Day care or child care are the terms used to describe child care during the day by a person other than the child’s parents or legal guardians, typically someone outside the child’s immediate family. In the United Kingdom and Australia the term child care is normally used. In America childcare is referred to as day care. Child care or day care is provided in nurseries or crèches or by child minders caring for children in their own homes.
The term “baby-sit” (from “baby” plus the agent form of “sit”) first appeared in 1937, and its short-form “sitter” is attested from 1943. The use of the word “sit” to abbreviate “to baby-sit” is recorded from 1966. The term probably originated from the action of the caretaker “sitting with” the baby in another room, whilst the parents were entertaining or busy in another.
Babysitting is the occasional temporary care of a child during the absence of his or her parents. Child care or day care usually refers to ongoing care during specific periods, such as the parents’ time at work. Child care can also take on a more formal structure, with education, child development, discipline and even preschool falling into the fold of services.