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 your babysitter is a question that has been up for debate for several decades. The expectations of the parents regarding who will watch their little ones are much higher than a few decades ago. The babysitters also have higher expectations due to the cost of living, higher minimum wages, etc. Determining how much to pay your babysitter just depends on your needs and theirs. There are many factors to consider when making your decision.
Age of your prospective babysitter is factor to consider. 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 12-14 years old. 12-14 year olds do not have household bills, etc to worry about thus they may be content making $5 - $7 an hour.
A 15-17 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. 15-17 year olds generally expect $7 - $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 think about the cost of gas to get to and from the job.
If the babysitter you're considering is 18 years or older, expect to pay more. They are able to stay longer than the 12-17 year olds and may have more experience and flexibility. An adult babysitter generally expects no less than $9. Most adults, depending on the where you live, will expect a minimum of $10 -$25 an hour.
Number of Children
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 3 children expect to pay $2 more an hour, 4 children expect to pay $3 more an hour, and so on. Keep in mind that professional babysitters have their own set rates for watching multiple children that are generally much higher than this.
The location in which you live also 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-$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 plays 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.
Temperament of the Child
Some children are naturally hyper and full of energy. You need a babysitter that can keep up. You also may have a child that is naturally defiant and need a babysitter who can maintain control and discipline in your absence. This may cost more than paying a babysitter for watch a child that is shy and reserved. Just be sure to discuss this with your potential babysitter ahead of time.
Qualifications and certifications can be very important when even considering a babysitter. Those that have taken babysitting classes, first aid classes, CPR classes, and other child care classes expect to get paid more. Most of these classes cost money for them to take and they 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. Also if you have a special needs child, you will probably 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 - $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.
Some are seasoned babysitters. They come with 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 that share the same needs as your own. 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.
Another thing to consider is if you have a regular babysitter, it is suggested that over time you should give a raise in pay over time. 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.
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 in order to get your children to and from an extra-curricular activity and these days gasoline isn't cheap.
Time of Day
Consider the time of day. Are they going to watch your children during the day when they 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.
If you need a babysitter during what is considered a holiday, such as New Years Eve, Valentines, 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
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