What’s the Difference between a Childminder and a Babysitter

*Collaborative Post

Many working or simply busy parents rely on the assistance of childminders or babysitters to look after their children. As you balance the many responsibilities in your life, assitance with childcare can be invaluable. However, do you need a childminder or a babysitter?

You may be wondering what the difference is between these two designations, and what you can expect from both types of carers.  In this article, we’ll outline the key differences between the two, as well as some important information to know when hiring someone to look after your children.

Job Responsibilities

A babysitter is primarily responsible for looking after the child in their care. However, they are not expected to look after the long-term development of the child. Rather, a babysitter is a temporary arrangement. They may play with the child and look after them, usually for a few hours. A childminder, on the other hand, is meant to provide complete care for the children under their care and help to bring them up in the healthiest way by focusing on their mental and physical development. A childminder does the job of a babysitter as well as being responsible for higher level tasks, including helping to educate the child.


As a childminder’s job is much more serious than a babysitter’s, they must be adequately qualified to undertake the responsibility. They must have undergone a childminding course (EYFS for children under 5 years and Childcare Register for children above that age) to be qualified to do the job. Also, they are required to be trained in first aid for paediatrics and safeguarding.

Legal Requirements

While a babysitter’s job can be a temporary and informal one, a childminder is bound by clear, official rules and regulations concerning. A childminder must be at least 18 years of age to qualify for the role and must register with the relevant government authority, which is OFSTED in the UK. They must also have Public Liability insurance and cannot provide care for more than six children under eight years of age.

Place of Work

Usually, babysitters work at the home of the child. They are responsible to look after the child while its parents are away during the day or for the evening. On the other hand, in the case of a childminder, the job is usually done at the childminder’s own home or a child care centre.

How Much Does a Childminder Earn?

How much a childminder can make depends on a range of factors, such as the geographical region, the number of children under their care, and the number of hours they are willing to work every week. The typical income of childminders in the inner London region is £37,000. However, that is not a rigid rule and it is possible to earn much more. On the other hand, while childminders can ask for £7.9 per hour to look after a child in the inner London region, the rate is typically less in other areas.

There are other factors that may impact a childminders’ income. For example, childminders can charge more for weekends and after hours. On the other hand, a childminder is only allowed to have a maximum of six children under their care, including their own little ones, and only three can be under five years old. Therefore, if they have a toddler at home, the can look after few children and this will reduce their earnings.

Prerequisites to be  a Childminder

As mentioned above, a childminder is a qualified individual and is liable to comply with legal obligations.

As such, there are a number of pre-requisites to become a professional childminder:

  • Pass a childminding course and register with OFSTED: A course  covering EYFS curriculum is a basic requirement to become a childminder qualified to take care of children under five years of age. To take care of older children, childminders need to register with the Childcare Register.
  • Get trained in pediatric first aid and safeguarding: The typical requirement is a 12-hour course to be completed in pediatric first aid.
  • Enhanced DBS check: This is not only required for the childminder, but also for other members in their household.
  • Health certification: A health certificate is also required, declaring that the childminder is fit to do the job.
  • Food registration: This is required if the childminder provides food at their home. They must be registered in the same way as a food company.
  • Information Commission Registration: Registration at the Information Commissioner’s office, which will include the details of the children the childminder looks after and their parents.
  • Public Liability Insurance: A childminder is also required to purchase public liability insurance.

Childminding is a completely different ball game to babysitting. Whether you are looking for a childminder to take care of your child or considering becoming a childminder yourself, it’s important to know the various rules and requirements.

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