Do You Pay a Babysitter More than a Mother's Helper? and Related Questions.

Updated on February 09, 2012
L.B. asks from New Rochelle, NY
8 answers

Let's say someone is your "mother's helper" and plays with your child while you are in the house, cleaning (or in my case studying.) Would you expect to pay such a person less than a babysitter, who is by herself with the child? I use a couple of college students as mothers' helpers while I do my own schoolwork. I pay them what they asked for ($14 an hour.) If I decide one day to use them as actual sitters and go out, should I pay more? My area is pretty pricey for sitters, but I am also wondering if anyone thinks that is too much for someone who is just a mother's helper (and doesn't even have to change diapers.) I kind of figured I was paying for time, regardless of responsibilities involved, but I am just curious what other people think.

My second question is, do you pay sitters according to age? Would you expect to pay a young teen less than an older teen? Would an adult get the most? Just curious how people do it. So far, I've just been paying what these girls ask.

Last question... Since I am in the apartment, I can hear that the girl I have now is not really interacting with my son, although she is sitting with him. When I went out to get something, she was holding her smartphone, from which she seems inseparable. At $14 an hour, this is kind of irking me, but I feel awkward bringing it up. Would you say something?

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answers from San Diego on

For that kind of money I would expect her to be engaged the whole time. So long as you don't have her doing housework, then she should be hanging out with him, reading to him, helping him on preschool games on the computer, or playing board games with him.

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answers from Boston on

I wouldn't hire a college student for a mother's helper, so that would color my answer. I would hire a young teen or even a tween and pay $5 an hour. For baby-sitting I pay $10 an hour for few hours. During the summer, I pay $100 a day for 8-10 hours (older high school or college student, someone who can drive) or $10 an hour for less than an 8 hour day.

Honestly, I think you're getting ripped off AND the girl isn't even doing her job. I let my sitters know that I expect them to use their phones sparingly and not be glued to them and joke that my kids will tell on them. It hasn't been a problem so far. If I were you, I would look for someone else. $14 per hour tax free is a pretty big deal.

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answers from New York on

My sister lives in Bronxville and I know she pays $20. Per hr for a sitter. She is cpr certified and also holds a degree in early childhood ed. I have a 12 yr old mothers helper and I only pay her $5. Per hour. I only use her for my 16 mo old while my other two girls are in preschool. I would absolutely say something to her about being on her phone so much. You are paying her a lot of money!

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answers from San Francisco on

$14 per hour seems like a lot of pay a mother's helper whose only responsibility is to entertain your child while you are in the house. And yes, for $14 per hour, she better be interacting with my child. You bet I'd say something!

I do think that an older, more experienced babysitter should be paid more than a teenager. Just like any employer, you are paying for her experience.
Since I don't pay babysitters I have no idea what the going rate is.

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answers from Seattle on

Typically (or at least in my experience), you pay a mother's helper less than a babysitter because a mother's helper does not have as much responsibility and (presumably) would not need to have as much experience. Mother's helpers are often young teens. In Seattle, where childcare is expensive, I would expect to pay $8-12 an hour for a helper. Babysitter's are typically $15/hour, give or take.

I would pay a young babysitter less than an experienced older babysitter (and a professional nanny even more!). A nanny can make from $18-20 an hour, easily, if experienced (and with good references).

I would not keep hiring a helper/babysitter who is always on the phone.


answers from Nashville on

my 15 year old charges $20 a day (usually only for a few hours) to babysit, I wouldn't think she would charge any different for being a mother's helper... BUT she also knows that she is being paid to care for and interact with said child. If I saw my sitter locked into her cell phone and not interacting with or watching my son, I think I would fire her on the spot. An occasional text message is one thing (I do that at work myself), but I also find time to do my job around texting (and Mamasource LOL)

So, to answer your question, yes, you are over paying for a mother's helper. I pay for experience.

I would let the girl you have now know that you are paying her to interact with your son, and if that is interfering with her cell phone time than she can and will be replaced. at $14 and hour I would expect to hear her singing and playing and reading books to him the whole time she was there. I don't pay my 15 year old (except the evenings I work at my second job and my husband isn't home) for sitting with my 3 year old, and I can still hear her playing and reading to him while I'm cooking dinner or doing laundry.

Good luck!



answers from Denver on

I think $14/hr is a lot! I pay my college age babysitters (and high school for that matter) $10/hr. I think if you are home - the girl isn't really interacting (no smartphone while you're working!!!) you need to talk to her about it.

In the future I would start out at $10 and tell them you'll give them a raise after a month of solid, good care. I'd consider that an incentive - and I wouldn't pay more for "date night" vs. "mother's helper" care considering how much you pay already!!



answers from Chicago on

I think that the term mothers helper is usually used for a younger helper. in our area (outside chicago) it usually refers to a child about 11 or 12 who pretty much just plays with the little one while you do your housework or take a bath or whatever. at $14 an hour she should be taking care of and playing with your little one.

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