What’s the Going Rate for Babysitters?

What’s the Going Rate for Babysitters

Babysitter’s salaries have come up in the world since I was working as one, back in the day.  I remember getting paid $1 per hour and slightly more for more than one kid.  I suspect teens would laugh at that today; not unkindly, but because they would surely think I was kidding.

You might be new to the babysitter hiring/paying concept and there is a lot of information on the web, but with so much info and so little time, we have done your research for you compiled some guidelines to go by.

The Going Rate

There is a wide variance between rates that depends on the circumstances such as location; babysitting in areas with a higher cost of living will command a higher pay rate for sitters.  Expect to pay more in New York and San Francisco than in Kansas or North Carolina.  A realistic per hour range is about $5 to $12 per hour.

Another factor is experience.  Adult professional nannies or daycare personnel would earn more per hour, around $10 per hour, than a high school student wanting to earn a little spending money, who may reasonably be paid from $4 to $8 per hour.  The number of children and their ages is a factor as well.  For instance more and younger children equal more work, equals more money.  Most sitters will be satisfied with an extra $1 per hour per extra child or an additional $2 per hour for children under 3.

Usual babysitting hours are around 8 am and 10 pm; if you need a sitter to work before or after these times, you can expect to pay around $2 more per hour.  Some situations are above the norm, such as caring for disabled or special needs children, housework, shopping, or cooking.  Extra work merits a higher rate, also.  You can add at least an extra $2 per hour, but to be fair, discuss this with your sitter.  Keep in mind when calculating cost, that teens paid in cash do not have to pay taxes on their earnings if less than $600 per year, so they get more from their wages as would a full time worker.

Dollars and Sense

Another mitigating circumstance is affordability, meaning if paying a sitter is so high you cannot afford to go out, other solutions should be explored.  This situation requires some negotiating.  Perhaps swapping childcare with another Mom you know will help, but even if you are set on hiring a teen, you can perhaps work out wages in the form of some benefit besides cash, or some type of barter system such as loaning your car as partial payment for services rendered, or allowing the use of your pool for a party.  Consider what you might have of value you would be willing to trade, like movie tickets or use of a Netflix account.

Another option is to provide a service without charge, for example, a hairdresser could offer to cut, color, or style hair or a manicurist could offer manicures and pedicures; you get the idea.  Whatever your situation, it is best to discuss pay rates upfront to avoid any misunderstandings and ensure neither of you feels short-changed.



How to Choose the Perfect Babysitter

How to Choose the Perfect Babysitter

It can be nerve-wracking for any parent to not only choose when to leave home without their baby, but with whom to entrust the care and safety of their children.  There are a number of circumstances that provoke these concerns and we would like to offer you a few calming suggestions for how to wisely choose the right babysitter for you and your children.


It Takes a Village…

Parenting Resources

First, while you may have a favorite babysitter, you will soon discover that you will be limited in your childcare resources if you have only one babysitter.  Instead, it is important to remember that networking and resources are just as important in parenting as in anything else.  Other family members are usually the first resource for babysitting needs, but you may not live close to family or there may be times when they simply can’t be available.  So, we suggest having a few babysitting resources. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Family members
  • Join a playgroup and swap free babysitting with other mom friends
  • Get to know some neighborhood teenagers
  • Learn about any drop-in daycares in your area that you can pay by the hour as a last resort, if needed.


Your Needs, Their Needs

Babysitting Essentials

As your children grow, your specific childcare needs will change and this is one reason why finding that one, perfect babysitter can be nigh to impossible!  Again, we reiterate that you focus more on building a community of childcare resources that will give you the flexibility you need.  Regardless, there are only a few essential needs that you have when choosing someone to watch your children:

  • Do they have a reputation of being trustworthy?
  • Are they mature enough for the responsibility?
  • Will they keep your children safe and happy?


Finding the Answers You Need

Getting to Know Your Babysitter

But how do you discover the answers to these questions?  The biggest reason why we recommend building relationships rather than using a babysitting service on a regular basis is because the more you interact with someone, the more you can learn about who they really are.  Here are a few reasons why we think this way:

  • Knowing someone in more than one context (neighbor, mom from a playgroup, church member, someone from children’s school or extra curricular activity) gives you more than one way to learn about the person and their abilities.
  • A broader scope of interactions creates an invisible effect of accountability because you will likely see them again even after the babysitting event.
  • References and recommendations will be much more easily accessible if you know the person within their daily life.


Just remember to remain flexible and adaptable while staying focused on building healthy family relationships for you and your children over a long period of time.  The best babysitters are usually family or friends since what you really need is someone who knows you and your children as much as you want to know them!


Tips for Finding the Perfect Sitter

The above-view portrait of a beautiful babysitter looking after

Babysitters take care of your children while you're doing anything from enjoying a fun date to taking care of an emergency. There are several things you should do in order to hire the most reliable and capable babysitter.

Decide What Type of Babysitter You Need

Before you begin looking for a sitter, you need to decide what type of sitter to hire. A mother's helper is a child around the age of 13 who can play with your kids and entertain them. You will need to supervise mother's helpers, but they can give you much-needed breaks and let you get things done.

A standard babysitter is someone who you can call to watch your kids for several hours without your supervision. They include anyone from older teenagers to experienced adults with qualifications. You can go out on a date or to a movie while your babysitter watches the children, gives them dinner, and even puts them to bed.

Backup babysitters are like standard sitters, but they are only called when the regular babysitter can't make it.

Ask Friends and Family

After you've decided what kind of sitter you need, see if any of your trusted friends or family would like to do the job. There's nothing more important than the safety of your children, and hiring friends or family ensures they'll be safe. You could also ask them if they have a trusted babysitter you could use.

Looking Elsewhere

You can also ask at mother's groups, preschool or other functions to see if there is a reliable babysitter that is well liked. Moreover, there are many reputable online sites that can match you with a babysitter. Only go to safe sites that charge a fee. Free sites are not safe. In addition, find a site that screens their babysitters and gives them background checks.

Interview Potential Candidates

Before you hire anyone, you'll first need to interview them in person. Ask them important questions like what their qualifications are, how they would discipline the children, and if they know first aid. Also find out the going rate for babysitters in your area before you hire a sitter, and agree on an hourly rate in advance.

Don't hire a babysitter who has a discipline style you do not approve of. Also, you should ask the babysitter for a few references. Call the babysitter's references, and ask them many questions to find out if the babysitter is trustworthy and if there have been any issues.

Hiring someone to take care of your children is a serious decision. Make sure you look in a variety of places, and conduct thorough interviews. And always leave phone numbers with sitters so you can be reached, if necessary.