Parents, SafeCircle

Different childcare roles and their responsibilities

We regularly see and hear of parents looking for some help with their children, and the parents often will say they are looking for a babysitter but when we explore what their family needs are we find that a babysitter is not in fact what they are looking for but another role is more suitable for their needs.

There are so many different roles working and caring for children that sometimes its hard to figure it all out and understand where to start when looking for care to meet a families requirements. SafeCircle have pulled together a quick list of the types of roles out there and what each one entails to help families understand what they are looking for and save them time in their search for childcare and family help.


A babysitter is a role which is performed usually at the home of the child or occasionally can be at a hotel or other holiday stay accommodation. Babysitters offer care to children in the evening, and will assist with bedtime routines, settling them to sleep and ensuring their safety and care needs are met whilst parents are out for the evening. There is no set age or qualification for a babysitter, and finding one to trust can take time, especially if you’re visiting a new area on holiday for example.


Childminders are qualified in childcare and must be registered with Ofsted. They offer childcare which follows the national guidance for early years education of children under 5 years old. The care is offered to children from the childminders home and can be part-time or full time day hours usually between 7.30am – 6.30pm. The rates for a childminder vary depending on experience and location. A person cannot legally offer childcare in their home without registered childminder status.

Nanny and Nanny Housekeeper:

There are a variety of roles for nannies and nanny housekeepers, each undertaking different roles and responsibilities in line with their contract and salary. Nannies can be part-time, full time, live in or live out, and some will be nanny housekeepers again living in or out. This huge flexibility allows families to find the right fit for them and their needs.

A nanny will undertake all aspect of care for the child during the day, including feeding, changing, stimulation and education as well as clearing up after the child and ensuring their room is safe and clean. A nanny does not however undertake household chores such as washing or cleaning. This aspect of the role would be for a nanny housekeeper. A nanny does not need to have any childcare qualification (although we would always advise to use a childcare qualified adult), and they range in ages from 18 years up for full time roles. Nannies can be under 18 years if used solely for part time responsibilities such as school runs, however again we would not advise using a person under the age of 18 years.

A nanny housekeeper would undertake all of the aspects of childcare as above in addition to assisting with the shopping, laundry, and cleaning etc. Most nanny housekeepers are live in due to the high level of work involved in the role.

A nanny and nanny housekeeper often cares for children full time until the children reach school age and then school runs and after school care may be required.

For both of the these roles, whether part time, full time, live in or out, the parents would be required to become employers as the role cannot be a self-employed.

Family Assistant:

A family assistant is a fairly new job title which has come out in the past few years. The role is primarily for those working with families who have older children of primary or secondary school age. The family assistant supports the family with all aspects of running the household including, getting the children up and ready for school, school runs, shopping, preparing evening meals, some will also include household chores such as laundry and cleaning, however this would need to be negotiated with the individual family assistant.

This role would require parents to become employers as the role cannot be a self-employed.

Mother’s help:

A mothers help will work alongside a parent to assist with childcare and household chores including feeding and changing the children, or preparing family meals and cleaning the home. There is a mixture of responsibilities and these can change on a day to day basis depending on what is required in the household. The role is to essentially be a second pair of hands to the parent and pick up tasks along the way.

This is a role which is often held by a person without any formal childcare qualifications or occasionally a newly qualified person. They are often between the ages of 18 – 24 years. Mother’s help roles can be part time or full time depending on the requirements of the family.

This role would require parents to become employers as the role cannot be a self-employed.

Maternity Nurse:

Maternity nurses are usually qualified in childcare and have extensive experience of caring for newborn babies. The maternity nurse is a role which is usually arranged with the family for a period of between 1-6 weeks, and they assist the parents with feeding, sleeping and all aspects of care for an infant. They are happy to support parents and share their knowledge and skills to help settle the new baby into family life giving parents confidence at this early stage of parenthood.

With this parents don’t usually need to become employers as a vast majority of maternity nurses are self-employed due to short nature of their work.

Night Nanny:

A night nanny supports parents with overnight childcare. They are usually qualified in childcare and have many years experience of caring for newborns and young infants. This option is something often used by new parents to enable them to gain a few nights of meaningful rest and ensure their child is well cared for throughout the night with the night nanny covering all aspects of feeding, changing and soothing. A night nanny will arrive at a parents address for around 7pm and leave again at 7am. This role is paid at a set hourly rate for a night waking professional nanny.

Proxy Parent:

If a parent needs to go away on business or holiday without their children, then a proxy parent is ideal. The proxy parent will move into your home and take over the parenting and caring role from the parents for the duration of the parents absence. Proxy parents step into the role of a parent working and caring 24 hours a day until the parents return. They undertake all aspects of parenting and care required including; personal care, school runs, meal preparations, behaviour management, routines and offering comfort. This role can range from a single overnight stay to a few weeks.

The proxy parent is usually qualified in childcare with many years professional experience and you can expect to pay an hourly rate during day hours and then a fixed nightly rate. ​

More Information?

If you would like to know more about the different roles available and to figure out which best suits you’re family needs, please get in touch with our Family Consultant, Keeley Black who would be happy to assist.


Tel: 02038110445

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