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Babysitting vs Childcare

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Is It Babysitting or Child Care?


Who does it? 

Babysitting: Usually teenagers
Child Care: Usually adult females 

What is it? 

Babysitting: Temporary care of children. Usually part-time.
Child Care: Permanent care of children. Can be 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 - to provide care, guidance, and educational opportunities for children while parents work. 

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 the children: feeds, changes diapers, bathes, beds.
Child Care: Child care provider meets the developmental and educational needs of young children. S/he stimulates language, intellectual, self-help, social/emotional, fine motor, and gross motor development by providing developmentally appropriate activities. is actively engaged with groups of young children from several families simultaneously. 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 specifically 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 at a predetermined rate per child. Some centers offer sliding fee scales for more than one child in a family or for low-income families. 

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 baby-sit".
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, or just the minimum required training.