Babysitting vs. Childcare: What's the difference?

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Difference between Babysitting and Childcare

When deciding who should take care of your child whether it be for a day or for everyday that you are working, there are two options that you have, either a babysitter or a child care provider. Either option will give you the outcome that you need, knowing that your child is being taken care of. However, there are many differences with the two. Each can offer a different experience for the child, a different cost, and the child’s environment is different.


Experience for the Child

When looking for someone to watch your child, you want to make sure that they are getting the attention that they need and deserve, thus when looking at options for care for your child you have to consider the experience that the child will get from each. With a babysitter, they will get more one on one attention, than if they were with a child care provider. A child care provider usually refers to the person running a business out of their home or another building in which many kids are grouped together. Thus, with a child care provider the kids do get more interaction with kids of their own age, however, not as much individual attention from the adults. Furthermore, a babysitter is going to be able to work as long as you need them to, whereas a child care provider has set hours.


The cost difference between the two really depends on the area in which you live and the number of children that you need care for. However, in most situations, a babysitter is going to charge less per hour than the child care provider does. The child care provider will charge the same rate all month long, even if the child does not attend each day. A babysitter charges on a basis of when you need that person to work. For those that have a steady job, either option is going to be available to them, however, the babysitter will usually be the cheapest option to go with.


The environment of each option is entirely different. The babysitter usually comes to your home or you take the child to their home. However, the most popular option is the babysitter comes to your home so that the child has his/her toys there and may feel more comfortable. The child care provider will mean dropping your child off at a different location. There will be a set daily calendar for when the child gets to play, nap and eat. Most people look at child care providers as a school since there may even be times of learning factored into the day. Positively, a good child care center can provide:

  • Structure
  • Routine
  • Kids learn to clean up after themselves
  • Kids learn to socialize with others
  • Learn to recognize and write the alphabet
  • Enjoy regular story time
  • Read and write numbers
  • Participate in art projects
  • Participate in cooking classes
  • Participate in music classes
  • Learn sign language
  • Enjoy positive reinforcement
  • Vigorous outdoor playtime


Both options are available to those that need to find care for their child. Which is better really depends on your personal situation and when you are going to need the child taken care of.

  • Babysitter
  • Comes to your home
  • Flexible times
  • More one on one time for the child
  • Usually cost less
  • Child Care Provider
  • Separate location than your home
  • More children with your child; limited one on one attention for one child
  • Higher cost
  • Set hours
  • Structured activities and learning opportunities


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