The Great Babysitter Debate: How Much Do You Pay Your Sitter?


One of the most controversial subjects in the life of any parent is the cost of a babysitter. What do you pay? I’m sure, at some point, you were a teenage babysitter watching your nieces or nephews or the kids of your parents’ friends. What did you charge them? I’m 32, and I remember being paid $3 per hour to watch kids when I was growing up. There was one summer when I was in the 8th grade that friends of my parents’ from down the street asked me to stay with their two kids five days a week while they worked and paid me $200 for the entire summer. It was a huge amount of money for me at that point; now it’s like an hourly wage.

What is the cost of a babysitter today? How do we know if they are charging too much or if we are paying too much? We have a favorite babysitter we share with two other couples who happen to be our best friends, and we all pay her differently. We pay her $30 per hour when she has all four of our kids. we pay her $20 per hour when she has just the twins. We pay her $15 per hour when she has our bigger girls who are 5 and 7. Our other friends usually just give her $12 per hour or a flat fee of $100 for an evening. It all varies. Who is right? Who is not?

The current wage for babysitters is actually $15 per hour according to most sources. However, it all depends on what you want to pay your sitter, what he or she is charging you and how many kids you are leaving with them. I think it also depends on the individual kids. For example, I pay less when our sitter watches the twins on a Friday night when we take the big girls out for a date night because she gets here at 7 and they’re already asleep. We pay her less because she’s not doing anything but being here. If they’re awake, we pay her more. We have friends with a little boy that has a lot of energy, and they pay a bit more for him.

To know whether or not you are paying the correct price for a sitter, talk to your sitter. You can, together, come up with something that works for everyone involved with some serious ease if you just ask about it.

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