To be honest, the Honeybee and I rarely used babysitters at all even when the kids were younger because we were fortunate enough to have two sets of grandparents living relatively nearby who would usually fill in for us.
The few times we did hire a babysitter — a very nice teenage girl who lived up the street — I was always a bit befuddled regarding the appropriate rate of pay.
The last thing I wanted to do was underpay her — after all, everyone hates underpaid jobs. Then again, after spending a good chunk of change for a fun night on the town, I really didn’t want to overpay her either.
I usually ended up paying our babysitter $10 per hour plus all the food and beverages she could consume from our pantry and refrigerator while we were gone.
So how much do babysitters get paid nowadays?
Well, it turns out the answer is: it depends.
A sample of various babysitting websites found that babysitters currently earn between $14 and $25 per hour. However, there are multiple factors to consider when it comes to determining how much to pay them:
- The age and experience of the babysitter. Sitters under age 15 should get as low as half the pay of an older or more experienced babysitter.
- The age of the kids. Add an additional $2 per hour to their base pay for newborns and $1 per hour for toddlers.
- The number of kids. Add an additional $1 – $2 per hour for each additional child.
- The cost of living. Big city babysitters should expect to earn more than their country cousins.
- If additional duties are required. Add an additional $1 – $2 per hour if the sitter is required to drive the kids someplace, cook meals, or perform other tasks.
- Time of day. Because there is less effort involved, evening rates can be a bit lower if the kids will be sleeping while the babysitter is on duty.
As a quick example, let’s say you hired a 15-year-old babysitter to watch your two toddlers so you and your honey could enjoy a quiet dinner and a movie. Let’s also assume a base rate of $20/hour for an older experienced babysitter.
$20/hr base rate + $1/hr premium for the first toddler + $1/hr premium for the second toddler + $2/hr for one extra child = $24/hr
But since our sitter in this example is younger, we can cut that rate in half — so $12 per hour. Who knows; assuming your kids would be sleeping most of the time, you might even be able to shave a bit more off the rate. Or not.
Anyway, I think you get the idea. I know I do now. I just wish I had these guidelines when my kids were younger.
At least I can now rest a little bit easier knowing that I wasn’t underpaying our neighborhood babysitter.
Photo Credit: surlygirl
(This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on March 6, 2012)