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How Much to Pay for Babysitting

How Much to Pay for Babysitting

When you're looking for a babysitter, you want to provide a rate that reflects the high quality of care your babysitter provides, but you also don't want to dish out more than necessary. We surveyed Circle of Moms members to learn about current going rates for babysitters, and here’s what we found.

A Benchmark Rate

With reported rates ranging from $5-20 an hour, it's helpful to identify a benchmark. Many moms say you should assume you'll be paying at least $10-12 per hour, but that you should also consider factors that should push that rate higher or lower, including where you live and how many kids you have, among others. Lubna Q. for instance, considered her babysitter’s experience, CPR knowledge, talent for engaging children, and references: “We pay her $10-12/hour. I feel at peace knowing my daughter is well cared for and that in an emergency, my babysitter will be able to transport her to a hospital and/or perform necessary first aid.” Amy S. agrees with that rate: “I pay my 16-year-old babysitter $10 per hour and she is worth every dime.”

What are the Sitter's Responsibilities?

How many children are you asking the babysitter to care for? How old are they? When and how long will you be gone? As Alexa M. suggests, an equitable babysitter rate varies based on the several factors, including the “number of children you have, and duties.” Other factors come into play too, as Joleen Van D. advises: “I think it depends on the age of your children, and whether it is ‘daycare’ or an evening out. If the babysitter has to worry about meals, then you should pay more…I add another $10 if there is supper involved.” 

Regional Differences

Geography also plays a role in setting babysitter rates, which are higher in cities and lower in rural areas. As Yamala R. explains, the $10 rule-of-thumb doesn’t necessarily hold in more rural areas: “It all depends on the area. In the DC area you wouldn't find anyone willing to babysit for less than $10-15 an hour and that includes teenagers. [In] more rural or less populated areas you pay less.” Tamara H. backs up this assertion with her actual experience:  “We live in a small rural town and other moms let me know they all pay $5 to $7 per hour so I should also. I know this is not the norm in more populated areas, though!”

Experience Level

The going rate for a babysitter also depends on whether you’re paying an adult babysitter or a 13-year-old. Erica M. shares: “The high school kids in my area charge $10 an hour (Middle school $8)…An adult babysitter in my area with experience charges $15 an hour. I also know a few friends who babysit in the Boston area for $17-$20 an hour.” Dawn K. sees an even greater variance between rates for teenagers and experienced professionals: “If you’re looking for a teenage babysitter then the normal rate (& what my girls charge) is $5 an hour per kid... If you’re looking [for] childcare/daycare type babysitting, then it just all depends. [For that] I charge $25 a day and some say that is too low and then some say it is too high.”

A Babysitter You Love

If you adore your babysitter, you may want to consider paying her more than the going rate. Erica M. advises: “If you find an amazing babysitter, you should actually pay her a dollar or two over the going rate.”  Why? Not only will she be more likely to accept that last-minute Friday night request, but you'll enjoy the continued peace of mind of having your kids in the care of someone you and they trust.

What do you pay your babysitter?

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Join The Conversation
Madame-Joy Madame-Joy 2 years
As much as I'd love to pay $100 to ensure my kids' safety, $10/hour seems to add up so quickly! Trading with other moms is also a great idea to save money and build community.
KandaceKing KandaceKing 4 years
Inmy area most charge per day or week and most its $10 to $15 a day per child that's even in a lot of liecenced daycares the most I've heard is 150 a week but that was the newborn rate at a very good daycare that even takes specialneeds children.
CristaSmith CristaSmith 4 years
I have a question.... I'm looking for a babysitter and I've looked at church and asked all my friends. I don't know where else to look, I need someone asap in the inland empire area. If anyone has ideas I'd love the help. My email is crista04@sbcglobal.net
TeresaHughes1015 TeresaHughes1015 4 years
My 15 year old has just done her 1st babysitting job she charges 2.50ph befor 9pm and 3.50 after. The job went well the children were happy so ere the pearents and so was she
JenniferSzaro JenniferSzaro 4 years
We have used the same sitter since she was 13. (She is now 16 and can drive). We used to pay her $7/hr, but have since increased it to $9/hr. We know she can now make money working a part time job, so we expect to pay her at least that much working at a local restaurant or retailer.
LaurenLeiker LaurenLeiker 4 years
When leaving my kiddos with a babysitter, I consider the fact that my children are my most valued gifts! You get what you pay for! living north of seattle, I pay $7-10 an hour depending on the age and experience of the babysitter. I work in the fields of Early Childhood and Parent Education and Coaching.....I want to know my babysitters are truly caring for my kids. If they are not worth that much, then they won't be left with my kiddos!!
karen13802 karen13802 4 years
In Portland, OR, our FT daycare was $1000/mo. In Montana, it is $500/mo. Our evening sitters in PDX were $10-$15/hr (my favorite was a nurse who babysat when now 3yr old was a baby). In MT, high school gals are $5-9/hr and our adult relatives & friends are free. My salary and cost of living is half of what it was in the city, but it is worth it for us to be near family, especially when daddy is traveling for work.
MissyKrause MissyKrause 4 years
I am a daycare provider. I am not just a babysitter. I take the kids to story hour at the library, do a preschool curriculum, take kids to/from bus stop, provide 2 meals and 2 snacks along with beverages. I get $18 per day. That's it. I don't get anyrespect from the parents and I hate being called the babysitter. I help potty train and get the kids to write etc. I work up to 10-11 hours per day.
AmberCossey AmberCossey 4 years
Well when I use 2 babysit I made a dollar an hour!!! I use 2 take my son 2 daycare it was 80 dollars per week. The daycare provided 2 meals and a snack per day!! So I now have a teenager(15) that watches my son @ my house and I pay her half of what the daycare charged! Myreasoning for that is she doesn't have 2 do any chores, plus she watches my cable eats my food and only has to keep an eye on my son who's 7 and pretty self sufficient. If we do ask her to do extra chores (dishes, pick up, ect) we pay her extra! Also there is no travel involved as she lives next door!! We live in a VERY small town in Missouri!!
MonicaCrews MonicaCrews 4 years
How does anyone afford to go out? If you pay that and you just go out for dinner and a movie (and you pick a cheaper restaurant) you're looking at anywhere from $80 to $100 for just one night out (and a short one at that). I am a single mom, and have to say that if I didn't have wonderful friends who were willing to step in every now and then and sit for free, I would be completely broke just from trying to keep up with babysitting rates...
DesireeHall35543 DesireeHall35543 4 years
I definitely agree that the rate will vary depending on the requests and expectations of the need care. Daycare should be a daily rate and is usually about $25-$35/ day for potty trained children and that includes usually two meals and at least one snack. good hourly rate for an evening out should range from $10-$20 and hour, again depending on age, more for infant care and children still in diapers or that require more assistance, such as bottles, frequent feeding, and so forth. I always pay what I think both the sitter is worth and what my child's care is worth to me. I have a 3 year old in preschool and I pay $95/week for only 3 days a week (MWF). That is a high price, but the establishment is nice, the teachers are all great, and I feel my child is safe and she is learning, not just being let to run around all day. My one year old would require more out of a person and I would likely pay $40 a day, due to diapers and the extra attention she still requires. If I were to have a sitter at night, it would likely be while the kids were sleeping so I would probably pay a little less, since they would mostly be watching TV and listening to make sure they're ok, but not really tending to them or having to make a meal or anything. The most important thing is that you compensate according to the degree of care you expect for your children. I want to know that mine are in good hands.
KathieSmith KathieSmith 4 years
We have one child who is 5 years old. Our sitter is 13 and this is her first babysitting job. We pay her $5-6 an hour. The two of them get along very well, so my daughter tends to behave well for her. I think it is probably a pretty easy gig, although I'm sure she spends most of the time actively engaged with my child. The longer she stays with us, the more she will make because of experience and familiarity.
MaureenRagsdale MaureenRagsdale 4 years
I know this sounds crazy, but I live in a town where teens get $10/ hr per kid. I have seriously considered opening a drop in day care.
HeatherAndo HeatherAndo 4 years
My 15 yr old son gets $10 an hour to watch the next door neighbor's kids after they are already in bed.When he watches his little sister & brother I give him $5 hr (family rate lol). I sometimes sit through an agency, & I get $11 hr.
ArlaFisherMattinson ArlaFisherMattinson 4 years
I live in Central Cali and we have this awesome program here called CAPSLO. Community Action Partnership. They help parents all over our county by paying for day care and referring them to day cares and youth programs like boy and girls club and the ymca. They pay for it as long as you meet their requirements. I would suggest that you take the time to find out what your county has to offer if your having trouble with paying for a sitter before you break your wallet.
TrishaPatterson96437 TrishaPatterson96437 4 years
I have to agree with what someone else said...people seem to be confusing this with daycare. Babysitting, from what I remember, is more a couple of hours a day for most people (maybe until a parent gets home, or if you're going out one night, etc)....It isn't really the same as hiring someone full time to watch your child for 40 hours/week. Of course it wouldn't make sense to hire someone for $10/hour to watch your child while you work if you only make $5/hour.
CarissaBrancasi CarissaBrancasi 4 years
Reading articles like this with hundreds of negative comments annoys me to no end. I just recently posted on FB a question asking my friends the exact question this article poses. I got a huge range from $3 and hour to $20. I'm not saying what I pay my two babysitters in part to the negativity thats been posted on this board....but all I have to say in this economy I find it a little outrageous that some moms must put an opinion on the ones who apparently "don't pay enough" and are catetogorizing those as "not willing to shell out enough meaning not caring enough about your child" Shame on those of you who posted like that. Anyone in their right mind would realize different parts of the world/country is different and everyone is different when it comes to shelling out a specific amout for childcare. It comes down to what you and your babysitter are comfortable with and agree on and what you as a parent can afford. Its not a game to see who can be the parent who spends the most....
CathleenCahn CathleenCahn 4 years
Wow, I wish I lived near some of you. I pay $16 hr for morning and afternoon sitter. Her only responsibility in a.m. is to get kids to school on time. In p.m. she has them from 3:15-3:20 to 4:00 and they sit and watch TV or start homework at her house. At night, i pay anywhere from $12-15 hr. The higher paid sitter has been with me for 8 yrs. She can drive them or take them out to dinner. She will also make dinner and she bathes and puts them to bed on time.
BridgetteEvans80407 BridgetteEvans80407 4 years
Well are we talking a babysitter or a daycare provider...2 totally diff things. I pay my babysitters about 5/HR depending on where/what we are doing. But my kids are 7, 8 and 12...in MT 15-20 is more than 50% of our population makes.
CoMMember13627126754539 CoMMember13627126754539 4 years
I live in Southern IL. The first time I needed a sitter I gave her $7/hr But then our 3-4 hr date night got to be too expensive so we just started asking G-ma and Auntie. I wish I had started lower and continued using the neighbor girl. She was great but I couldn't re-nig and start charging her less. I am a daycare provider and I charge $20 daily/child ($25 infants). I would like to raise my prices but that seems to be the going rate for home daycare in this area.
MelissaSites MelissaSites 4 years
I have read majority of these comments. I started babysitting when I was 12 and I was always happy with whatever the parents gave me. Some paid me $10/hour and some would pay me whatever they could afford. If you babysit you have the option of saying no if you don't want to do a job. I always had a great time with all the kids I watched no matter what I was paid. The parents always respected me and what they lacked in money was made up for with them including me on vacations or paying for meals or giving a good job reference for future jobs. I also worked for 10yrs in a preschool/daycare and started at minimum wage and eventually worked upto $10/hr. I am 32 now and have a 5yr old and 7mos old if I send my kids to daycare while I go to work it costs me $14/hr for both children. We only send them if its absolutely necessary when My husband and I are on different shifts because I only make $11.75/hr. If I ever had a babysitter in my home I would pay them according to experience but I think $10 is a little too much.
BrandiRobinson65364 BrandiRobinson65364 4 years
I live in Oregon and only charge 2.00 an hour per child to babysit. I have one family who has 5 kids so I only charge 2 for youngest and then 1 fo each other if I have 3 or more. If I only have 2 of them, they are both 2 bucks each. If I have all 5 total would be 6 bucks/hour. I dont feel it is fair to charge 2/hr for all as that would be 10 bucks an hour. most peope only make 9/hr. How would they have any money left over? Then they wouldnt work and i would not have babysitting job! lol Oh, the family with 5 also pays me an extra 100 every month to help with food as I have them for 3 meals Mon-Fri. I think most people here in Oregon charge 2-3.50/hr. not sure, but I have had crisis intervention, my CPR/first aid classes and many other training classes.
JessicaRinehart JessicaRinehart 4 years
My question to parents is if you spend $15 for someone to mow your yard or $20 for someone to wash your car, or even someone $20 an hour to clean your house, why isn't someone who takes care of your precious child worth more? If your child means the world to you and you would do anything to protect and care for them, why not hire someone that costs a little more but with experience? Ask yourself do you buy the cheap toilet paper or spend a little more for the good stuff? Do you get the poorly made clothes at the store, or the ones that will last a little longer, but cost a little more? Would YOU work for under minimum wage, when you know the company (parents) are out spending more money than they are paying you? These are all questions parents should think about before they decided their babysitter isn't worth minimum wage.
KimberlyBallinger KimberlyBallinger 4 years
I'm not sure what to pay, maybe you can help me. I have twin boys that will be 13 in a couple of months. I don't want them staying alone for the time I am at work, which is a 6 hour day. I have my 20 yr. old nephew come to my house and my 12 yr. old nephew comes along since my sister works. They come and have lunch here which I provide and any snacks they want.
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