An Overview of Childcare Providers


Childcare providers are individuals who care for and provide supervision to children from age six weeks to age thirteen. Every childcare provider is unique, but they all typically share a love for children. Your choice of childcare providers may be dependent on your child's age, your family's needs, and your location.

Daycare Providers

Daycare is a childcare option where parents drop off their children during the day for care, supervision, and learning. Traditional daycare centers are formal, structured environments with specific drop-off and pick-up times. Daycare centers specialize in care of infants through pre-schoolers, although some daycare facilities also offer before- and after-school care for school-age children as well. Each daycare has different rules, but many will take babies as young as three months.

Some daycare centers transport children to and home from school, and others also provide transportation to certain extracurricular offerings or sports programs. Some daycares have formal schedules, like a school, when children become toddler age. Most daycare centers are national or regional chains; some are privately owned.

Be sure to check with your state to determine regulations, licensing, or accreditation requirements. The daycare director should also be able to tell you what type of education and training teachers have received.

In-Home Care Providers

In-home childcare, also knows as family care, is a childcare option where families pay to bring their child to the home of an adult who provides childcare on a regular, ongoing basis. This option is different than a nanny since the caregiver does not go to the child's home. States limit the number of children who can be cared for in a home environment.

Home childcare providers should be licensed by the state, and individuals should have basic training in first aid, safety, and childcare. Many in-home providers also have training in early education.


A nanny is an individual employed by a family in either a live-in or live-out situation. The essential function of a nanny is to be responsible for all care of the child(ren) in the home in a largely unsupervised setting. A nanny can be found through a nanny agency, a website, or through word of mouth and recommendations. A nanny's duties are focused on childcare and any household chores or tasks related to the children, such as doing laundry and preparing food.

A nanny may or may not have any formal training; however, many nannies have years of experience working with children. A nanny may work full-time (40 or more hours a week) or part-time, or may be involved in a nanny share.


This should go without saying, but males also make wonderful childcare providers. A so-called "manny" is a male nanny. Mannies perform the same childcare duties and expectations as their female nanny counterparts, with the only difference being gender.

Some families specifically look for male role models in the home. Single moms or female couples may want a regular male influence for their male children. Studies suggest that strong male figures are equally important to young women and girls, and mannies may be sought out in situations where this role is lacking. Male nannies may bring qualities into childcare that a female nanny may not, and vice versa.


A babysitter is an individual who temporarily cares for children on behalf of the children's parents or guardians. A babysitter is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the children. A babysitter may be responsible for planning activities or supervising play dates. Other babysitters may cook, clean, help with homework, or drive children to scheduled activities.

Most babysitting jobs are considered part-time jobs and are paid by the hour, either on specific occasions or according to a regular schedule.

Mother's Helper

A mother's helper is an individual who helps out a parent or family needing extra care with their children while the parent is at home. This role is often held by young girls who are not quite babysitting age in order to gain skills and training. A mother's helper usually works under some supervision to handle all aspects of childcare, errands, meal preparation, and light house work.


Once your child is old enough to attend school, the individuals providing care will be teachers. The role of a teacher is a very important one. A teacher is there not only to educate, but also to act as a role model for children and provide support, encouragement, and a safe environment. It is important for parents to have a positive relationship with their child's teachers and keep open communication.

Camp Counselor

During the summer, camp counselors may take on the role as childcare provider for your kid. There are various camps for kids of all ages and with different interests. Camp counselors are often high school or college students who supervise a group of children or direct a particular activity. Camp counselors can also be role models for children, and many kids form strong bonds with their camp counselors in both day camps and sleep away camps.

Childcare Provider Costs

What you pay your childcare provider depends on several factors, including what type you opt for, where you live, the age and number of your children, and more. Learn more about childcare costs to help you weigh your options.

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