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How much does a babysitter cost?

Here's what you need to factor in when figuring out how much to pay a sitter.

How much does a babysitter cost?

It’s the big question on every parent’s mind when they need someone to look after their children: How much does a babysitter cost?

Unfortunately, there’s no one answer, as there are many factors that influence how much a babysitter should get paid, including location, skill level and the number and ages of the children that need care.

According to recent Care data, the national average hourly base rate babysitters are charging is $17.62 per hour. 

Average cost of babysitters per hour in 2024

According to recent Care data, the national average hourly base rate babysitters are charging is $17.62 per hour. 

Neither the national average nor the sitter’s base rate necessarily tells you what you’ll pay a babysitter, due to the many factors that can affect cost. One of the biggest determining factors in the cost of a babysitter is based on where you live. Here are some examples of babysitter costs based on location, according to recent Care data.

Current babysitter costs for top cities*

Seattle, Washington$22.47/hr
Brooklyn, New York$20.85/hr
Miami, Florida$18.95/hr
San Diego, California$20.26/hr
Portland, Oregon$19.33/hr
Washington, D.C.$19.60/hr
Denver, Colorado$19.49/hr
Chicago, Illinois$18.93/hr
Atlanta, Georgia$18.21/hr
Phoenix, Arizona$18.16/hr
Charlotte, North Carolina$17.36/hr
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$17.90/hr
Houston, Texas$16.93/hr
Orlando, Florida$16.49/hr
San Antonio, Texas$15.88/hr
* Based on reported rates from service providers listed on, as of March 2024.

How to determine how much to pay your babysitter

In addition to location, there are other factors to consider, such as regularity of work and duties required, when determining what to pay a babysitter. After you decide what you’re looking for in a sitter, figure out a fair price with the following steps:

1. Research costs in your area

It’s all about where you live. Just as the cost of living varies by city, so, too, does the acceptable amount to pay someone for child care. Beverly Harzog, a consumer finance analyst at U.S. News and World Report, says standard costs can even vary based on what area of the city you live in. For example, if you live closer to downtown, prices may be higher than if you live on the outskirts of the city, closer to the suburbs. Our cost of care calculator will give you a good baseline to work with, but Harzog says the best way to get an idea of what people are really spending is to ask local friends how much they pay.

“Let’s say the average rate you find after talking to your friends is $15 per hour,” she says. “This tells you what the average price is in your area, but you still might need to adjust that depending on your specific situation.”

2. Factor in the number and ages of your children

The next factor to consider is how many children you have and their ages.

“If there‘s one 9-year-old child who is well-behaved, then that’s an easy gig for the sitter,” says Harzog. “But if you have 2-year-old twins, then that justifies a higher rate.”

Similarly, it is typical to offer more money for a higher needs child, such as a newborn, versus a child who is able to be more independent. How much more you offer will vary, but many parents start with the average cost for one child and add between $0.50 and $1 per hour for each additional child. For an infant, parents may add anywhere from $1-$2 per hour. Of course, the babysitter’s skill level will also play a role in how much you up your offer.

3. Assess the skill-level of the sitter

If you’re hiring a mother’s helper to entertain your toddler while you’re home or a sitter who has only been babysitting a few months, then paying the average is likely OK. But if you’re seeking a sitter with multiple years of experience or who has completed training courses and/or gotten special certifications, like CPR, they will typically demand higher pay. How much higher depends on their qualifications and preferences.

”Someone who has a lot of experience might be looking for something that is a higher paying position even if it’s not necessarily a higher responsibility job,” says Suzie Zeldin, the co-founder and director of operations at SmartSitting.

In this situation, you should first determine how much you’re comfortable paying, using tools like the cost of care calculator, asking local friends what they pay and factoring in your unique needs. If you’re really stumped about what constitutes a fair offer, you can also open a dialogue with the sitter about what they expect to be paid, says Harzog.

“Sometimes, there is competition for the best sitters, so you want to make sure you’re offering a fair rate,” she adds.

That said, don’t automatically rule out sitters who are younger or have slightly less experience. Depending on the ages of your children and your expectations, a responsible young sitter may be able to fill the role just as well for a cost that is more affordable.

4. Consider the number of hours and regularity of work needed

Sometimes, the hours and days you need your sitter can affect how much they get paid. For example, a babysitter may expect a higher rate if they’re working during busy times, like weekend nights or during the holidays, or if they’re called for a last-minute job. The cost of an after-school babysitter, overnight babysitter or weekend sitter may also be calculated a little differently than a typical “date night” job.

“It really ties back to what you’re asking of that person,” Zeldin says. “If you’re asking a sitter to spend 15 hours per week with your family smack dab in the middle of the day, that requires a higher commitment level than a once-a-week job.”

According to’s 2024 Cost of Care Report, parents paid after-school sitters an average of $19.47 per hour ($292 per week), for working about three hours a day, or a total of 15 hours per week.

If you’re looking for more regular care, you can use the average hourly babysitting prices in your area to determine what a good daily or weekly rate might be. For as-needed care, average rates are typically OK, as long as you’re accounting for things like holidays, high-demand hours and any additional tasks you’re asking the babysitter to take on.

5. Determine duties and responsibilities

The last thing to consider when deciding how much to pay your babysitter is the amount of work you’re requiring them to do. Typical babysitter duties entail things like playing with the children, light meal prep, changing diapers, putting children to bed and perhaps a quick cleanup of play areas or any kitchen items used. But if the workload expands beyond the basics, the pay should also increase.

Here are a few duties that might alter the cost of a sitter:

  • Driving kids: A babysitter who is picking children up from school in a personal vehicle will need to be reimbursed for fuel.
  • Doing more extensive cooking or cleaning: If you’re asking for the preparation of full meals or for housework beyond light cleaning or picking up, you should plan to compensate the babysitter extra.
  • Tutoring: Typically a babysitter can oversee that a child’s homework is completed, but if you’re looking for more extensive help with homework or school projects, that costs more.
  • Providing more specialized child care: Children with special needs may require more care and additional certifications, thus increasing the cost of a babysitter.

Once you’ve decided on a reasonable pay rate, there’s one more small thing that Harzog says to consider. Find out from friends if tipping the babysitter is common in your area. If it is, then it’s a good idea to give a tip — typically just a few dollars on top of their regular pay — particularly for last-minute gigs, large groups of kids, holidays or just exceptional care.