your child will be asleep most of the time.

Consider the Need for Special Services

Babysitters in NYC charge an hourly rate for typical services. This may include basic care in the home as well as meal prep and other basic needs. If your babysitter will be in your home regularly or for an extended period of time, you may ask him or her to do light housekeeping, to prepare meals for the whole family, to run errands with your children and to complete other general household tasks like pet care. You should offer a higher rate based on the types of additional services you need the individual to perform. Some people hire a babysitter to provide around-the-clock care, such as if the parents will be out of town for a few days. In these special situations, you may negotiate a special rate that provides reasonable compensation for the babysitter’s time and effort.

After you have found a trusted babysitter who your children love, you may consider offering a slightly higher rate or tip regularly on jobs. This shows your appreciation and may entice the babysitter to be more readily available when an urgent need arises.

Looking for a babysitter or nanny? Join UrbanSitter to browse profiles, sort by pay rate, and book jobs online.

How Much To Pay Your Babysitter in 2018 – Babysitting Rates

2018 Babysitting Rates Infographic by UrbanSitter

Deciding how much to pay your babysitter or nanny? According to UrbanSitter’s 2018 child care study of more than 20,000 families across the country, the average hourly babysitting rate is $16.43 for one child. Read on for babysitting rates in your city and more interesting facts:

  • San Francisco ranks as the most expensive city to hire a babysitter at $17.34/hour for one child. Phoenix is home to the least expensive babysitters in the nation: $11.83/hour for one child.
  • 60% of parents surveyed said they’ll spend over $1,000 on babysitters this year. 40% of parents surveyed will spend over $30,000 a year for their nanny.
  • Date nights are the number one reason that parents hire sitters.
  • 55% of parents surveyed will tip their babysitter, while 83% will offer extra perks like TV and free food.

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UrbanSitter’s 2017 Holiday Tipping Guide & New Year’s Eve Babysitting Rates

Ever wonder how much others tip around the holidays? UrbanSitter asked families to share how they handle holiday tipping – from babysitters and nannies to dog walkers and mail carriers. Here are a few highlights:

  • $50-$100 cash or gift card is the popular holiday tip for babysitters.
  • One week’s pay is what most families tip their nannies.
  • $15-$25 cash is the standard holiday tip for dog walkers.

With New Year’s Eve around the corner, many parents are wondering how to secure a babysitter for the big night. The answer according to our survey: pay 20% more than usual. Check the map below for average New Year’s Eve babysitting hourly rates in your area.

  • $17.88 per hour is the national average New Year’s Eve babysitting rate for 1 child. In New York City, it’s $18.81 per hour.
  • Free cab rides and dinner are among the “extras” parents use to entice sitters into taking the job.
  • 46% of parents surveyed tip extra just because it’s New Year’s Eve.



2015 Babysitting & Nanny Rates Survey

Ever wonder how much other families pay their babysitter or nanny? UrbanSitter gathered the answer from over 10,000 families to find out average babysitting rates in the US. Take look and see what the going rate is for a babysitter in your area!

2015 National Childcare Rates Inforgraphic

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