How to Make the Transition From Babysitter to Full-time Nanny

A Collegiate Nannies Resource

Do you want to work as a full-time nanny, but youʼre not sure where to start? Maybe youʼve had some experience working with kids part-time or through babysitting. Because prior experience is desired by parents looking for a nanny, moving from a babysitter to a full-time nanny doesnʼt happen overnight. But if youʼre committed to gaining the experience and skills you need to be a full-time nanny, this guide will help you learn how so you can start the transition now.

How is nannying different from babysitting?

The differences between a nanny and a babysitter arenʼt always clear. Every familyʼs expectations and requirements for child care can differ, making it tough to separate the two positions sometimes. However, there are certain characteristics that can tell you if a family is looking for a babysitter, a part-time nanny, or a full-time nanny.


Babysitters often work with local families in their neighborhood on a temporary or parttime basis. Youʼll find babysitters working when parents need them, maybe after school or for a few hours on the weekend. Most sitters only work for a couple hours a week on an inconsistent basis, but some may have a few scheduled weekly hours. Their main job is to supervise the kids while the parents are out, but they may do some light housekeeping or plan easy activities like games or arts and crafts.

A babysitter is sometimes seen as an entry-level position in the child care industry, but thereʼs nothing wrong with that! Starting as a babysitter and working your way up is a great way to get your foot in the door.

Part-time nanny

A part-time nanny has more consistent work than a babysitter, but less than a full-time nanny. Part time-nannies provide regular weekend or after-school care for their kiddos. While a full-time nanny might work 40 hours per week, a part-time nanny might work 20 to 30 hours.

A part-time nanny may have previous experience as a babysitter, and may be restricted to part-time hours because of other obligations like school or another part-time job. Some part-time nannies are content to stick with their hours, but some may want to move into nannying full-time.

Full-time nanny

Full-time nannies do it all: regular child care 40 hours a week with a full interest in a childʼs development and health. A full-time nanny plans activities that will stimulate a childʼs mental, emotional, and physical well-being. In addition to child care, sheʼll likely have more responsibilities than a babysitter and a part-time nanny, such as running errands, transporting the kids to and from school or activities, cooking meals, helping with homework, and more. Full-time nannies have years of experience, as well as training in safety or advanced child care.

Benefits of babysitting and part-time nannying

Now that youʼve seen the differences in scope and responsibilities for each position, you can guess that it would be easier to become a full-time nanny after first working as a babysitter and part-time nanny. Letʼs break down the benefits of working your way up to full-time nannying rather than jumping right into it:

  • You get more experience. Parents looking for full-time child care want someone with experience. By starting with an entry-level job and working your way up, youʼll gain essential experience along the way.
  • You donʼt over-commit. Working fewer hours per week as needed is an easier way to test the waters of a new job, rather than committing to one for 40 hours a week. If you find that youʼre better suited for part-time nannying, you can stick with that rather than stepping down from full-time.
  • You find your strengths. Because youʼre learning the ropes through babysitting and, eventually, part-time nannying, you have time to find out what kind of child care professional you are. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you prefer caring for babies, younger kids, or older kids? This way, youʼll be able to find a family that will fit your preferences when you start full-time nannying.
  • You can finish your college degree, which will come in handy. Working as a babysitter or part-time nanny leaves room for other obligations like college. Once youʼve graduated, you can use your degree to match with families looking for your skills. If you have a bachelor or masterʼs degree, especially one related to child education or child care, youʼll have a higher earning potential.

What families want to see on your resume

Do you feel like youʼve worked your way up the ranks and youʼre ready to start applying for a new nanny job? Like any other job application, what you put on your resume is important.

Families who are ready for a nanny are often looking for:

  • Growth and experience. Transitioning from babysitter to part-time to full-time takes passion and dedication, which parents will appreciate. Make sure to outline your progression, sharing experience and timeframes youʼve worked with each family.
  • Consistent references and good relationships. When you start out as a babysitter, youʼre not only gaining experience; youʼre making contacts and professional relationships that can benefit you later. Thatʼs why itʼs important to stay in contact with your past employers and maintain good relationships with them. Ask if you can offer them as references to new families, and even ask for written testimonials!
  • Improvements. While working as a babysitter or part-time nanny, you have time to improve your skills and learn new ones, like cooking, a foreign language, child nutrition, child psychology, and so on. Families will see that you can provide even more value for their kids if they choose you to care for them. Share your certifications, your degree, or any skill that would be a part of your caregiving.
  • Long-term status as a caregiver in some form. Even if your past experience as a babysitter or part-time nanny wasnʼt as consistent as a full-time nannyʼs, families will still appreciate seeing your work history as a dedicated caregiver.

See the sample resume if youʼre wondering how best to outline your experiences and skills in an easy-to-share format.

Itʼs a journey; enjoy it!

When you feel confident that child care is your “calling,” it can be tempting to jump from occasional babysitting to full-time nannying. However, starting out as a babysitter and moving into part-time nannying first is a smart move.

By working your way up the ladder, youʼll gain valuable experience while making money. Plus, youʼll learn more about child care as you go, and youʼll have time to improve your skills and confidence. Then youʼll be ready to work as a full-time nanny and find the perfect family for you.

Wondering where to start when searching for your next child care position? No matter what your previous experience has been, agencies like Boston Collegiate Nannies and Chicago Collegiate Nannies can provide guidance on industry standards and help you figure out your next steps.