The Babysitting Guide: Babysitting Cost
Find out about pay rates for babysitters
Babysitting fees can quickly run up the cost of an evening out, but the expense is well worth the rejuvenation. If you haven't thought about babysitting fees since you were a babysitting teen, here are some factors that impact rates.
According to a recent USA Today article, babysitters make an average of $10 per hour. But this number varies depending on:
- Where you live -- Cost of living is an issue no matter the job title. Babysitters in big cities will get paid more than babysitters in small towns. If you live near Boston, visit our Boston Babysitters page to see what the average pay is for sitters in the area. Similarly, if you live in California, visit the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego Babysitters pages to see what the rates are so you can compare.
- Amount of experience -- The more experience, the higher the wage. A teenager with no experience is on the low end, while a mature sitter with extensive experience and certifications is at the top of the spectrum.
- Number and age(s) of children -- If you have more than one child, expect to pay $2 to $5 more an hour for each additional child. This range reflects variability in the care giving required for each child (see below).
- Activities -- Does your sitter need to take your child (or children) to appointments (e.g., doctor, music lesson, soccer practice)? Does the sitter have any special tutoring skills that they will use to help your child (say, piano lessons)? If so, bump up the wage.
- Time of day -- Will your child (or children) be awake or asleep during the sitter's hours? Does the sitter have to feed the kids dinner? If the sitter is basically just house watching (and you feed, bathe, and put the child to bed before the sitter arrives), then pay less.
- Special needs -- If your child has special needs that require skilled interaction or involvement, increase the wage. Care.com has its own list of Special Needs Babysitters and Special Needs Nannies that may have the specific certifications and experiences your family needs.
- Special training (e.g. CPR or First Aid) -- Pay accordingly for the peace of mind associated with securing a sitter who is CPR-certified.
- Housekeeping -- The first priority should be child care, but if your kids are at an age where they play independently, or your sitter is there largely while the kids are asleep, pay extra if the sitter is willing to do light housekeeping.
- Transportation -- Help your sitter with transportation (gas money, cab or local transport, ride home).
If you're still uncertain as to the fairness of your final estimate, ask your friends what they are paying their sitters and also ask your sitter directly about their compensation expectations. You can also use the Care.com Babysitter Pay Calculator to see what the average rate is in your town. If you want to use this rate, we suggest adding the Babysitting Pay Calculator Widget to your blog or in any messages you send to a potential sitter so the pay rate in your area is known.
Good babysitters can be tough to come by; if you find one, hang onto her/him by compensating accordingly.
More Babysitting Resources
Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned parent and writer about parenting issues for Care.com. She is also the editor of BostonMamas.com.
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