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How Much Should You Pay a Babysitter?

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babysitterIf you have kids, one of the questions that parents inevitably have to face is this one: How much should I pay the babysitter? If you want to go out and have some fun without the little one(s), and they aren’t old enough to watch after each other, you’ll have to hire someone you trust to watch them while you’re out painting the town red.

The answer to that question, like the answer to so many like it, is that it depends. What you pay depends on a number of factors. You want to be fair to the sitter, but you also don’t want to overpay for the service.

Factors Involved in Paying a Babysitter

As you consider how much to pay the babysitter, here are some things to consider:

  • How old is the babysitter?: A teenage girl in your neighborhood isn’t likely to cost as much as a college student with more experience. Consider the sitter’s age when deciding what to pay.
  • What do expect the sitter to do?: Another consideration is what you expect the sitter to do. Are you actually looking for a nanny that can prepare simple meals, do light housecleaning, and take care of other items? Will the babysitter need to drive the children to activities, or pick them up from school? If so, what you pay will increase with the amount of work expect.
  • Will the children be awake?: Even if you don’t expect the babysitter to take care of other household tasks, alert children are tougher than sleeping children. If your children will be awake, and expect to be entertained, that’s more work for the sitter. If the children will be in bed, and all the sitter has to do is be around in case of emergency, watching TV or doing homework, you can usually pay a little bit less.
  • How many children are there?: The more children there are, the more you can expect to pay. You might pay $5 an hour, plus an extra $2 for each child beyond two children in a neighborhood like mine. So, if you have four children, the cost might be $9 an hour.
  • Location: Where you live matters. Where I live currently, childcare is quite cheap, whether you hire a babysitter or take your child to a daycare. However, when I lived in New York, childcare cost more than twice as much. Take into consideration the “going rate” in your neighborhood. You can ask other parents what they pay, or ask if the babysitter has a set rate.
  • Special training and experience: Some babysitters choose to become certified in First Aid and/or CPR. These sitters might charge a little more, since they have specific training that can help your child.

Don’t forget to leave money for food you have the sitter order, and offer money for gas or a cab ride if you don’t pick your sitter up. Another consideration, of course, is how often you need the services. If you have someone babysit your children two or three days (or more) each week, it make more sense to negotiate an equitable weekly rate. Also, consider that you might provide a raise as your babysitter ages and has more experience, and becomes better acquainted with your children. A good babysitter can become someone you trust and rely on, and you want to make sure that he or she is adequately compensated for the work done in your home.

(Photo: Ed Yourdon)

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47 Responses to “How Much Should You Pay a Babysitter?”

  1. Another consideration is how old are the children? If they are old enough that a “playmate” is all you need, that is different than taking care of younger kids. Having a daughter who babysits, I can tell you this – if you value their service, pay for it. This makes for a much more happy and willing babysitter.

  2. Matt says:

    5$ an hour seems way to low, most people I know pay at least 10$ an hour.

    • Miranda says:

      We pay our sitter more than $5/hour, but the going rate for teen sitters in my neighborhood is $5. Really, it depends on where you live.

      • some one says:

        i have to agree with both of you ,i am babysitting at 12 and really im looking for only five dollars+ next summer im still getting the bissness running so 5-12 dollar sis good for me the age is a good one too.infant-7$,toddler-6$ other ages-8,9,10,11,11.50,12,12.50 (any works!)NEXT SUMMER ILL BE IN BISSUNESS!! NOT NOW!!!!!!!!!! NO REQUESTS YET!

  3. Bok Choy says:

    $5 is absurdly low. My 12 year old daughter, who has First Aid and CPR certification starts at $8 an hour for one child. Add another child and tutoring for homework and we quickly get to $12. She doesn’t do any household chores but will feed the kids obviously.

    • Matt says:

      A 12 year old babysitter, isn’t that a little young? Seems like she would need her own babysitter

      • some one says:

        This is legally correct,you are allowed to stay at home at the age of ten,never does the law state that you cant stay with another younger child.And if his daughter is certified she can definatly .

    • Stephani Ritter says:

      I agree with Matt, 12 is too young. 16 years of age is acceptable to us. I pay our sitter $3.00/Hr. Per Child. There are no chores or housework. I provide dinner and a ride home. I only ask that the house remain in the condition I left it and that they play/interact with my boys.

    • Olivia says:

      How did your child get first aid and cpr certified
      I am 15 and want to start babysitting but i want to do those to thing first please reply:) to olivillegas23@yahoo.com

    • Olivia:)!! says:

      I am a babysitter myself and i charge
      Monday- Thursday
      $8.00 for 5-11
      $10.00 Infants-4
      Friday- Sunday
      $10.00 For 5-11
      $12.00 For Infants-4
      So If You Ask Me $5.00 Is Too Little To Pay A Babysitter

    • Olivia:)!! says:

      I am a babysitter myself and i charge
      Monday- Thursday
      $8.00 for 5-11
      $10.00 Infants-4
      Friday- Sunday
      $10.00 For 5-11
      $12.00 For Infants-4
      So If You Ask Me $5.00 Is Too Little To Pay A Babysitter

  4. DachsieLady says:

    Yep, the $5 figure is pretty much a joke around here at least.

    Another consideration, aside from age of the child, is if they are a “special needs” child who requires special care because of some physical or mental condition.

    Also, I would imagine there are some really bad acting kids that you have to watch every second or they will surely get in to some kind of trouble. A babysitter would probably have to learn about that kind of child the hard way the first sitting. Probably best not to demand higher pay but rather avoid babysitting at all for these kind of children.

    Lastly, I think parents should mainly stay home and take care of their kids or take them with them everywhere they go in the evenings. My parents did that and I can see it was wise on their part. I was only left with a close relative a very few times in my childhood.

    The situations where one or both parents were often away from home led to a high incidence of big problems in the lives of their children. I am sure there are no statistics on this but I think we have all witnessed this. The kids left on their own a lot or who have first one babysitter, then another, or some too elderly relative doing the sitting, just are going to get in serious trouble.

  5. archla says:

    i don’t have kids, but everyone I know who does have kids all say they pay their babysitters $15-20/hour. Which seems insane to me, but apparently that’s the going rate around the Boston area.

    • mw says:

      I pay $7 or $8 per hour for my 2 kids. There is no driving or preparing meals…she just needs to play with them for a while and put them to bed. You need to be realistic…there are adults w/jobs outside of the home, trying to keep their bills paid that barely make $10 per hour. It isn’t like these kids have any special skills…CPR class or not. Just be responsible…

    • sitter12 says:

      I live in Michigan and I’m 12, my friends and I started a babysitting business and we charge $2 per child. But we can’t take them anywhere because we are all 12 and 13 so we can’t take them anywhere. Some thing I think is important is the amount of time and kids there are with age and time of year, if it’s during the school year charge more, less during the summer since you would have more free time.

  6. Mike says:

    $15-20 per hour for three kids 6, 8, 10 years old in suburban CT. $5 would be unreal. But, more likely in 1985.

    • Ariyanna says:

      People really $5 an hour? Starting rate should be $8 an hour for the first child and add $ per child after that! Oh I love the comment about adults working and paying their bills by earning $10 an hour. Where do they live? In a shoe box? Omg that wont even cover my rent, let alone car payment, insurance, H20, electric, cable, phone, cell, etc! Are you people insane or what? My children are very important to me, so if you love your child and want a responsible, dependable, sitter than pay what they are worth! You never know your child’s life may depend on it!!!!!!!! Who wants an angry, broke sitter watching their child? They may take your being cheap on your pride and joy????????????

  7. ecp4 says:

    I went to school for nursing to earn $25 an hour as a new grad. To pay a baby sitter $15-20 an hour is ridiculous. Daycare/After school care charge a flat rate of say $30 for the day, in Arizona. That is with activities and a curriculum involved, as well as snack and playtime. In our area, typically a flat rate is paid for the evening that may last 2 to 4 hrs.

  8. ecp4 says:

    I went to school for nursing to earn $25.00 an hour as a new graduate, to pay a babysitter $20 an hour is ridiculous. Most daycare centers/after school child care charge a flat rate for the day and that is $30 to $35. That involves a curriculum and activities. The going rate around here is a flat rate for the night, unless the sitter is CPR/First Aide certified.

  9. Mike Collins says:

    I’m sure location has a lot to do with pricing, but $5 seems absurdly low to me. We pay our babysitter $15/hour to watch our 3 kids and I’m fine with that. I’d rather pay a little extra and have someone I trust.

  10. We pay $15 an hour for in home care of 3 boys (6, 4, 1). We could get away with cheaper, but I would rather reward quality care and have them stick around rather than having rotating babysitters with less qualified credentials.

    If it is a neighborhood teen watching the children for an hour or two on a then I would probably go more like $8-10 an hour.

  11. Nat Mass says:

    Just a note from the past. In 1967 the going rate for a high school teen was $0.25 per hour, even with caring for 12 children.

    • Ariyanna says:

      Yeah and that was in 1967, we are in 2013. Check the local news our children are being abducted, beaten, kidnapped, and raped! Isn’t their life worth a whole lot more? Just saying

  12. Marie says:

    Wow oh wow. I have been a childcare provider for 14 years, and I get no where near that amount. I currently get $85 per week for fulltime. Do the math, not even $1.75 per hour, and I have 14 years experience in the childcare business, feed them 2 meals and snacks per day, and I provide a curriculum and activities. These rates are over the top. I certainly believe that a working adult deserves more than a 16 year old. I try to support my family on my job.

    • sitter12 says:

      Your being ripped off my neighboor has a sitter that has 10 years of experience and she gets 300 dollars and works 4/7 days a wee for 8 hours a day.

    • Natalie says:

      And where are you so i can take my kids to you.

    • Ariyanna says:

      Are you serious, $85 for the week? My 18 yr old daughter makes $500 a week! All of the children’s foods, and snacks are provided by the parents, I recommend you up your pricing that’s insane!

  13. Perri Irwin says:

    How much should a babysitter discount for sleeping children?

  14. April says:

    I believe some of these amounts are absurd. I am just now beginning to let my 11 year old sit our 2 younger children ages 8 and 5. We pay him 10$ a day. he sits 2 hours in morning then hubby comes home on his lunch and then 4 hours in afternoon. My kids are extremely well behaved and I have no fears. The 11 yr old has cpr and first aid certification as well. He only sit 2 days a week so he can be a “kid” the other 3 days. I believe in transition. Even with adults home in an emergency situation there isn’t always a good outcome. You can never prepare for every situation. Our 11 year old is more responsible than the 2 adults we’ve had sit however I dont believe any child deserves more pay than what most parents make.

  15. sitter12 says:

    That’s true, the pay should have a generous window especially if they are younger than 18, so that they can afford to hire you and still go out if they are going on a date or something, especially.

  16. Anonymous says:

    We are letting a 17 year old keep out two boys ages 10 and 5. We live down south and she would be watching them about 8 hours a day and it will be a couple days a week. I’m not really sure what to pay. The 10 yr old can pretty much do everything for himself. I don’t make a whole lot of money per hour and can’t see paying by the hour when she will be here for about 8 hours on the days she keeps them. I open to any opinions on what I should pay.

  17. SitterGirl says:

    I am 12 and charge acording to amount of children and age. I charge 4$ an hour per infant(0-12months) 3$ an hour per toddler (1-4) and 2$ an hour for anyone older then 4.

  18. SitterGirl says:

    I am 12 and charge according to amount of children and age. I charge 4$ an hour per infant(0-12months) 3$ an hour per toddler (1-4) and 2$ an hour for anyone older then 4.

  19. Olivia says:

    I am 15 i am a baby sitter and i charge $8.00 for 5-11 Monday thou Thursday and $10 for infants to 4 too and on the weekend its $2.00 more so i think $5.00 is too little to pay a babysitter if you ask me

  20. Jenya says:

    You have to consider years of experience, qualifications, certifications, and number of children when hiring a babysitter/nanny.

    For one child I am paid between $10-$20 per hour. Two children $12.50-25 per hour. Per child is usually an additional $5 per hour.

    I don’t change my rates when a child is sleeping. If that child wakes up choking I’ll be putting in all my effort to save them. Not half.

    I do clean up after the child(ren) by putting away toys and washing dishes. Any form of household chore ie: washing clothes, ironing, sweeping, mopping, picking up canine fecal matter, cleaning a feline litter box, dusting, etc. will be at least another $5 per hour. I am not the maid, I am the child care provider.

    If you need help finding a sitter/nanny look at qualifications. CPR/First Aid certified, high school diploma, college/university diploma, child development classes, volunteer work with children, REFERENCES, languages spoken, and skills with special needs children.

    With daycare comes a higher risk of contamination of your child with lice, bacteria such as ringworm, viruses such as influenza, and parasites if there is a carnivorous animal on the premises.

  21. Lavon says:

    In D.C. it’s at $10-$15 an hour. If the sitter is certified in CPR and First Aid they are going to want more. I wouldn’t mind paying $15 an hour at least I know my child is safe and the sitter is certified if anything was to happen.

  22. unknown says:

    I am a teenage girl around 12. Yesterday I got paid 8 dollars per hour, since I was there for 3 hours so I got paid 20 dollars in all for babysitting a 1 year old. I kind of argued with the parent because she was giving me $8 per hour when really I think I should have got paid $5 per hour.

    SO, $5 PER HOUR IS REASONABLE!

  23. CareBear says:

    I am currently babysitting a friends children. He will soon be 3 from 9am to 6:30pm mon. -fri. Then her daughter who is almost 7 when she gets off the bus @ 3:30. She pays me $400 a month. It equals to $20 bucks a day. AND I get $400 one time in the middle of the month. I provide breakfast and lunch plus snacks simply because the mother rarely provides food. I am a stay at home mom with 3 kids of my own, 2 of witch are not school age yet. I think this is rediculously low bit she always makes me feel as though I have to do this because she has noone else. We are strugling and I MUST get a job. I have NO idea how to tell her withoit loosing her friendship.I think $600/month is reasonable…

  24. TheOneManMonkeyCrew says:

    Well lets do some easy simple math…….. Ready?

    If a babysitter charges 9 dollars a hour for 4 hours simply for one month which is to say 30 days or 31 ( not counting February of course) then that would equal to a total of a big wad of money of 1080$ for one month for 4 hours per day. If you don’t like working hard then this isn’t for you. By the date this was posted you can have 1080 dollars to buy a nice computer for christmas before it even starts.

    4 hours a day for 30 or 31 days shouldn’t be a lot of a trouble so that means if you are in high school and below then you can work 4 hours after school to babysit. Make sure you have one or more job opening for baby sitting or any other thing so that the trend continues of a large income. For example I have a schedules lawn mowing today and one tomorrow for the exact same price. Then I don’t half to worry about getting a new job opening. This does all depend to. Hope this helped :)

  25. Thomas says:

    I will need someone for our newborn baby in December for 9 hrs a day 5 day a week-how much should I pay babysitter in PA (17972 zip)


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