babysit a child and take care of a child

Discussion in 'English Only' started by stephenlearner, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. stephenlearner Senior Member


    Can you tell me the difference between "babysit a child" and "take care of a child"?

    Generally speaking, does "take care of a child" imply mom or dad takes care of their own child? "Babysitting a child" imply somebody else other than the mom or dad takes care of the child?

    Do the two actions include the same activities, such as changing the diaper, watching for danger, cooking meals, and playing with the child?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    We say that parents take care of their children or, better still, bring them up, whereas 'babysitting' is the activity performed (very often for money) by people other than parents, usually when they are out and entrust their offspring to the care of the babysitter. You could also use it ironically as in:

    My boyfriend is so immature. I sometimes think he could use a babysitter.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  3. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    I agree. Also, "babysitting" can be used for children up to quite an old age (certainly not just babies) and normally means simply "keeping an eye on" - ie not nappy changing or cooking etc. It's more being in the house watching TV or whatever to be there for emergencies while the parents have some time off away from the house.
  4. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    "Take care of a child" simply means what it says; it doesn't say that the person taking care is a parent. A parent, a grandparent, an older sibling, a sitter, a nurse, anyone at all can take care of a child, on either a temporary or permanent basis.

    A babysitter is someone who takes care of, or stays with, a child for a short period of time (i.e., up to a few hours), whether or not for pay.
  5. stephenlearner Senior Member

    Thank you all for your help.

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