11 answers

How Much Should I Pay the Babysitter?

I should have asked this days ago because I just dropped off the babysitter from tonight. We don't use babysitters very often. Maybe three times in the last 4 years. So we have no idea how much to pay one. I remember getting something like $2-$3 per hour for babysitting when I was a kid, and it didn't matter how many kids. I have four kids ages 4 1/2, 2 1/2 (twins), 18 months, and a dog. My kids are fairly well behaved, and not too tough to care for (in my opinion... - but I'm the mom). Really, the babysitter is just here to play with them and make sure they don't hurt themselves. We went out tonight from 5-8pm. The kids were already fed and diapers changed. We told her if they wanted a snack, they could have whatever was in the pantry. We paid her $25. Is that too little? Too much? What are the ground rules? Also, we asked her how much she wanted to be paid before we left, and she wouldn't say. I told her if we didn't pay her enough it's her own fault for not saying! So what do you normally pay the babysitter these days and what criteria do you consider when deciding how much?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I've noticed that it appears to be different between Utah and Colorado. I've asked a few moms on my street what they pay babysitters, and plan to ask some of the sitters' moms. That was a great idea I hadn't thought of. Thank you for all your responses. They've really opened my eyes to how things can be don regarding babysitters! Keep responses coming because the more I get, the better judgment I can use! Thanks!

More Answers

I HATED being asked how much I should be paid when I was a babysitter. HATED IT!
My husband and I disagreed very much about how much to pay our babysitter. He thought $10 an hour was reasonable. I think that's absurd. He thinks that anything less than he makes is pitiful. I made the observations that she's only 14, she's completely unskilled, and she's going to be watching tv for 2 hours of it (after the kids are in bed). Why would we pay her a third of his salary? We finally settled on $5 an hour. We have two little boys, ages 4 & 2, and they are absolutely easy for babysitters. Babysitters love to come to our house! They even tell us that our kids are great (I wish they were that easy for me!)
I figure that babysitters are sort of self-regulating. I know that if I didn't like babysitting certain families, and they didn't pay much, I'd turn down their job offers. If the kids were a pain but the pay was good, I might do it. But if the kids were fun and good, I'd take the job even if they didn't generally pay well.
I also never understood paying per child, unless there are multiple families sharing a babysitter. I don't think a family with one child would pay just $2/hr, and watching 2 children isn't twice as hard, nor takes up more time as watching one. I pay for her TIME.
You probably had an ecstatic babysitter when you paid her that much. I probably would have paid $15, but my husband would have tried to make it $20. Our usual babysitter seems to be happy with her pay.

The other thing to factor in is how much you can afford for a night out. Dinner and a movie with a babysitter can get expensive. If you paid $30 for dinner, $14 each for movie tickets, and $40 (if you were to pay $10/hour for 4 hours) of babysitting, that's $98 for a date night for two people, and that's RIDICULOUS! We're bargain-hunters, so our dinner and movie usually cost a little over $20 and the babysitter is about $20, so already we're at $40. Ouch.

1 mom found this helpful

well, I was paid $4 or $5 per hour when I used to babysit... and that was over 15 years ago... so imho, it should be more.. however, whatever you work out between your babysitter and you, that you both agree is fair, should work. I guess what one poster said is that you'll know if you aren't paying enough if your sitter doesn't return or is often busy.

we pay $7 for our sitter.. and only have one kid. maybe that is too high, but it seems reasonable to me. we also round up to the nearest hour, and give her a "tip" if we are running late... I don't see any reason to short change her just to save a couple buck. so yes, it is expensive, but we just don't go out as often or save our "dates" for when family are visiting or we often "swap" babysitting with our friends.

personally, I don't think what you can afford should have anything to do with it. People will pay $5 for a coffee drink at starbucks or way more than $5 an hour for someone to clean their house or to paint their toenails... people who don't place a high value on the care of their children is so strange to me. never mind what it says about the value of a mother caring for her own children each day... which should be priceless. so why be tight when it comes to paying someone else?

I have 3 kids (11, 8 and 6). I pay my sitter $10/hr, then round up. The kids are pretty low maintenance at this point, sitter usually only has to get them off to bed. If there were diaper changes and constant looking after involved (as with younger kids) I would pay more. In fact, when the kids were really little, I paid $15/hr. Maybe the $25 for 3 hrs with 4 kids may have been just a bit cheap, but if your sitter didn't speak up and you gave her the chance, that's her loss, I think. When I first hired my sitter, I told him "I've paid anywhere from $8/hr up to $15/hr, take your pick what you want to be paid" and he said "Well then, I'll take $10/hr" which I thought was fair.

We pay ours $8/hour for watching out 2.5 year old. I think $5/hour per kid is pretty much the going rate, but that you need to pay more if you have just one kid to make it worth their while. So, when #2 comes along this spring, we will probably be paying her $10-$12/hour. I think that it varies based on where you live--we are in the Denver area, and those rates are pretty standard here. I am all for being frugal--but I don't think that you should be cheap at the expense of other people. Be generous with others, and cheap with yourselves. I would rather just go out for pie and coffee and talk to my dh uninterrupted for a couple hours (while leaving a good tip and paying the babysitter well) than to give the babysitter or the waitress the short end of the stick because we can't really afford to be going out--you know? So, talk to a few other parents in your area, see what they pay, and try to make sure you are paying the going rate. When I was babysitting--over 10 years ago--I charged $8/hour for taking care of two kids after school every day--and I was happy with that.

Yes! That is way too little for three children. The going rate is typically $5 an hour PER child, that would mean then for three hours $45. You may think it is "easy" because they are your children, but entrusting your kids with another person, them changing diapers, picking up after the playtimes and wanting to really get a good sitter you need to pay for one.
I would say $35 at the very least.

I do part time child care and watch kids 3 1/2 and over, which I consider not so tough to watch and don't change diapers, I charge $4.25 an hour! If she had to change diapers that is more then worth the $10-15 an hour you should be paying her.

Most teenage sitters are humble and aren't going to speak up, it is YOUR job as the parent to pay what you think is right and I don't personally think $25 was fair for three hours for three kids at all if she was a good sitter.
You get what you pay for and if you want her back I suggest upping the going rate.

I think it's safe to say that babysitters in Colorado get paid more than babysitters in Utah. When I had a 3 yr old and 7 1/2 month old twins (5 years ago) and lived in Layton, UT I paid a 16 yr old to watch them 3 days a week for about 8 hours a day and paid $50 a day. She thought the money was great! Now if it's not all day and it's only a few hours I do try to make it worth their time by paying $3 an hour per kid. Although with 4 kids I think $12 would be too much, that's almost twice as much as minimum wage. $9 an hour is great in Utah. I think what you paid was resonable.

I am a mom of 5 boys, 5, 3, 3, 1, 1 I have 2 sets of twins. My children even though there is a lot of them they too are well behaved. I pay $2 an hour per child. This has seemed to work out pretty well for us!!! Good luck!! Another thing you can do is ASK the babysitter--The first time I got a babysitter it was just my oldest who when then about 3 months. I called my cousin who lives in CA and asked her how much I should pay the babysitter--she and I both decided on $10 an hour. She called me back right as I was pulling up to the house and said, "maybe ask her what she usually gets paid"? I did so and she came back with $3 an hour!!!!! I had just saved myself $7 an hour and $21 total!!!

I hope this helps!!! Good luck!

I personally think babysitting is a rip off. I do a home daycare and get paid less than $3/hour for permanent full-time kids. I get $3 hour for part-time. I don't pay child babysitters more than I get paid for my business during the day. This is in your home using your stuff and half the time is usually after the kids are in bed. I say $2/hour per kid is the tops, and not more than $8/hour ever. They can't get a job that pays that much anywhere else, and it's easier than any job out there too. I should take up babysitting at night instead, and get the people that pay $15 hour. I could watch one kid for 2 hours and make more money than I make in 10 hours for one kid. So, anyway, that's my 2 cents!

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