Intermittent Childcare Needs

Updated on January 27, 2017
C.K. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
11 answers

Quick background: Up until 3rd grade my daughter was in various childcare/day camp places. We LOVED the last one until every teacher quit and the new ones did not address a bullying situation. I escalated it to the director, and one teacher didn't appreciate that and SHE started bullying my daughter. After months of complaining, I was told that my daughter wasn't welcome there. I was actually relieved.

My mom offered to take my daughter, which was a mixed blessing. It was a godsend being out from under childcare costs, and my daughter got to have her first REAL summer vacation, getting to sleep in (we are all night owls).

Prior to summer starting, I had a serious talk with my mom who has some issues with sleep cycles and generally spends much of her time sitting in a chair on her computer. We discussed that she needed to have playdates and such to keep her from getting isolated and that I didn't want her sitting around all summer playing video games. I also signed my daughter up for a handful of week-long day camps.

Long story short - my mom did nothing with her. Other than driving her to/from SOME of her camps, they did NOTHING until the last week before school. Not one trip to the park. Not one visit to a musuem. Not one day at the pool. NOTHING. DD gained some weight, which is now a bit of an issue. I was upset.

We have continued with my mom providing afterschool care, during which she sleeps thru most of her two hours with my daughter. DD does homework, plays video games. She does drive her to her voice lessons.

As summer approaches, I have decided to bite the bullet and try to find someone who will come to our house. I want someone who will take her to playdates and allow her to have a friend over. Someone who will also take her to the park and do things with her. DD also wants to attend some of those camps again, which I support. So, I also would need this person to drive her to/from some of them. So there will be days when they might only work 3 hours instead of 10 (workday plus commute). There will be several weeks during the summer when I won't need coverage at all.

Because $ is tight, I am wondering how people pay for something like this. Do you pay a flat daily rate, even when the number of hours worked are reduced? Do you pay when you don't need coverage at all? Or do you pay an hourly rate (which seems like it might be more expensive)? Do you pay for mileage/gas?

Is it realistic to think anyone would be interested in such a job? I am thinking it might be optimal for a responsible upper classman high school or college student, because when my DD is at camp, they will have some time for their own summer fun.

I am sooo overwhelmed by this and sad at how it has turned out!

ETA: We are getting a puppy in March, so part of the job will be letting pup out when the child care provider is there.

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answers from Anchorage on

Last time I worked a full time babysitting job I got a weekly salary, and I got it every week of the summer, even when it was a holiday week and I only worked part of it, even the week they took off for vacation, ect, just like I would have at any other job. I am not saying you will not be able to find someone but many people do enjoy, or even need, a set amount so they can plan their bills accordingly.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

We do exactly what you describe - get a high school senior or college student to babysit for the summer. Our criteria for hiring includes that it has to be someone with a car and good driving record.

My and my husband's hours are somewhat flexible - sometimes we need a babysitter for an 8 hour day and sometimes only for the morning. What we do is guarantee a particular amount per week, paid at the end of the week. Our rationale is this: we ask the babysitter to be available to take care of our child 5 days per week, 8 hours per day. If we come home from work early or take a day off for a long weekend, or whatever, the babysitter should not be punished financially for that. So, we pay the set amount per week, even if we come home early or don't need a babysitter every day.

On the other hand, if the sitter calls off (because she has a vacation planned or whatever), then we do subtract the pay for that time. To us this seems fair because we have to pay someone else to cover during that time. And we can't afford to pay two babysitters at once.

ETA: Oh, yes, don't forget to count in extra expenses. For example, if you want your child to be able to go to the pool, you need to pay the entrance fee for the sitter to go to the pool too. If you want the sitter to run your child to camps that are some distance away, you need to think about gas money. Etc.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My working friends always hired college students to run their kids around during the summer. They were fun and flexible and they paid them hourly/as needed.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

well, it's a pity it didn't work out. i love it when kids get to spend time with grandparents and develop strong independent bonds.
it does sound as if your mom dropped the ball, but how much help did you give her? an open-ended 'please take her to playdates and the pool and the park' is great for a go-getter, but it sounds as if your mom needs more help with structure. if you sit down with her and create a schedule (instead of the 'serious talk' about her sleep cycles which sounds a little overbearing), might that help?
if you hire someone to come in there are all sorts of ways you could structure it, and it'll be individual depending on what your provider wants. i paid my last housekeeper a set fee, the one i have now prefers hourly.
you'll definitely need to factor gas in, and you'll want to check the driving record of the provider.
it would probably be perfect for the right college student. but yeah, most providers may not be as flexible as you might wish. you'll probably have to pay for some hours when the schedule is reduced. but you could get lucky.

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answers from Sacramento on

You can just pay hourly. It's always going to cost more for individual care vs. a group setting. You'll need to cover gas and activity expenses.

Keep in mind that you'll have to pay more if the person is stuck house-training the puppy. I've had to train a puppy before and wouldn't get a puppy again, it was so much work. is a great starting point. You can put in your request and also take a look at what others in your area are paying. I'd also post on your neighborhood's page.

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answers from Chicago on

When my older kids were younger, we had a college student home for the summer watch them. We paid a flat rate for the week. If there was a day she wasn't needed, she got extra free time and got the same amount. Another time we needed a sitter for after school, it was also per week with a local college student. Some days she was there for 4 hours, and others just 2. She was the best one we had and I contacted her through Sittercity.

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answers from New York on

Remember that your mother did her job as a mother to you, and now she is "retired"! I'm not saying your mother's current behaviors are good or healthy, but just pointing out that she is allowed to choose her lifestyle and it is difficult to "boss her around".

So - it is great that you are considering hiring someone else to make this summer better for your daughter!!

Do you know any neighbors who have a teenager of driving age? Maybe start by asking them?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

We once hired a teenager girl who lived a couple houses down to do something like this. She was 16-18 at the time. I payed her an hourly rate. When she couldn't do it she found one of her friends who became our backup. She did this in the summer and she would take our kids to the pool or museums. I would give her a suggestion of something to do each day. She did a little after school care sporadically when the school year was on as well. Years before this I hired someone from to watch our daughter off and on while I did some part time work a couple days a week. I interviewed people before I found her. She was a wonderful young woman who was taking classes to get a Masters in Childhood Education and needed some part time work to make money. I explained how I wanted her to be active and take my daughter on outings and she was all for that. We paid her an hourly rate. Both these babysitters/caregivers told me their rate. The teenager was less expensive. Both people lived very close...I did not pay for their commute or gas or anything like that. PS - Did you try giving your mom a daily schedule. An example of a summer schedule: Mom, 8 am daily daughter has swim team practice at the pool. It is over at 9. Monday you are taking daughter to the Natural History museum at 10am and out to lunch. Tuesday you are taking her to the ice rink with friends x and y at 1pm. Their parents are meeting you there. Wednesday you are taking her to see the movie is money for it. Thursday after lunch I'd like you to take daughter to this playground to fly kites. You are picking up friend y along the way at 2pm. Friday please take her to the pool in the afternoon. Don't forget the pool bag and snacks I packed for you. I had to give our babysitters a schedule...especially the teenage one. I did not leave it vague. I would set up playdates. I would give money for outings when needed.

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answers from Kansas City on

I agree that paying hourly seems like it might be more. I would sign her up for camps before you hire a sitter, since probably you need to start looking into summer camps about now anyway. Then I would say maybe offer the person a flat fee/week but say that during those weeks she has camp the rate will be a lower amount because she/he won't have as much hands on time.

You will need to leave money for activities for sure, or you can always leave gift cards too. I'm not sure how people work out the gas thing...maybe include it in her weekly stipend?



answers from Oklahoma City on

By the way, how old is your child? Looking back at your previous questions I think she is almost 10.

Here's the thing I got most. Your mom is not a babysitter. She let your child stay there while you were at work, free of charge. If you'd have been paying her and given her a list of activities you wanted your child to go to she would have taken her.

Grandma understands that kids don't need to be busy with "things" all the time and that kids do need complete down time too.

Stop being mad at your mom. If you didn't like what she was doing you could have hired someone then.

I got paid by the hour by the kid. So if your kid has company you have to pay for that kid too. If you have them take kiddo to and from stuff all the time then you have to pay a gasoline allotment.

I did NOT get minimum wage by the hour because if I got that then mom wouldn't have made any money. She would have only been going to work to pay me.

I was also responsible for paying my own taxes, I was contract labor, a babysitter, not a true nanny that comes in and manages the house every day and minds the kids along with that. That means I was not eligible for any benefits or vacation or social security taxes being held out. Just like paying a plumber or mechanic. You pay a fee and that person is their own business and pays all those things on their own.

You still have the right to file and claim child care by getting that person's information that your tax person says you need. They need to understand this up front. That you are not going to withhold any taxes and they won't have any benefits and that you will be filing your child care on your own taxes. So the government will know they have been working.

Tell them, as contract labor, that they won't have set hours. That you will give them a schedule for the month before the 4th week of the current month has started. If you truly don't know what days you work until the Friday before the next week starts then find out if that's okay.

I would also have several teens on stand by so that if one can't be there another one might have time.

Overall I think this plan sort of stinks.

Why not plan activities one day per week for your mom and your daughter then let them enjoy summer. I would never have my mom watch the kiddo then invite others over too. That's just not right. Unless you're paying them to watch that other kiddo too, same, if not more, than you pay for your own child.

Then your mom will have specific plans set up for her to take your girl to and it won't be something random or off the cuff that she has to plan and implement.

I'd also pay her. She deserves to have a little extra cash. But if you truly can't then let up, she's your mom and not your babysitter. She is being there for you.



answers from Beaumont on

Yes, college students or maybe a stay at home Mom who is doing those things for her kid as well. I would pay a flat fee for the day.

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