How much should you pay a babysitter?

Posted May 4th, 2018

Parents are getting more and more resourceful these days. Not only when it comes to coordinating schedules and accommodating family needs, but also covering childcare when both Mom and Dad are unavailable. Grandparents, neighbors, swapping services with other parents – these are excellent options that promise money-saving for parents and fun-having for kids.

But what about the times your village isn’t available? These are the moments it’s great to have the contact information for a few trustworthy babysitters. Someone who would be happy to hang with your posse and make a few extra bucks on the side.

The question is: How much should you pay a babysitter? Most sitters make an average of $12 per hour, but there are several factors that affect how much you should pay a sitter. Here are a few.

Age

The age of the sitter and the age of the children affects pay scale. Younger sitters who are less experienced, aren’t as likely to be missing out on other work opportunities, and probably don’t have many bills to pay can be paid slightly less. If you stay with the same sitter for years, increase the pay as he or she gets more experienced with your children. Also, toddlers at a challenging stage of development can prove more difficult than an infant who sleeps from 7 pm until the parents get home. Be sure to adjust the pay accordingly.

Location

The higher the cost of living where you live, the higher the babysitting wages.

Experience

Relying on a babysitter’s medical training, early childhood education background, or experience with handling large groups of children should warrant a higher hourly rate.

Number of children

It’s appropriate to add $2-$5 per hour for each additional child. It’s challenging enough getting one toddler to eat dinner, let alone being an outsider trying to get three children under 5 bathed and in bed on time.

Time of day

If your sitter will be with your children for a large window of time during the day when kids are active and on the go, it’s appropriate to pay a bit more. Inversely, sitters can be paid less if his or her only duties include putting children to bed and watching TV until you come home.

Activities

If the sitter has to leave the house to transport your kids, that means heightened responsibility. It’s appropriate to increase the pay.

Meals

Plan to pay a bit more if you’re expecting your sitter to prepare meals for your kids. It’s also appropriate to leave some cash for a pizza order or trip to the nearby ice cream shop.

Care.com has an excellent Babysitter Wage Calculator for a jumping off point. Keep in mind that it’s totally up to you what you will pay your sitter. This is just a good start for those who are new to the “hiring someone to be entrusted with my children’s well-being” thing.

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