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Babysitting Rates for a Special College Student

I have a 3 month old and I wanted family members to take over and watch her when I return to work. My 19 year old neice will be ending her first year of college and she needs a summer job Monday through Thursday so it couldn't work out more perfectly to have my own neice care for my daughter.. My mother and in-law will be alternating fridays at no charge. The point in having a family member watch my daughter is to to save money on what daycare charges but most IMPORTANTLY to keep family involved and the one-on-one attention with my daughter. I am trying to figure a fair rate to pay my niece. She says shes just happy to make money so she said it was up to md but I want it to be worth her while too. So I'm figuring in the following factors: (1) Free room and board (however I would never think to charge her anyway) Sunday through Wednesday, (2) I will be working from home at least 4 days a week to nurse and help when I can, (3) I will let her borrow my vehicle until she gets her own. She has friends in the area she would want to visit after the day. Caring for a child is a lot of work and certainly cannot compare price over who cares for your child so how do I come up with a fair rate? The same rate as daycare center? I found that the average fee for four days in daycare is $195. Not sure if I should pay by the day or hour. Also when my child goes down for her naps does it seem fair enough to task her with a daily chore during that time? I tried doing some research on fair rates and found a website where you plug in age of sitter, number of children and state and it equaled to the minimum wage. I'm a FTM so I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's advice. Thanks so much!!

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I have to agree with Victoria, it sounds like you are hiring a nanny, not a baby sitter. If you expect her to do house cleaning and meal prep she will need to be paid for these things as well as the child care.

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Umm... I'm not really sure what the correct rate for babysitting is or daycare. But, it doesn't sound like you are hiring a babysitter...but rather a "nanny". There is a difference.
You are expecting (and should expect to pay for) house cleaning... not just babysitting. Daycares don't do house cleaning. They also don't do meal prep (if you are referring to the evening meal... which it sounded that way to me).

So if you are thinking you can pay her less because she is not certified nor more experienced, then I would think again... unless you also plan to do all your own housework and cooking. The vehicle thing? That is also pretty standard (I believe) to provide to a nanny.... the use of a vehicle for the duties of the job.

But whatever you are considering and whatever you are not paying for in exchange for some other benefit.... you need to write it all down and discuss the expectations in advance with your niece. She may decide she doesn't want to live/work under that specific arrangement and find something else better suited to what she wants/expects. There are some trade-offs in your plan. But only your niece can tell you if they are of the same value to HER as they are to YOU.

I would maybe reconsider using the phrase "I hired her", too... since obviously, you haven't finalized the deal---or you would already have a rate of pay worked out and agreed upon.
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You didn't mention your niece's current living arrangements, which may also come into play... does she currently live at home with her parents? Could she/would she stay there if she didn't come stay at your house 4 days a week? Does she pay rent there? Where will she stay/live the other 3 days a week?
I have a hard time docking her money for sleeping over at your house 4 days a week. That sounds like a pain, to me, personally. Sleeping out of a suitcase half the week (at either your house or wherever she is staying the other 3 nights)... that would be annoying as all get out to me.

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I wouldn't hire family to care for my baby to save money, I would hire family because they will love the baby more, theoretically.

You don't get a break because you're going to be home to nurse.

I wouldn't have her clean the house AND watch a baby. Babies take a lot of work. Remember that every task you give her takes her AWAY from your daughter.

Daycare has a higher infant to caregiver ratio... typically nannies, which is what your niece will be, cost MORE than daycare. She's getting room and board, so you can dock her some pay for that.

However, $195 / 4 / 8 (4 days @ 8 hours a day) comes out to barely $6 an hour.

What is her incentive for making that low of a wage? I wouldn't work for $6 an hour. That's less than minimum wage.

I would pay her minimum wage, no taxes and you give her room and board cuz you're her aunt. She loves the baby cuz she's her cousin. Win. Win.

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Well I understand you are trying to go cheaper with family but this will be your niece's summer job. She needs to earn money in the summer. I paid my first sitter who was a 20 year old college student (nursing major CPR certified etc.) $10 per hour. I also worked from home. She worked 9-5, cared for my son but did not have to do any house work, meal prep etc. Seriously, rinsing a bottle was the extent of her housework. You are offering room and board but also requiring more work. I would think the fairest rate is what I paid.. $400 /week. If she agrees to do it for the same amount that daycare charges, you are getting a steal! This is one on one attention... Not the 4-5 to 1 ratio your baby will receive at daycare. In addition, working from home you get to hear your baby all day and really know how she is being cared for. All of your little breaks through the day can be spent checking on your baby, holding baby, nursing baby etc. That alone is worth so much. I understand you are thinking family means discount. I believe that applies to grandparents and aunts doing it for free... But I think if you can't pay your niece at least somewhat comparable to any part time job she could find this summer, you may be out of luck. Good luck, I hope you can get it to work out.

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It is great that your getting your mother and mother in law to keep the baby for you free. Expecting a college age kid to do it for 4 days a week for less than $50 a day is not going to work. She will be staying at your house because you need her. The fact that your working from home will make her job harder not easier. I would offer her at the very least minimum wage. But don't be surprised if she turns it down. She can get a job out in the public that is easier and pays more. I can tell you that I nanny for a family. I don't do cleaning I don't do laundry. I work about 20 - 25 hours a week and I make $250 a week. whether they use me the whole week or not I get paid. If your expecting your niece to be available you need to say ok I will pay "x" amount. and stick with it. because she will be available to you. no cutting fee because your home to nurse, you decide to go to the zoo or just want her out of your hair. It will be her job. and she will count on the money. daycare is not cheap. And most daycare providers don't do laundry, meal prep and or housework. especially for such a low rate. you can't really count meals, and sleeping in your home as part of her pay since she is doing it for you.

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A college student needs to make decent money over the summer, so pay her the going daycare rate. More if you want her to do household chores when the baby naps.

The going rate you mentioned is already less than what she could make at other summer jobs. Having room and board helps somewhat, but is only really valuable if she can't stay with others, like her parents. Where is she supposed to be Thurs-Sat, by the way?

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When I was in college my summer job after Freshman year paid me $10/hr--that was 12 years ago.

Childcare isn't cheap, and I am sure that your niece is trying to be nice by saying that she'd just be happy to have some income. But, really, $195/4 days at a daycare center only works because the teachers have multiple children to watch, so each family is paying that $195 rate. Otherwise they'd never be able to keep teachers around if they were paying only $6/hr. That's way below minimum wage.

She could probably easily find a summer job that would pay her $10-12/hr. Around here that is the going rate for 1 child. I would pay her the going rate--just because she's family doesn't mean that she should be grossly underpaid. Plus, if she does a good job I'm sure you'll want her to do it again next summer, so make it enticing for her.

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Having your niece babysit will give your daughter individual attention all day long. She will be able to attend to her every need at the drop of a hat plus she will love her and probably will have a bond simply because they are cousins. This is priceless!! I would pick her any day of the week over a "certified daycare worker with experience". If you do not want to be cheap, pay her what you would be paying if you put her in daycare. If you want her to do meal prep and cleaning, pay her extra. I understand she will be living with you but you are her aunt. Don't take advantage of her. Do you really think you could find anyone else to care for your daughter, clean and do meal preparation for about $6/hr. Sorry, but I think that rate is insulting.

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You need to pay her the going rate.

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I was a live-in nanny for about a year and a half while I was finishing up my undergraduate degree. I had full room and board plus the use of their car as needed. I watched the kids 2 half days, 1 full weekend day, and one evening per week plus helped out on a regular basis while the parents were home, getting them in the bath, reading stories, playing with them, etc. I made about $400 a month cash on top of my room and board. It was a great deal for me because I really needed a place to stay and couldn't afford the dorms or an apartment. I would suggest getting everything in writing, letting her take the contract with her to look over in private rather than feeling pressured to sign while you watch. It may be well worth it to her to take $195 a week or less, I have no idea what the rest of her situation is or how much work you expect her to do. With family, it is always better to be very clear on expectations up front to avoid recriminations later.

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I would pay her what you would be required to pay day care or a private nanny. Just because she is a relative does not mean she gets less money for the same work a professional would do.

During nap time, maybe she can have a little down time for herself to take a walk and recharge if you are there. If not, she can network, plan and prepare for her next year in college. There is no need to discount money because the child is napping.

If you want her to do extra chores and be busy 24/7 then you pay her a going rate for a nanny/housekeeper, etc.

Negotiate ALL of this upfront before she starts so you are both on the same page with expectations.

For the record, my 18 yr old is a regular, popular babysitter in our neighborhood and she gets anywhere from $12-$15 an hour. She babysits 1 weekend night a week and will bring home $80-$100. She sets no rates.... it is what they pay her. The going rate per hour here is $10.

Make sure neice is treated fairly with salary and appreciated and she'll be more apt to try to excell and do a better job for you vs saving money and going cheap.

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It may be where I live that's to blame, but I pay my 13 year old mothers helper $10 an hour, my college babysitter $15 an hour plus tips, and my grown up, CPR certified agency sitter (for longer days, like when I was finishing my masters) $22 an hour.

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You might want to look at live-in nanny rates or au pair rates. That seems like a comparable situation to your niece living with you. I'd want her to be able to pay for her own gas and toiletries, etc. but you are also supporting her with everything else. DH did ask the au pair (the short time he employed her) to do things like take care of the laundry and do some light cleaning while she was not in school and the children were in school for the day.

We are paying our babysitter (a senior in HS) $10/hr to watch DD for an evening. She is 4. $9-10 seems to be an average going rate these days. Since she won't be working every day and will also be getting room and board, by the hour may be fair. For reference, I paid $299/week for an infant at a center. So $195 with someone you love who is focused on your child is very reasonable.

2 moms found this helpful

I have to agree with Victoria, it sounds like you are hiring a nanny, not a baby sitter. If you expect her to do house cleaning and meal prep she will need to be paid for these things as well as the child care.

2 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't be looking to save money by using your teenaged, college student niece. It's one thing to expect that of mom or mil. I would pay her the going rate for any private sitter who is an adult. Here, that would likely be $10-12 an hour. A private sitter/nanny gets more than someone who watches a group of kids in their home. Ask her what she charges, and do some research to find out what others pay for similar childcare arrangements. I would not expect to pay a niece any differently than a non-family sitter.

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Initially my suggestion was between 100-150/week. If she is living there I do not think it unreasonable to ask her to be responsible for a few household chores - obviously her area(s) need to be cleaned up and share in the dishes. I would write up a contract allow her to have time to consider the options, and both make revisions as needed. In addition, while you are writing this contract stop thinking of her as your family and think of her as your employee.

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I can't imagine child care being that high there, my goodness! For a full week here in Oklahoma it only runs about $25-$35 per day for 10+ hours per day....

Most babysitters eat what the kids eat. They don't get charged for their meals. Most baby sitters don't do housework, they fix simple meals for the kiddo's and if it's a baby they make formula, since she's so young she won't be eating table food until the fall/winter so there should be no cooking required.

I think that you need to ask her what she expects so that you can find out now, before you get too close to the date of no return in finding child care, how much she is thinking you'll offer. She may have totally exorbitant ideals about what babysitting pays. She may also have a good level idea and it be a good starting point. She may also just be grateful for some pocket money and take anything you offer.

If she wants $100 per day you are going to have to tell her no thanks so finding out now is imperative.

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I would look at what childcare costs in your area and then pay her accordingly. For example, if 5 days a week is $200 then you would pay her $160-$200 a week (assuming an 8-10 hour day). If you want to have her do chores during naptime (outside of normal picking up after the baby) then you should bump that up closer to what a nanny would be paid per week.

You wouldn't have commute time or even have to have your baby up and out the door nor does she have to commute so it's a win win. You get the extra perk of having family you can trust, she gets the added perk of the room and board.

She can still work another job on Friday-Sunday if she wants to.

After everyone else's answers, mine just seems heartless, so I'll reconsider. Sigh. I couldn't afford to have an extra person living with me, and then paying them to care for a child while I was actually in the home...so my thoughts naturally went in that direction. Sorry. You are very fortunate to have someone who can care for your child with such devotion as she'll be able to, and you need to discuss it with her and come to an agreement with her based on what she'll actually be doing.

I don't think it's too much to ask her to do chores and care for a baby...mothers have been managing to do that since time began.

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