My Pay as a Babysitter

Updated on June 09, 2011
K.F. asks from Dublin, OH
35 answers

Hi Ladies! I'm hoping to get a lot of feedback about what I get paid as a babysitter. I babysit parttime an average of 3.5 days per week for 10 hours a day. I get paid $575 monthly. That works out to being about $3.82 per hour. I only babysit one child because I have my own child and I like to take him places and do things (library, park, zoo, grocery, ...). It is nice for my son to have a friend to play with sometimes, but they also fight a lot so it can be a bit of a headache too.
My husband is completely stressed out about money right now. He works a fulltime job and a parttime job and I babysit so I can stay home with our son. I'm afraid my husband is going to ask me to go back to work. My son is 3 and I really want to stay home with him while I can. (And while he still wants Mommy. :))
I have talked to some other moms and they have said the pay is way too low. I really don't know, but I do know that I feel taken advantage of quite often. I have never had much of a backbone, so it is definitely partly my own doing. My husband is afraid I will lose the extra income if I ask for more money (which I tried once before), so he doesn't support me at all when I mention that it might not be enough.
Any thoughts about how I can handle this? I really want to help bring in more money, but I don't want to go back to work fulltime yet.

EDIT: First, thank you ALL for your comments, harsh or not, I really appreciate your honesty. Second, my husband adores our son but would not choose to be home with him. He has his dream job and is excellent at it. He is incredibly talented and blessed to be excellent at his parttime job as well. He makes a TON at his parttime job which he works 1 full day and 1 night. If I got a job (parttime or fulltime), I would have to cover the lost income from babysitting, the lost income of his parttime job, and the cost of daycare/preschool. Maybe the only choice I have is to go back to work fulltime.

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A.S.

answers from Detroit on

You're making more than waitress wages.

In Dublin, OH... You won't find more money for babysitting... Especially if you're not a licensed nanny or daycare.

If there's more money that's needed, get a better paying part time (or fulltime) job (I agree with the 'brutal honesty' approach).

My son is nearing 3. Trust me... He would prefer no one other than mommy, but still enjoys to spend time with his [email protected]____.com - FWIW- I bring in more $ than my husband, working at the same place. If we even remotely thought we could afford it, he'd be staying home with the kids... Maybe making some side cash here and there, but we work together as a team.

Also, when I had a babysitter for my son, I provided food, diapers, wipes, paid time off (i.e. Christmas time - not her vaca, but if I took vaca, I still paid), and she got Christmas bonuses. I paid her $600/month for 5 (10hr) days in Southeast MI.

To the TIPS comment... First of all - It's TAXABLE WAGES for a waitress. They get the shaft for that. Secondly - The Christmas bonuses would more than cover for what a part time waitress would make in tips after taxes are taken out.

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J.X.

answers from Los Angeles on

The lowest i'd ever expect to pay for baby sitting is minimum wage. I've always payed more. granted, I've only ever used them for evening/weekend, not regular schedule. Still, its low.

More Answers

N.G.

answers from Dallas on

I really agree with Scarlett. Without trying to sound too harsh, your post sounds pretty selfish. You say your husband is completely stressed, and is working two jobs... do you not think you have any obligation to help him? Obviously what you're doing isn't enough. You need to do something whether it be ask for more money, take on more kids to watch, or find a job.

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A.C.

answers from Columbus on

I know other moms in your situation in similar central Ohio 'burbs, and they charge $4.00/hour, but it's more of a daycare. I think the answer is to find another child of approximately the same age, and take that child on as extra pay. Try posting a notice at your church or at your local rec center/community center. (We found our parttime in-home daycare provider through church, and we love her).

Ask for $4/hour from the new family, and then tell the old family that you have to raise your rates, due to the rising costs of everything (gas, etc.) to $4/hour, which is $X per month.

That way, if the old family decides that an extra $0.18 per hour is "too much" (gasp!), you already have someone lined up to replace them, and frankly, they are not good clients if they can't understand that raises are periodically needed to deal with the fact that inflation happens.

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P.M.

answers from Tampa on

I would ask for at least $8/hr - mainly because you've been there awhile and have proven your worth and dependability. Your experience bracket has increased as well. If you are not already CPR and First Aid certified - look into doing that ASAP.

If the current Mother does choose to let you go - after you ask for a very reasonable raise - then nicely say it was great working for you - and put an ad up on craigslist.org, sittercity.com and care4hire.com. The last 2 will not accept you unless you can prove you've gotten certified in CPR and 1st Aid.

As a Nanny - bringing my child - I made about $7 to start, got my CPR/1st Aid and worked up to my 3rd family were I made $10/hr for one child (with mine) and the parents paid for BOTH children (and myself) to go to museums, aquariums, chuck e cheese, kids parks, etc.

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S.M.

answers from Kansas City on

If I understand you right, you work in your home. That means that you set the times, day, pay, should collect the money, pay your taxes, and you can deduct your expenses. That means you can have other children whether or not you really want to is not question. Do you NEED to?

I don't believe you are being paid low for the type of care you are providing. If you were in their home and following their schedule and cleaning their house and making meals for them, then you would expect higher pay.

You can have 6 children without being licensed in OH. Imagine taking more part-time children. You would then earn around 2000 per month before expenses. You would be even better off to have 1-2 on days and 1-2 on nights. If you did, then 95% of your utilities would be deducted as well for being open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. If you do say 16 hour days, 5 days per week, then the deduction for utilities would work out to be around 50%. If you are a typical family with water, gas, electric, trash, and cable, then your deduction could be around 4000+ per year. I am open 7/24. By the time we take a depreciation, deduct a percentage of repairs and utilities, my first 18,000 per year is tax free.

Your husband should not have to worry if you can alleviate those worries for the both of you.

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

I'm not sure how old the other child is (younger obviously require more attention) or what your experience/certifications are, so it is hard to say for sure. I don't believe it is entirely too low. If you are providing the food as well, perhaps that is where you can look for a raise. You can either ask the other family to provide food or ask for more money to provide healthy meals.

Good Luck!

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S.J.

answers from St. Louis on

It doesn't sound to me as if you have much of a choice.

Your husband works TWO jobs so you can babysit and be home with your son. So, you either ask for more money and get it, or you start looking for a job that pays more. It is not fair to your husband to be super stressed and working himself to the bone for you to do what you choose. I am sure he would choose to be home with your son if he could too.

I understand you want to be home with your son, and you have had the opportunity to for a while now. But it sounds like your husband really needs the help right now - your family needs the help. You could always take on a job (either full or part time) and then once you get into a better situation financially, stop working and be home with your child again.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but you asked how you should handle. This is how I would handle it.

Best wishes! Good luck!

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J.F.

answers from Omaha on

I'm going to guess that you are not reporting your income to the IRS? Not having done the math, I'm going to also guess that at your current rate you fall under the threshold for reportable income.

Something to consider if you do raise your rate is how much you'll potentially lose to paying taxes.

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D.F.

answers from St. Louis on

Yep, your being taken advantage of. I've did the same thing. Since your son is 3 why not take in two diff. children around his age. Full time only (5 days aweek) $30 per child per day. That would bring in $300 a week/$1200 a month. You would still be able to go on field trips and have fun your son would benefit from the socialization you'd be helping out the family $$. Let the present family know of your plans. If their happy with you they'll stay and pay a fair price if they decide to move on so be it they'll end up getting what they pay for. There are lots of people who would prefer their children in an home enviroment with a sm. group. Good luck and stand your ground.

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S.J.

answers from Saginaw on

middle of no where wisc going rate is 2.50 per child and includes you feeding the child. Goin rate in Washington state is around 8.50 per child if you ae not a licensed provider. I would say where you are from you would be on the lower end of the amount, So that being said just shy of $4 an hour is a great pay.

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M.M.

answers from Detroit on

You are getting taken advantage of SORT OF….Here are my thoughts. My kids got to preschool & kindergarten full time and will be in Summer Camp Full Time. For Summer Camp alone, we will pay $210 a week per kid, so $42 a day or 5.25 an hour. Summer Camp is 7:00am-6:00pm IF we want. The kids have a FULL schedule which includes a trip to a pool for 2 hours a day and another field trip once a week, plus arts, crafts and so on.

I am telling you this for a few reasons…

1) You are VERY fortunate to be able to bring your child along with you. You can run your errands, watch tv, cook, clean, give a play mate to your child and so on while you are getting paid.

2) If you raise your price too much, the parents may realize that they can go to a center that may have more activities and many more children for their kid to interact with for about the same rate.

3) Depending on what the parents make, they need to keep it worth while for them to stay working & to keep their child in a home environment. Let's say they make $10 an hour. If they give you $5, they are reducing their wage by 1/2.

Of course you could make more on the outside, but then you have to pay child care AND lost precious time with your kid.

Maybe you look at taking more kids into your home? If you have 3-4 kids PLUS your child, you will make more money. It will be more work, but if you are up for it, you may want to try it. You may not be able to take field trips or hit the grocery store, but you have to give up something to get something.

I cannot tell you how many times I have cried and complained about all the money we spend on school and summer care, but when you break it down, it's not much per hour when you think about what an important job the providers have!

Good Luck!!

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K.:.

answers from Phoenix on

What about nannying? You can bring your son along & you will make more money than just "babysitting" another kid in your home. I think 3.82 an hour for almost one on one care is highway robbery, personally.

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C.F.

answers from Dallas on

I am going to answer this in several different ways:

1. You are basically an inhome childcare provider for this child. When I did this for 2 years in Texas the going rate for full-time childcare in an inhome environment was $100 a week. You watch 1 child for 3.5 days and earn basically $132 per week. Benefit to this is you are home with your own child but still able to get out and do things if necessary.

2. In Fort Worth, I currently pay $65 per week for just after school care (2:30p -6p) and during the summer it is $95 for care between the hours of 6:30a-6p). Rates could be different where you are located but just for comparison.

3. If you were to get a job then you would not only lose that $575 but you would have to pay out more than that in finding either a childcare facility or inhome provider to care for your child fulltime.

4. If you really need the extra money, then as other posters have said advertise for an additional child and that would double your income but still leave you the flexibility to get out and do things and still allow you the time with your own.

Based on rates here in Fort Worth Texas, I feel that you are being paid well for the amount of days you are watching this child.

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J.K.

answers from Phoenix on

I would think that you should get at least $5 an hour but at the same time, $575 monthly is better than nothing. Maybe you could bump it up to $600-$625 a month which may not seem like much of a raise to her but would probably help you ??? Just a thought! Good luck!!

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V.M.

answers from Cleveland on

I am suprised by some of the answers you have gotten, since there is such a wide variety of incomes on this board.

I"m assuming that the parents of the child you watch probably aren't bringing home a whole ton of money either. again just an assumption. If you know a little about their jobs and take home you have a better idea of what they could pay you with out taking away from what they need for rent, food etc.
On the same hand, i don't get at all how it would make sense for you to go back to work unless you could bring in enough to cover what you would need to pay out for your own child care.

IF it were me, i would put up fliers in the grocery store, call anyone i knew and tell them you are looking for another child to watch. Then once you've got a new child, tell the one you are already watching that you need more compensation and that you want $600 a month. It's up to you if the new child pays the same or if younger or older gets a different amount, but this way if the original kids' parents refuse at least you have something.
I know it's hard to have a whole day at home due to not having enough room in the vehicle, but it this guy is only 3 days a week, i think you could manage.

to answer your question, Do i think they are paying you enough? not on your life. But do they have it to give more, Probably not. I think in home day care is a pretty sweet deal for all involved.
If hubby is that stretched take a look at your budget and see what you can cut.

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M.D.

answers from Washington DC on

I think babysitting when it is a "regular" thing pays lower rates. If money is so tight that he has to work two jobs, can you get a job that are other hours then his so one of you can be home with your son? I know it's hard, but I tihnk babysitting like you're describing pays less than a night out or something. I felt the same way you do when I was babysitting for $100 a week! That was 40 hour weeks at 8 hours a day for $2.50 an hour. But I got to stay home with my daughter. So it's a trade. Decide what you want. You don't make bad money though for the job. Sorry.

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D.L.

answers from Columbus on

I think I may be in the minority here. I think your pay seems about right (may need an adjustment for inflation – it’s been 1.5 years since my youngest was in home daycare) - if you consider yourself a home daycare, which I would. I think there is a difference between home daycare and a babysitter though the terms seem to refer to both.

I believe a preschool would charge a bit more. I think you can have a max of 6 kids for a home day care in Ohio (not sure if includes your own, but let’s assume it does) based on your current rate, you'd be earning $2,875 a mo. (Again, might need to adjust slightly for inflation, especially if you report.)

When I hear babysitter - I think of someone to watch your child for a few hours while you go out, run errands, etc. I think of $5-$10 per hour - handing them $20 -$50 when you come home (unless its grandma or an aunt and pay is hugs!)

I am a little confused by your post and edit…
If DH makes a TON at his PT job, between that and FT, why is he so worried about money? Does FT not pay that much (only important because it’s his dream job and for the health insurance)? Does DH even want to quit the PT job? You mentioned if you were to work outside the home, you’d need to make enough to cover the lost income from his PT job and cost of daycare/preschool – what about gas to get to/from work and daycare/preschool, work clothes, etc.?

Note: Both my kids have been in a home daycare experience (which was awesome!) My husband got a new job working three 12-hr days (including Sat and Sun) a week so for the last 1.5 years our youngest stays home with him (grandma watches one day a week for hugs - with school out though she’ll have both and my niece – we might need to increase her pay with kisses and Excedrin, LOL!)

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C.A.

answers from Atlanta on

Well I think I would approach the parents and let them know that you and your husband are having difficult times. If they already know he is working two jobs then make it clear to them that he isn't working two jobs just so you can stay home with your son. He works two jobs in order for ya'll to survive and perhaps there have been some recent changes that impacted the income. Let them know that if more income isn't brought into the home then you may have no choice but to go back to work because obviously your husband just can't do anymore than what he is currently doing. Also you can check out some website's within your area and show them the proof of what the going rate is. If you are honest with them and indeed show them that you would rather try to work it out so you can stay home AND help them out without draining their pockets perhaps all of you brainstorming can come up with a solution. Honesty is always the best policy and if you are indeed underpaid then you asking for money even if it put you up to par with the "average" they would still be getting a "deal". However, it has to be finiancially suitable for them as well. You have become emotionally involved-this is business so keep it that way. You need to sign up for dailyworth.com it's a website geared towards women and this is exactly the kind of thing they target....women not standing up for what they are worth. It's a proven fact that a man will ask for more money or ask about money in an interview whereas a woman usually won't not to mention that a man is paid more of a salary for the exact same position.....totally not fair.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

I am in a burb of Dallas (Allen/Plano) nice area and my 16 yr old daughter averages $12-15 per hour for her occasional weekend babysitting, CASH.

I don't know about your area but that sounds WAY too low to me. It sounds to me like you are being used.

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J.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

.

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E.K.

answers from Columbus on

Some suggestions: Call around to see what day care/preschools would charge you if you went back to work full-time. (While you're at it, find out how much they would charge to do the amount of baby-sitting you do.)

Then figure out if you could find a job that would cover the loss of your babysitting income and your husband's part-time job's income, day care/preschool for your son, transportation costs (more gas and wear and tear on your car), work clothes, higher meal costs (you might rely on convenience foods more often than you do now) and paying higher taxes because your job would take you and your husband into a higher tax bracket.

Unless you can get a really good job, you might find out that you can't make enough to cover all that and that it wouldn't pay to go back to work full-time. (You didn't say what your earning capacity might be.)

Would your husband be able to watch your son if you found a part-time job where you only work nights or weekends? Or would that be too much stress on your relationship?

Speaking of stress, you do realize that the stress you feel about money now might not be anything compared to what you would feel if you worked full-time!

You only have a couple of years till your son is in school all day and you could work while he's at school. That's one thing to consider. Could you make it for another couple of years?

A couple of other possible solutions: find a job where you can work from home, either for someone else or going into business for yourself. The job market isn't great, but you might have some marketable skills that you could use in this way.

You could also consider taking in one more child to babysit. I realize that would make things crazier, but sometimes it's not much worse than having one (plus yours of course). You don't say whether you get paid under the table. If you are, you could point out to the woman you babysit for that she's really getting off easy. If she didn't have you, she'd probably pay another babysitter or day care more plus she'd have the hassle of having to do all the paperwork (as would you) if you got paid according to tax laws. Also point out to her that she could claim a child care deduction if you were above the table. (Check the latest tax rules to corroborate this--I'm not a tax expert.)

Sorry for such a long answer. I babysat when my children were young and it wasn't easy (or lucrative). But when they were very little it was worth it. I was able to stay home till my youngest was in school. (I had four.) Then I went to work full-time and to be honest I hated it. But then I didn't have the best job in the world. (I worked for the post office.)

Make up a list of pros and cons and see which outweighs the other!

I wish you the very best.

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K.P.

answers from New York on

If it's a regular responsibility, you need to increase your rate to at least $5 an hour plus expenses. We pay our college-aged sitter $8 an hour for one child when we go out to dinner. If you don't ask, the answer is automatically "no". If you do ask and they walk away then you need to find something more consistent and look into daycare. Either way if you are struggling to make ends meet you have to change something!

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J.G.

answers from New York on

That pay is definitely way too low... it's not even minimum wage!!
Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. You should get at least that.
If the family you're working for now won't pay more, then look for another family. If you're willing to compromise, I still wouldn't go below $6/hour.

Don't let them take advantage of you!! Good luck!

(About "waitress wages"... waitresses make TIPS on top of their hourly pay.)

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K.C.

answers from Orlando on

I know how you are feeling. My husband works full time as a teacher, and while it's an important job, it's not one known for it's pay. :( To help support out two children and our family I also babysit, one little girl about 45 hours a week. I get paid $150 a week, which works out to about $3.33 an hour. While there are many times I feel this isn't a lot, it is about the going rate in our area. I really need the job, so I do charge slightly less than a few other places I looked at. When my daughter was in daycare we were paying $190 a month (with a discount, the place was supposed to be $210 a week)
If I were to go back to work we would be spending $400 a week in daycare, so $1600 a MONTH!!! That would be more than half of my pay if I went back to work as a teacher. To my husband and I (while we sometimes struggle) that is not worth it!
So I babysit and now work with Ameriplan at home to help cover some of our costs. It's nice to be able to work from home, and with a company that helps us save money as well as make money. We are doing pretty well right now, and working on building our savings back up so that we can move from our tiny townhouse that we bought for way to much money. :)

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G.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Working full time can be expensive. Child care for a pre-school child can easily be several hundred dollars a month. At full time rates you are looking at 9-10 hours per day. An hour for lunch and 1/2 hour to and from work add up with the regular 8 hour shift.

I think it was Dr. Dobson who was giving financial advice to someone who wanted to be a stay at home mom. He mentioned the money from dry cleaning/extra laundry for business attire, the cost of the extra vehicle both maintenance and gasoline, eating out for business reasons like lunch on the go, the cost of child care, etc...plus the extra income usually put the family in a higher tax income bracket so they owed more taxes on their joint income.

So, I would sit down with hubby and talk about it. Have a chart in hand to show him what you mean and that you are serious. Make the chart show that by staying at home and watching this child you can actually show where you are coming out ahead if you are. Otherwise maybe you should consider working. In these times all the extra income you can make and put aside for emergencies might really come in handy.

M.M.

answers from Chicago on

FWIW, I live in Chicago - so rates may be on the high side compared to where you are...

When we had just 1 - we paid our nanny $550/week. She's here 7-5, 5 days a week. So about $11/hr.

You can definitely ask for more!

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J.A.

answers from San Francisco on

around here anything from $10-15 an hour is normal. Even if you have your own child with you you are not running a daycare and the child is getting a lot of attention from you so you should be getting more.

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M.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

I'm shocked at some of the responses that you have gotten. The pay is low (to me it is), you don't get the perks of having an "actual" in-home daycare of being able to have deductions and all that kind of stuff.

My babysitter gets paid $12/hour right now. When I get a job, then the babysitter will be getting around $15-$16/hour.

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S.W.

answers from Detroit on

Not sure if you already do this but make sure you ask that they pay for their child's food, trips to the zoo or any other outings. Really the ability to get paid and still go grocery shopping or run errands seems great to me. yes the pay seems low for such a long day. You said you tried once before to ask for more money, what happened? If you ask for more money put in more incentive for them. Like depending on their age, more "preschool or kindergarten focus", . Are you doing just the everyday things in life for yourself and your family rather then the typical "child care" type stuff, like structure , teaching social skills, themes each day, educational focus. I think if they feel you are doing a lot more for their child and really focusing your attention on that child too then they may be more willing to pay you more.

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E.T.

answers from Albuquerque on

When I was looking for a nanny, most people were charging about $8/hour if they could bring their own child. So yeah, I think you're probably not charging enough. The main reason you should increase your salary, though, is the stress it's causing for your husband. The family you sit for now probably won't want to double the money they're spending, so why not post an ad on Craigslist looking for new families? Maybe look for two families - each with one child, and charge $6/hour. That way you'd be making $12/hour... way way more than you're making now. Also, in order to reach the largest audience, you probably need to make yourself available full time - not just 3 days a week. Good luck!

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K.J.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Babysitting pay varies by area of the country, but if you often feel taken advantage of, then your job is not worth its compensation. How did you determine your rates in the first place? What do offer to the (other) child in your care to make your services worth less (or more) than other providers in your area?

If babysitting is your business/job, approach it like a business/ job.

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E.M.

answers from Honolulu on

When I worked day care I made 10 dollars an hour. In home childcare was 8 dollars an hour. You should at least make min wage more if you feed the child.

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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

You're charging group daycare rates for a nanny/babysitter position. AKA way too low.

My friends in OH pay between 3-5 for group daycare, 5-10 for a babysitter, 10-15 for a nanny. ((In our area it's *significantly* more, group daycare is 10... nannies are 25-30))

R.C.

answers from York on

Typically a family member cares for my son who will be 3 in July but I needed to hire a baby-sitter for the summer. She will come to my house from 7:30am-5:00pm. She will get a 45 minute lunch break when my mom visits during her lunch hour. My son's baby-sitter can then leave my house to run an errand if need be. We are paying her $75 a day. I provide all my son's food since they are at my house. I also don't mind if she eats or drinks things in our house...I think it would be rude to tell her not to eat anything in the house. I think this is a lot of money for a potty-trained 3 years who takes a 2-3 hour nap every afternoon but....she was my best interview. I need to have peace of mind that my son is safe and happy while my husband and I are at work so we agreed to pay it. I also refuse to put him in daycare so it is worth it to me to keep him in his own home.

This being said.....I TOTALLY think you can ask for more money!! If you can't get more money for this one child maybe you need to find a new child to keep whose parents will pay more or else start keeping more than one other child. You shouldn't rely on your husband to work 2 jobs to make ends meet....this is very unfair.

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