What is the Difference Between a Nanny and a Childminder?
Today there are a variety of options for childcare and the differences between them can be subtle. Nannies and childminders, for example, are often thought to be the same thing. In reality there are many differences between nannies and childminders, not the least being where they care for the children, how they must be trained and registered, how many children they can care for at any one time and the rates and “hidden fees” that each may require.
NanniesNannies are professional carers who will look after your children in your own home. Nannies do not need to register with the government, nor must they complete any training or certification prior to commencing work. Nannies will set their own terms regarding the number of children they will care for (for example, if they will look after your children’s friends as well), their working hours and pay rates, and if they will perform any other household chores or run any family errands while on duty.
As nannies live with the family for whom they work, there may be a variety of “hidden” costs associated with hiring a nanny. Feeding a nanny, housing a nanny, supplying a nanny with a mobile phone, adding a nanny to the car insurance, extra pay for babysitting beyond contracted working hours, and tax and National Insurance contributions for the nanny are all costs that families assume when they hire a nanny.
ChildmindersChildminders are professional carers who look after children in their own home. These childcare professionals must be registered and inspected by the Office for Standards in Education and insured to care for children in their homes. In addition, childminders will have completed basic training and first aid courses. There are some limits on the number of children that a childminder can care for at any one time.
Childminders may care for up to six children aged under eight years (including their own) and only three children aged under five years at any one time. Childminders are self-employed and therefore will set their own hours and rates, but may be willing to work evenings and weekends for an extra fee.
Selecting Appropriate ChildcareBoth nannies and childminders provide professional childcare so it should not be thought that one option is any safer than another. There are many options that necessarily influence a parent’s decision about childcare including hours, price, location, the carer’s childcare and punishment philosophies and a carer’s ability to fit well with the family schedule.
There is also the abstract factor of how comfortable a parent feels with a particular individual or how well their personalities match. It is rarely possible to judge all of this in just one interview or meeting, so parents should feel fine taking some time as a probationary period to see how well everyone gets along. However, parents should be upfront about this with their nanny or childminder so that everyone knows what to expect of the relationship.
Nannies and childminders are both professional carers, but there are differences between them. Parents interested in learning more about their childcare options should investigate a variety of different individuals and services before making any firm decisions.