How much to Pay a Babysitter

The rate of pay for a babysitter should be approached like any other business decision. You must begin by defining your expectations from the position. Are you hiring someone to stay in the house while your children run amok? Or, are you looking for someone to also be a maid, nanny, and cook? Somewhere between these extremes is a realistic definition of a babysitter. If you are expecting someone to put their life on hold while they watch your children, you should plan to compensate them accordingly.

Another important question to consider is that of the duration of the assignment. Is this babysitting job for an evening while you and your spouse or date go out? Is it a 50 hour per week babysitting assignment for while you are at work? For short spans, you can often live with a lesser quality of babysitter. This translates into lower pay. If you want dependable week after week full time babysitting, you get what you pay for. You may find it cheaper to use daycare or preschool than to use high quality babysitting.

If you need an evening out a time or two per month, you might be able to arrange free babysitting with other parents by swapping services. You will watch their children when needed in exchange for them doing the same for you. The problem is that this can be inequitable. Abuse of the system can lead to a collapse of the arrangement. By having some written agreements in advance, you can devise a point system where you accrue points when you babysit and spend points when you use babysitting. With a network of 4 or 5 families, this can become a very workable system.

Once you realize that paying for babysitting is the best route in your situation, you will need to begin to poll friends and relatives to find a reliable reasonably priced babysitter. This will often be an older teen who has proved responsible. For an evening out, plan on spending about $8 to $10 per hour. If you furnish snacks, allow acceptable visitors, and have the kids in pajamas before you leave, you might be able to trim this amount slightly.

If you plan to only be away during the early evening hours and can drop your children off with a sitter where it works more like a play date for the kids, you might get lucky and find someone nearby with children who will either babysit or supervise one of their children to babysit in their home. Many times for a two or three hour period the cost will only be $10 to $15, total.

For a full-time babysitter whether at your house or theirs, the cost will go up. If the sitter runs a mini-daycare from their house, it might save you a little because the sitter makes more money from the larger scale of the job. The cost per hour might drop to $1.50 to $4.00 per hour for the week, but your child will be part of the group and not have dedicated care.

As long as you allow the sitter to have some freedom to run errands and do personal things while babysitting, you can keep the cost down. You will need to furnish a car seat or car booster seat for a small child. Most of the time, you will be expected to furnish food and snacks for the child. The cost should be reasonable. Expect to pay below $5 per hour for this type of service.

If you ask the sitter to dedicate full days only to watching your child or children, you need to pay them as you would any other employee. The sitter will sign in and out and be paid an hourly wage. In this case, overtime premium pay might need to be applied after 40 hours per week. Even for a youthful worker, you should pay $8 to $10 per hour. More than likely, this level of service will put you in the $10 per hour and up range depending on what else you require of your employee.

Where you reside will also affect the cost of babysitting. In rural areas, the cost will be lower than in cities. In the midwest, it will be lower than it is on the coasts.

It is important that you have realistic expectations about what you are paying to receive. Put it in writing. This way both parties know the job description. Be prepared to accept a little less if you need to pay less. However, do not put the health or safety of your children at risk just to save a buck.

If you cannot afford babysitting, you may need to look for help. There are programs that subsidize child care for lower income families. If you are a single parent of several children, you may find it better to explore options that do not include paying for babysitting.