For babysitters, the end of the school year and the beginning of summer typically signals one thing — many child care job opportunities. If you’re a high school or college student — or you have a flexible schedule — and love working with children, summer can be a great season to make some cash.
“I would save [money from babysitting] all summer and have enough money to live off of for the full college year,” says Lauren M., of Pittsburgh, who summer sat while working toward her teaching degree.
So just how much can you make as a summer babysitter? Here, we break down the factors that may impact how much your charge for summer sitting and what you need to know about setting your hourly babysitting rate.
How much money summer babysitters can earn
According to recent Care.com data, the average babysitter rate is about $18.26 per hour.* Based on that rate, here’s an example of how that can add up over the summer:
Potential earnings for a summer babysitter*
|June (assuming 3 weeks)||July (assuming 4 weeks)||August (assuming 3 weeks)||Full summer (assuming 10 weeks)|
|10 hours per week||$547.80||$730.40||$547.80||$1,826|
|20 hours per week||$1,095.60||$1,460.80||$1,095.60||$3,652|
|30 hours per week||$1,643.40||$2,191.20||$1,643.40||$5,478|
Factors that can influence your summer pay
There are many factors that go into how much money a sitter gets paid. A few common ones include:
It’s no secret that, in general, babysitters tend to make more money in areas with a higher cost of living. Check out the going rate for babysitting in your state or use our babysitting rate calculator to see what the going rate is in your area. It may even be worth it to seek out babysitting jobs in the next town or city over if there’s a big pay differential between the two.
Demand for sitters is often higher in the summer, and high demand for sitters is almost always linked to higher pay. That means it’s possible to earn slightly more per hour than you do the rest of the year. So think about what families tend to do during the summer in your town. Do they stick around and go to work as usual? Or do they get out of Dodge for the summer months? Rachel Charlupski, founder of The Babysitting Company, points out that where she lives — South Florida — many families travel for the summer, so babysitters aren’t in as high demand. In turn, that means sitter rates aren’t as likely to go up in her location during the summertime.
Number of hours
Many families need more hours of child care in the summer than they do during the school year. That means more money for you! In cities where hourly rates are fairly static year-round, your earning potential will be more closely tied to the number of hours you work.
“The primary difference we see is between babysitting occasionally for a few hours versus caring for the kids all week during the summer while the parents are at work,” says Elizabeth Malson, founder of the U.S. Nanny Institute, formerly called the Amslee Institute, in Sarasota, Florida.
Still, adds Charlupski, some families choose summer camps over a sitter, and others take a lot of time off during the summer, so they might actually not need a sitter to cover a ton of hours. Figure out what schedule(s) work for you.
Certification and training
Some families may be willing to pay a sitter a higher rate if they feel they have the qualifications and training to keep their kids safe and well cared for.
“Any time someone has certification or formal training, they’re always able to make more,” says Charlupski.
To show you’re the type of sitter who’s worth the investment, you may want to get:
- A drug test and background check: “I tell sitters to do the drug test and get a background check,” says Charlupski. “They might have to pay to get them done, but it’s worth it to increase earning potential,” she says.
- Infant and child CPR training: Charlupski says CPR training is an asset and can earn you more, too. Look into classes offered by the American Red Cross.
- Babysitter-specific training: “Sitters with specialized child care training can often earn more or qualify for positions with more hours and responsibilities,” Malson says. So consider taking a babysitting class, like those offered by the Red Cross or the U.S. Nanny Institute.
- Water safety training: If you’ve worked as a lifeguard or had water safety training, you may be an especially desirable caregiver to a family with a pool or who expect you to take kids swimming over the summer. Therefore, you could charge more for sitting, says Charlupski.
- Specialized training: Families who have a child with special needs or a food allergy, for example, may be willing to pay more to hire a caregiver who has experience and/or training to handle that particular need. Being bilingual and speaking the same language that the family speaks could be valuable, as well, says Kealia R., a former sitter in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Teaching or tutoring experience
Many families specifically seek teachers to fill summer babysitting roles, says Charlupski. That’s because teachers are already knowledgeable in child development and have experience working with children over the course of a full day. Some teachers may also be willing to do some teaching or tutoring for the families they’re sitting for, which can definitely earn extra pay.
More demanding job expectations
Summer sitting job expectations can go way beyond just playing at home with the kids, as parents need help shuttling kids or filling the long summer days with fun activities. Families may also pay more for a sitter who can do more.
“My duties were to take kids to lessons — piano, swim and karate — fix lunch, go to the library to fulfill the summer reading program, take the kids to the pool as the weather permitted and other outings,” says Beth L., of Pittsburgh.
For this, Beth says she was expected to have cooking skills, a clean driving record, a reliable car and auto insurance. Those abilities made her an asset to the family she was sitting for.
“Positions that include household management or family assistant work can expand a babysitter’s level of responsibility — and thus compensation when sitters clean, prepare meals, care for pets and provide other services,” says Malson.
Whether or not you’re earning more money or getting more hours than you were the rest of the year, you may find the summer sitting experience itself is valuable.
“Summer sitting can come with additional perks, such as pool time or a summer pass to a local amusement park,” says Malson. “If you are lucky, some families will include the sitter on their vacation or a weekend trip.”
Charlupski says how sitters get paid when traveling can vary from family to family, but usually there’s a day rate, and room and board are paid.
“Although these activities can be fun, it’s important to remember that you are a sitter and care of the children should always come first,” says Malson.
Charlupski agrees. “It’s not really a vacation for the sitter,” she says. “They usually need to wake up before the parents do and be 10 steps ahead of everyone.”
Summer babysitting can be lucrative and often offers valuable life experience. At the very least, you should be able to soak up a little sun while caring for the kids.
“Everyone tends to be a little bit more relaxed, and sitters can be more creative [in the summer],” says Charlupski. “A lot of sitters really enjoy that.”