Linda Sarhan has been a freelance writer and researcher for 20+ years and has a B.A. in English and creative writing.
How much to pay a babysitter is a question that all parents ask at some point. Parental expectations are much higher than they were a few decades ago, and today's babysitters also have higher expectations due to higher costs of living. Determining how much to pay your babysitter depends on your needs and theirs. Below, you'll find the factors to consider when making your decision.
How Much to Pay the Babysitter: How to Decide
Below, you'll find several questions and considerations that will help you figure out how much to pay a particular babysitter for each particular babysitting job.
How old is the babysitter?
The age of your prospective babysitter is factor to consider.
- 12 to 14 years old: If you just need someone to watch your children for one to two hours while you do some shopping or run errands, you may consider someone who is between the ages of 12 to 14 years old. This age group does not have household bills, etc. to worry about, thus they may be content with making $5 to $7 an hour.
- 15 to 17 years old: A 15- to 17-year-old may be babysitting to save for college or even their first car so expect to pay a little bit more when considering someone in this age bracket. 15- to 17-year-olds generally expect at least $7 to $10 per hour because at this age they can generally find a job that pays that much. Plus, a 16- or 17-year-old may have a vehicle already and will have to think about the cost of gas to get to and from the job.
- 18 and older: If the babysitter you're considering is 18 years or older, expect to pay more. They are able to stay longer and later than the 12- to 17-year-olds and may have more experience and flexibility. An adult babysitter generally expects no less than minimum wage. Most adults, depending on the where you live, will expect a minimum of $10 to $25 an hour.
How many children will be babysat?
Remember that if you have multiple children, it will more than likely cost more. The general rule is to pay an extra $1 an hour per child. So if you have three children, expect to pay $2 more an hour; for four children, expect to pay $3 more an hour, and so on. Keep in mind that professional babysitters will have their own set rates for watching multiple children that are generally much higher than this.
Where will the babysitting happen?
The location in which you live plays a part in how much to pay a babysitter. In big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Miami, expect to pay $15 to $25 an hour. However, in small towns and rural areas, you may only have to pay minimum wage to $12 an hour. Cost of living and the cost of gas both play a big factor in the amount of money to pay a babysitter. Although babysitting is a good way for teenagers to earns some extra cash, some adults babysit as a career choice, therefore cost of living is essential consideration for those who have bills to pay.
What is the child's temperament?
Some children are naturally hyper and full of energy. They need a babysitter who can keep up. You also may have a child who is naturally defiant and needs a babysitter who can maintain control and discipline in your absence. This may cost more than watching a child that is shy and reserved. Just be sure to discuss this with your potential babysitter ahead of time.
More Questions to Determine the Hourly Price for In-Home Child Care
Does the babysitter have any qualifications and certificates?
Qualifications and certifications can be very important when considering a babysitter. Those that have taken babysitting classes, first aid training, CPR classes, and other specialized training will expect to get paid more. If someone has invested money and time in taking classes, they are now are more qualified when it comes to looking after your kids. They are trained to keep your children safe and to know what to do in the event of an emergency. If you have a special needs child, you will probably want to hire someone who knows how to care for your child's special needs. Even though there are not specific guidelines for how much extra a babysitter with certifications should be paid, some may be paid up to $15 to $17 per hour depending upon their certifications and your child's special needs. This is something that is negotiated in the interview. Just expect to pay more for a babysitter with certifications.
How much experience does the babysitter have?
Some are seasoned babysitters. They come with years of experience and, in most cases, references. You are more than likely going to pay a babysitter more if he or she has had a lot of experience with children, especially if they have experience with special needs. Most of the time a babysitter with experience already knows how to handle a variety of situations compared to someone who is just starting out babysitting or doesn't babysit frequently.
How often do you use the babysitter?
Another thing to consider is if you have a regular babysitter, it is suggested that over time, you should give a raise in pay. For example, if your babysitter has been with you for six months to a year and has been doing an excellent job, consider giving him or her and extra $0.50 - $1 an hour. Continue this for as long as he or she stays your regular babysitter.
What tasks do you expect the babysitter to manage?
Most babysitters are there to care for your child and not there to be your personal maid. So if you expect your babysitter to do the vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, or laundry, definitely expect to pay more. Same goes if you expect your babysitter to take your child to dance or sports practice. This will cost your babysitter gasoline and added mileage to their vehicle and these days, gasoline isn't cheap.
Final Considerations to Determine Hourly Fee
What time of day will the babysitting occur?
Consider the time of day. Are they going to watch your children during the day when the kids are more active, or at night while they are sleeping? You should pay more if the babysitter will be watching your kids while they are awake compared to while they sleep. Babysitters have to be more alert and interactive while your kids are awake.
Will the babysitter be working on a holiday?
If you need a babysitter during what is considered a holiday, such as New Years Eve, Valentine's Day, or St. Patrick's Day, it is advised to pay more or at least give a bonus. Most babysitters that are willing to work late hours could have made their own plans for the holiday but chose to help you out so you can enjoy the holiday yourself. It is just etiquette to give them a little extra on holidays.
These are just few things to consider when deciding how much to pay your babysitter. Understand that most babysitters these days already know how much they are willing to accept per hour and only negotiate in their range. The best advice is to communicate with your babysitter and remember that most of the time, you get what you pay for.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Linda Sarhan
J C on June 24, 2020:
It is my first time ever babysitting on my own and the parent said she would pay me $10 an hour so I guess that is a lot.
(I am 12)
Why should the AGE of the Babysitter matter. If YOU deemed the Lady mature enough in the first place. Why as a " Mother" would you possibly want, to take advantage of you Babysitter ? I suppose you ex on June 10, 2020:
Why should the AGE of tbe Lady matter. If you deemed Her mature enough in the first place
Emma on May 07, 2020:
I am 13 and I have to pay my phone bill so some 13 and 12 year olds have to pay bills when I got my phone for the first year I did not have to pay but when I turned 12 it I wanted to have I phone a payed a monthly phone bill.
Anne on February 15, 2020:
I don’t know about the child thing I mean I have to pay for a lot of my own things so I work. Today as a matter a fact I spent 6 hours sitting 2 kids, ages 4 and 7. I made a good 80 dollars. I think you should expect 6-9 dollars an hour depending on the time and amount of children. I had to take care of kids from 7:30 pm to 1:30 am, the parents were very kind in giving me around 13 dollars an hour.
DavinaFields on April 11, 2019:
I need a job right away