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.”
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!”
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?