For as long as I can remember I have been babysitting. As the oldest of four kids I began helping my parents with my brothers and sisters at a young age. What started out as a family chore turned into a paying job in high school and college when I began babysitting around my town. Usually I received around $8 an hour regardless of the number of children or if it was a holiday. That’s why I was so surprised to find that a recent survey from Care.com found that the national average cost for a babysitter today is $13.44 – up 28% from 2009! That seems like a high rate to me but what do you think? Is the $13.44 an hour worth it?
How Much Should You Pay Your Babysitter?
When I graduated college I kept babysitting as a side job. I now get paid $10 an hour to babysit one of my best friend’s little sisters. I always thought $10 was a great rate BUT according to Care.com it’s much below average. I determined my own rate and because I’m babysitting for a family friend on weeknights find it to be completely acceptable. Would I give up my Saturday nights for around $40 though? Probably not. An hourly rate of $13.44 may seem high for babysitting but consider all of these factors before making your decision.
1. What is their education level?
Education level is one big factor when determining cost but I’m not referring to a college degree. According to Care.com, 53% of parents value PR/First Aid/Safety Training most over any other type of education. Many towns offer babysitting or safety certifications so it’s not rare to find babysitters with this training (I have it!). If your babysitter has this training (whether in high school or college) you may want to consider paying a few dollars more.
2. What is your relationship to the babysitter?
Is the babysitter a family friend, relative, or a local high school or college student? The relationship you have with a babysitter can definitely affect pay. For example, my parents babysit my nephew for free twice a week because they want to help out my stepsister and spend time with their grandchild . If you’re strapped for cash it may be a good idea to use family connections to get great child care for low or no cost.
3. What is their experience level?
In college I was a babysitter for a family that had a newborn, a three year old, and a 7-year-old. Most 16-year-old may be overwhelmed caring for a newborn and two young children but I had babysit many children in the past, worked at two camps, and had experience babysitting more than one child and newborns. This experience made the parents feel safe leaving their children in my care and this effected how much they paid me. According to Care.com experience is a HUGE factor as, “51 percent of parents would pay more for an older, more experienced sitter — usually an extra $5 per hour.” So, if you want an experienced babysitter you may have to pay more.
4. Is it a holiday?
Holidays are always tough to find sitters because many families will be in need of child care AND some sitters may choose to take the day off. If you’re booking for a holiday such as New Years, Valentine’s Day or Halloween ask early…up to month in advance! This will give you the chance of getting the best rate. Still, offering a little extra for someone giving up a holiday is always a nice touch!
5. What are their responsibilities?
Another determining factor is how many responsibilities the babysitter has. Are they responsible for cooking the kids dinner, taking kids to practices, helping with homework, or tidying up? All of these “extras” should be considered in how much you pay your babysitter. If they can get paid more to watch a child without all of these extra tasks they may be more inclined to babysit for that family.
6. How much does your child like them?
Does your child love this babysitter? Is this babysitter doing a great job? If you love your babysitter and so does your child offering a bonus here or there or even an extra $1 or $2 an hour may be a good idea. This way your babysitter will know that you value them and will be less likely to work for other families.
7. How many children do you have?
According to Care.com, “If you have more than one child, expect to pay $2 to $5 more an hour for each additional child. (So, if you’d pay $50 for one child for four hours, expect to pay about $60 for two children, $70 for three and so on.)” This seems pricey to me but it worth considering. The number of children the babysitter is expected to watch increases the amount of work and responsibilities they have so the extra cost may be worth it.
How much did you earn babysitting?
Bargain Babe recently told me that she remembers getting just $1.50 an hour for babysitting! If you received such low pay for babysitting it may be hard to fathom paying almost 10X that, but apparently that’s the going rate! How much did you earn babysitting?
Is $13.44 too much for a babysitter?
All of the above factors and your personal experience can impact your decision on how much to pay your babysitter but ultimately it’s a decision made between you and your child care provider. Bargain Babe was once quoted $18 an hour by a sitter and compared to that, $13.44 seems pretty reasonable! When looking for babysitters it’s important to find someone that you trust AND is in your cost range. Depending on how often you use a babysitter, it may be worth it to pay a few dollars more an hour for a more trustworthy sitter and peace of mind. In my opinion, $13.44 an hour is a perfectly acceptable rate for a weekend babysitter. I charge $15 an hour to babysit on weekends so I feel this is a fair cost. What do you think? Is $13.44 an hour too much?
How much do you pay your babysitter?
Those are all important factors to consider and a good babysitter isn’t cheap. I know people who became single income homes because all their money went to paying for a good babysitter or daycare provider. I’ve been babysitting since I was a teenager and I’m currently a licensed teacher with CPR-First Aid training plus a lot of experience. The last time I babysat (1 child) I made $20/hr (their payscale, not mine). Generally I charge $12-15 an hour or do a flat fee is if its several hours.
Bargain Babe says
We pay our sitter $10/hour but I always give her an extra $10-$20, so it evens out to about $12/hour. From your post, we are underpaying her! She has the first aid/cpr training because she is studying to be a nurse. She is fantastic with the kids and they love her. She is also incredibly flexible and easy going. AND she does the dishes and picks up after the kids. Basically, we’re going to be completely lost when she graduates and moves on. But for now, I suppose it’s time to pony up and start paying her $15 an hour.
The last time I babysat was as a teenager and the going rate was $1.50 an hour and now that I’m retired I might consider occasional babysitting as an additional source of income.
In the olden days I was usually booked for major dates up to 2 months in advance for the parents to guarantee that I wouldn’t be making plans of my own. My fee went up as the holiday date approached if I hadn’t been booked yet.
I remember getting 50 cents an hour and thinking that was a lot.
We pay $15/hr for 2 kids. Babysitter is licensed, bonded, knows CPR, has a TB test and is a trained therapist (one of my kids has autism). It’s not cheap, but I pay for peace of mind. I trust her 100%.