Do I Need a Nanny or a Babysitter?

We receive many questions from clients trying to determine whether they should be working with our long-term Chicago nanny side of our business or if their family’s needs would be better served with a Chicago babysitter. Which option is right for your family? Below is a description of the main differences, in order to set your expectations about our process. Please feel free to call us if you have any questions.

Long-term Nanny:

  • Consistent, set schedule
  • 20 hours/week or more
  • One long-term caregiver (typically a one year commitment, but we can do short-term for at least 3 months)
  • The agency fee is a one-time charge (see our Nanny Pricing page)
  • Families will likely have a several week process that includes creating a position description, viewing profiles, interviewing candidates, doing trial time, and completing employment agreement

More information about hiring a nanny.


  • <20 hours/week (minimum 4 hours each usage)
  • Multiple caregivers (while we do try to limit the number of caregivers that a family receives, our sitters have flexibility and provide us their schedule on a week-to-week basis)
  • Families use on an on-call or as-needed basis (can be a regular or irregular schedule)
  • Agency fees are charged per day of usage (see the Babysitter Pricing page)
  • Quick turn-around of placements; families will receive basic information about their assigned caregiver(s)

More information about using the babysitter services.

The reason that we must keep these two processes separate and defined is because of the very different nature of the caregivers that are in each “pool.” While all caregivers are screened the same way, there are various differences that exist between the two groups.

The typical profile of a First Class Care by Mom’s Best Friend nanny:

  • Caregiver seeking full-time work with a consistent schedule and 30+ hours/week (most are looking for 40+ hours/week; occasionally on a case by case basis, we are able to find nannies willing to do 20-30 hours/week)
  • Looking for a long-term position and is willing to commit to a family for at least one year
  • View the nanny profession as their career

The typical profile of a First Class Care by Mom’s Best Friend babysitter can vary greatly:

  • Caregivers may be college students, teachers looking for evening and weekend work, long-term nannies working on-call until they find a long-term position, stay-at-home moms looking for occassional work, caregivers with another part-time job (e.g., daycare centers) and many other iterations
  • Caregivers depend on the job flexiblity (they provide us weekly availability and are not able to commit to particular schedules or families)
  • Cannot give us long-term commitment (though many have been with First Class Care by Mom’s Best Friend for many years)