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What is a part-time nanny — and do you need one?

A part-time nanny may be the perfect child care option for your family. Learn what part-time nannies do, how to find one and how much they cost.

What is a part-time nanny — and do you need one?

Whether you’re looking for a new babysitter or nanny who is fluent in Spanish or cooks like a “Top Chef,” every family has a list of “must-haves.” What many families don’t realize, however, is that they’re often posting a job description for an after-school sitter when what you really need is a part-time nanny!

If you’re searching for an experienced, longer-term, hands-on caregiver who is fully invested in your child’s ongoing development and well-being, but you only need someone a few days a week or a few hours each day, a part-time nanny may be exactly what you need. “Part-time nannies are essential for the family’s routine and functioning, as they offer consistency and reliability,” notes Alie Moya, founder of Brooklyn Manny and Nanny.

Here, Moya and others explain what a part-time nanny is, and share why changing your job posting from “weekday sitter” to “part-time nanny” may help you find the qualified candidates you want.

What is a part-time nanny?

A part-time nanny “should have the same qualifications that full-time nannies possess,” says Becky Kavanagh, owner of Busy B Services and former co-president of the International Nanny Association. A part-time nanny may care for the children before and/or after school or a few days a week. Maybe the family only needs help while a parent works part time or on days the kids are home from school. 

What makes a nanny part time, not surprisingly, is the number of hours they work. “Part-time nannies are caregivers who work a long-term position for 35 hours a week or less,” explains Lora Brawley, consultant and trainer at Nanny Care Hub. “The quality of care is the same as a full-time nanny. The scope of child-related responsibilities is also the same, only scaled down to fit the number of hours the nanny is available.”

As an example, Brawley notes that “a full-time nanny may be responsible for rotating clothes and toys on a regular basis; a part-time nanny may only have time to rotate toys.”

Moya also notes that, in many cases, families hire their full-time nanny on a part-time basis once the kids start school.

What’s the difference between a part-time nanny and a babysitter?

The main difference between a part-time nanny and babysitter, is both the schedule and the duties.

“Part-time nannies have a set schedule with guaranteed hours, making them a key component of the family’s daily life,” notes Moya. “They are often employed year-round, unlike after-school or date-night sitters, whose schedules may fluctuate and typically work during the academic year.”

The role of a part-time nanny is also more involved. “The role of a sitter is to keep the kids safe and entertained and complete basic tasks while the role of a nanny is to care for the whole child,” says Brawley. “For example, a sitter might sit with and help a child complete their homework while a nanny might develop engaging activities based on the child’s interests and school curriculum to deepen their understanding of the subject.” 

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Why do you need a part-time nanny?

According to Brawley, parents who need “consistent, quality care on a part-time basis” can benefit from hiring a part-time nanny. “This includes families with school-aged kids for after-school care, parents who work part time and parents who stay at home and want help caring for the kids,” she notes.

Think of a part-time nanny as “an extra set of hands that provide quality care,” Moya notes. Most often, part-time nannies are helping out during the tough after-school hours or even through dinner, bath and getting kids ready for bed. 

Since the part-time nanny title entails a more qualified caregiver than an after-school sitter, you can expect high-touch care. In other words, instead of simply helping with homework, they’ll work to teach effective and lifelong skills. Additionally, they may teach the children Spanish, set up playdates and exciting excursions and do the family’s laundry. They’re there to go above and beyond.

What qualities should you look for in a part-time nanny?

You should approach the hiring process the same way you would for a full-time nanny. This caregiver will be spending a lot of quality time with your children, so it is important that they have substantial child care experience and skills like CPR and first-aid training

Other criteria to consider when hiring a nanny include:

  • Aligned caregiving philosophies for an ideal partnership.
  • A good personality match for the kids (and you!).
  • Specialized experience should your child have any special needs.

What do you pay a part-time nanny?

A part-time nanny’s compensation is the same as a full-time nanny in terms of hourly rate, Brawley notes. There are a number of factors that influence price, including location, number of kids and experience. That being said, according to our 2024 Cost of Care, the average weekly rate for a full-time nanny caring for one infant child is $766, which comes out to $19.15 an hour. 

In order to get an idea of what nannies in your area cost, check out our cost of care calculator

Do you need to pay taxes for a part-time nanny?

Many families may also wonder if they need to pay nanny taxes for someone who isn’t full time. No matter how many hours a week your nanny works, as soon as they earn$2,700 or more throughout the calendar year, you’re required to withhold employment taxes.

A part-time nanny will likely become a part of your family, and it’s important to pay them legally so that they can receive Medicare and Social Security benefits later in life. If you need help making sense of taxes or setting up a payroll account, Care HomePay can offer more information.

Do you need a nanny contract?

It’s “crucial” to have a contract when hiring a part-time nanny, Moya notes. “This legal document formalizes the employment relationship, outlines expectations and provides protection for all involved,” she says. “A contract ensures a clear understanding and fosters a positive and fair working relationship.”

Also, keep in mind, “most part-time nannies are in positions long term,” notes Brawley.

How to find a part-time nanny 

You can look for a part-time nanny in many of the same places you can find a full-time nanny. Some of these places include:

  • Online platforms, such as Care.
  • Nanny agencies. 
  • Social media parenting groups. 
  • Colleges and universities.
  • Friends and word-of-mouth. 

The bottom line

Part-time nannies are a great option for parents who want to maintain personalized, quality care for the kids, even when they don’t need help full time. “Unlike babysitters, whose schedules will fluctuate, part-time nannies are often employed year-round,” Moya says, adding that the quality care they provide is unmatched.