Babysitters make an average of $10 per hour. This can add up if you're planning a day in the country or a night on the town, but it's a small price to pay for your sanity. (Not to mention the safety of your children).
There are several factors to consider when deciding how much you'll pay:
- Babysitter's Age Pay younger sitters, who generally have less experience, less than you would pay someone older. That said, if a sitter stays with you for many years, increase her wages as her experience increases.
- Location If you live in a big city, expect to pay more for a babysitter than someone who lives in the suburbs. Higher cost of living = higher wages.
- Experience A sitter who knows CPR and has tended to big groups of children will cost more. And rightfully so! Specialized training should always be rewarded.
- Number of Children If you have more than one child, expect to pay $2 to $5 more an hour for each additional child. (So, if you'd pay $40 for one child for four hours, expect to pay $48-60 for two children, or $56-$80 for three children, and so on.)
- Time of Day Pay more if kids will be awake the whole time you're gone. If the sitter will put the kids to bed, lock the doors, and watch TV, you can pay less.
- Activities One child has soccer practice, the other needs to go to the dentist. And they both need to be at the dinner table at 6. Pay more if a sitter will need to venture out.
- Cooking For each meal that is prepared, add $10 to a sitter's wages. You don't have to pay more if you just want her to order pizza, but leave enough money for the pie.
- Transportation If you're not driving a sitter from and to her home, give her some extra money for gas or a cab.
Babysitter Pay Rate Calculator
Care.com has a Babysitter Pay Rate Calculator that will calculate the "going rate" for sitters in your area! If you love the calculator, you can make your own Babysitter Pay Calculator Widget too!
Many families pay babysitters under the table (i.e. in cash, with no taxes withheld). This is fine, as long as the babysitter doesnt earn $1,800 or more during the calendar year. However, if you anticipate paying your babysitter more than $1,800 or becoming a regular employee, filing taxes for her is the right thing to do and can have benefits in the long run. It's not as overwhelming as you many think, and Care.com HomePay can even handle the tax process for you. For more information on tax forms, read our article Nanny Tax Forms and Procedures to help get you started.
In the end, you get what you pay for. When you hire a babysitter, pay her fairly to help establish a long, trusting relationship--and to make sure she's not lured away by a higher-paying neighbor.
Tiffany Smith is the senior associate editor here at Care.com. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter at @tiffanyiswrite.