How Much Should I Pay My Babysitter?
Deciding what to pay for babysitting services can be a difficult task. On one hand, you want to pay enough so the sitter is happy and will want to come back. On the other hand, you may need to watch your budget and can’t pay more than the average rate. How do you determine a fair wage?
How much to pay a babysitter depends on a number of factors:
- The age and experience of the sitter
- Additional responsibilities
- The number and age(s) of the children
- Your location
- Special occasions
The older and more experienced the babysitter, the more you can expect to pay. Sitters between the ages of 11 and 14 may be happy with $4 or $5 an hour. Sitters in this age group should be easily reachable by phone, so ask them to carry a cell phone or stay within range of the home phone.
Babysitters aged 15 to 17 should earn at least $6 or $7 an hour. Babysitters of this age are usually more experienced, can prepare simple meals, and clean up after themselves and the children. They are also eligible for other employment, so parents should be willing to offer competitive rates when deciding how much to pay for child care.
Sitters over the age of 18 require $8 to $15 an hour, depending on their level of experience and your expectations for additional household responsibilities (see below). Sitters in metropolitan areas will expect closer to $15 an hour or more.
Will your sitter be responsible for transporting children to and from sports or other activities? Will your sitter be helping with homework? This will increase the price. You should also pay extra if the sitter is asked to do laundry or other household tasks.
Each additional child requiring care will add another dollar or two an hour to the fee. Even the child’s temperament may enter the equation. Babysitters may demand a higher price for a difficult child.
In general, rates are higher in urban areas than in rural areas. Check with neighbors, family and friends to see how much they are paying sitters.
You may want to offer up to 50 percent more on holidays like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve. This shows the sitter that you appreciate their dedication on a night that they themselves might rather be going out.
Still not sure what to pay a sitter?
If you are still unsure about what to pay a good babysitter, you could ask the sitter directly. If you do this, be prepared to pay the rate the sitter names. If you cannot afford to go over a certain amount, inform the sitter of that rate and make sure it is acceptable.
Keep in mind that a babysitter who is well compensated and feels appreciated will be more accommodating when it comes to scheduling and performing extra chores. The well-paid babysitter will most likely be available on short notice, and do it with a smile.
Above all, parents should remember the importance of childcare — you are putting your child or children into their capable hands. Price accordingly when you determine how much to pay for babysitter services.