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Babysitter vs FDW: Engaging Sitter VS Domestic Worker in Singapore

The differences between engaging a FDW vs Babysitter explained at MEIDE

Considering a babysitter vs FDW? Both can seem to be similar in terms of their solutions to your household needs. However, there are essential differences, and pros and cons that you must understand.

Let MEIDE help you decide with our extensive knowledge and experience in this industry here.

Before anything, let us clarify the definitions too:

Definitions of Babysitter vs FDW

For sake of clarity, we shall use the term babysitter and nanny interchangeably here. So both shall mean the same role/person. For the intrigued, you may learn about the differences between a babysitter vs nanny here!

Again for the sake of clarity, we shall use the term “FDW” to mean Foreign Domestic Worker. This will be used interchangeably with MDW (Migrant Domestic Worker), Helper, Maid, Full Time Live In Helper, and all taken to mean the same person/role.


Some may ask: why do we write about babysitter vs FDW when MEIDE has another article advocating for us to be “an alternative to maid”?

Indeed, one may wonder if we are self-contradictory! But, no, because we perfectly understand the differences between a babysitter and maid. Although MEIDE could help you in many ways, such that you may no longer require a full time live-in helper, MEIDE’s solutions are not an exact replica of the FDW’s services.

Under our umbrella of services, including cleaning, babysitting and so on, we provide much more than just household services. We also place emphasis on specific skills to deliver the best quality we can in each specific area. So, our babysitting services are definitely not the same as FDW services.

Although we hope to believe we provide superior solutions, let us take an unbiased view first and review the pros and cons of each option – babysitter vs FDW.

4 Similarities and Differences of Babysitter vs FDW

Both babysitting and FDW services can be booked easily via online platforms like MEIDE nowadays
Both babysitting and FDW services can be booked easily via online platforms like MEIDE nowadays

1. Scope of Work

First of all, there is a large difference between a babysitter and foreign domestic worker’s scope of work. Let us expound on our explanation regarding various childcare options for parents here.

FDWs can cover a huge variety of household tasks, whilst babysitters are specifically skilled in taking care of your littles ones. Of note, FDWs may or may not be specifically skilled in some tasks depending on your luck and FDW selection process. Babysitters may or may not cover the variety of other household chores, depending on the babysitter’s profile and willingness, as well as your household requirements and proposed pay.

Does that mean that babysitters can actually do MORE than FDWs?

Yes, possibly, but not all the time. Let us elaborate.


To understand further, you have to remember that FDWs are inclined towards catering for a variety of household tasks for your family, whilst babysitters are focused towards childminding only, as their primary service goal.

At the end of the day, every single human being has only 24 hours in a day, with certain hours set aside for sleep, rest, meal times, hygiene breaks, and personal affairs.

Generally, FDWs would expect a regular timetable or schedule to follow for these 24 hours, with tasks spread across cleaning, cooking, handling groceries, and assisting to take care of family members, whether young or old.

On the other hand, babysitters expect that they are to either follow a schedule, or provide their own input and advice towards helping to care for the little kid(s). The tasks of a babysitter would rotate around childminding, feeding, changing diapers, showering baby, baby laundry, and even educational activities or caring for the mother too.


A babysitter can do more than FDW if he or she completes all the designated tasks in time and is able and willing to do the extra tasks that a FDW is meant to do. However, this may result in the babysitter being overworked and cause poorer performance over a protracted period of time.

The same would apply for a FDW being made to do additional babysitting tasks beyond the scope of work required for the FDW.

As such, MEIDE always recommends setting out the exact scope of work required, as well as considering the manpower and duration required. By doing this, we can thus customize the schedule and recommend for you a better decision between babysitter vs FDW.

As a rule of thumb, it is NOT recommended to regard a babysitter to be the same as a FDW, or vice versa. They are completely different professionals!

Stay connected with our MEIDE Babysitting blog to learn more! It’s free-of-charge and entirely made for parents and babysitters.

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There are exceptions of course, where a FDW may somehow have had extensive experience in handling babies and thus be able to function almost like a babysitter. Or, a babysitter may have prior work doing cleaning, cooking and other FDW-related tasks, and thus be able to provide the extra services that you require. In such situations, always be prepared that your babysitter or FDW may request for extra pay due to the “additional service” beyond their regular scope of work.

2. Training and Experience

As described in the scope of work above, you would expect that training and experience to vary vastly between babysitter vs FDW.

Babysitters are trained in courses related to early childhood and infant care, such as the courses laid out at ECDA here. Additionally, babysitters usually take up first aid courses like CPR, AED courses for infants.

On the other hand, FDWs may or may not have formal training. Of course, all first time FDWs are required to go through the “SIP” by MOM as explained here. Usually, maid agencies will also have FDWs undertake certain basic household chores or language courses to equip them better to handle the work.

When it comes to experience, there would undoubtedly be a bunch of babysitters and FDWs who are so experienced that their service quality are pretty similar (since they can do most things you require). On the other hand, there could also be some that are very new and require more hand-holding. However, the bulk of babysitters and FDWs would actually have different “qualifications” and experience!

3. Price and Costs Differences

The price of a babysitter can vary quite a lot, as explained here.

Similarly, the costs of engaging FDW can vary a lot too with numerous administrative fees, worker levy, agency fees, air fares, and so on to bear in mind.

You can pay a babysitter per hour, per day, per week, or per month. The mode of payments is negotiable too.

However, for FDW, you can and must pay them via the method stipulated by MOM (government) – which is a monthly salary, either via cash or bank transfer.

Moreover, based on our research, the average costs of engaging a babysitter is LOWER than engaging a FDW if you choose to engage over ad hoc periods, or short durations (less than a year or two).

However, if you require help over years, engaging a FDW may be more cost-economical, provided you don’t end up switching FDWs too many times, which will incur hefty agency, air ticket, and other fees.

Luckily, MEIDE understands the dilemma amongst Singaporean parents and thus came up with a one-stop solution – one simple platform fee that would not break your wallet – and our babysitting coordinators will handle everything for you. Save your time and energy for other more important things!

Book your #1 babysitting / cleaning services today, or join our team!

meide.sg is here for you, always.

4. Availability of Babysitter vs FDW

Fortunately for us residing in Singapore, the availability is high for both babysitters and FDWs.

With the advent of online agencies and platforms, engaging either childcare option is relatively straightforward nowadays.

However, the exact process of engaging each still differs. FDWs can be engaged either through an agency, or via yourself albeit you have to handle plenty of paperwork and regulations by yourself. Babysitters can be engaged via a variety of methods as explained in a separate article here, but are mostly sourced through agencies and platforms like MEIDE Babysitting. We make the process hassle-free and really affordable for you!

Categories of Babysitters vs FDW

Now that we know the major differences (and similarities) between babysitters and FDWs, let us discuss the specific types of babysitters and FDW available in Singapore.

There are a variety of types of babysitters in Singapore. Similarly, there are also different categories of FDWs. However, the method of classification of the different categories is not the same.

Babysitters are usually categorised into these types as elucidated here

  • Babysitter Versus Nanny
  • Full Time Babysitter
  • Regular Babysitter
  • Part Time Babysitter
  • Ad Hoc or Temporary Babysitter
  • Daytime Babysitter
  • Evening Babysitter
  • Weekend Babysitter
  • Overnight Babysitter
  • Confinement Nanny
  • Stay In Babysitter or Helper
  • Hotel Babysitting
  • Outdoor Babysitting
  • Babysitter for Special Needs

Conversely, FDWs are usually categorized based on their nationalities, and experience such as:

  • Filipino
  • Indonesian
  • Burmese
  • Indian
  • And so on

Or, based on their number of years of experience, or their willingness and experience in certain duties such as childminding, elderly care, landed house cleaning, pet-sitting and so on.

As you can see, engaging a babysitter vs FDW can be vastly different!

Both FDW and Babysitters can take care of your baby and pets
Both FDW and Babysitters can take care of your baby and pets

Which is better: Babysitter Or FDW?

Ultimately, it boils down to individualized circumstances. Babysitters are your choice to go with, if you require primarily babysitting help. FDWs are your choice, if you require generalized help over a variety of household tasks.

Now, if you require both types of help, we would strongly recommend engaging both! A babysitter and FDW are not mutually exclusive. In fact, for large households with multiple children, it is not uncommon for families to engage FDW(s) on top of MEIDE Babysitting and MEIDE Cleaning. Trust us to work out a smooth schedule for you, so that your house can be cleaned spick and span by our qualified cleaners, and your kids well taken care of by our trusted babysitters!

Conclusion of Babysitter vs FDW

We hope our article has been of help to you! Kudos for getting to the end of our lengthy and informative comparison of babysitters vs FDWs! If you have other considerations, such as cost concerns or schedule restrictions, consider even more options of childcare as per our article here!

Stay safe and stay blissful with your family!

Book your #1 babysitting / cleaning services today, or join our team!

meide.sg is here for you, always.