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How to hire a babysitter for New Year’s Eve

Want to hire a babysitter for New Year's Eve, but aren't sure how to lock one down (or what to pay)? Here's what you need to know.

How to hire a babysitter for New Year’s Eve

The year is almost over and you’re ready to celebrate with your partner and friends. But … what to do with the kids?

You’ve brought them to parties in the past, but then spent most of your time keeping an eye on them. You’ve stayed home with them for a quiet celebration — which is fun — but this year you want to do something a bit more exciting. And you deserve a night out. So pick up a noisemaker and a champagne glass and get ready: This year you’re hiring a babysitter!

Finding a sitter for New Year’s Eve is not always a simple task. Check out these common questions about hiring a sitter on New Year’s Eve.

1. When should I book a sitter for New Year’s Eve?

Of course, you can never book a New Year’s Eve sitter too early. But if you haven’t just yet (because kids! work! holidays!), the good news is you probably still have time. According to 2021 Care data, the most popular day nationally to post a job for a NYE sitter on Care was just three days before the New Year’s Eve on December 28. We anticipate similar trends for ringing in 2023.

Of course, finding the right sitter for your children can be tough on a regular day, and New Year’s Eve is the biggest party night of the year. If your regular sitter is old enough, they’ll likely be making plans ahead of time, too. So do start looking, if at all possible, for a reliable sitter at least a few weeks ahead of time.

2. Where should I look for a New Year’s Eve sitter?

Start with the people around you. If you have a regular nanny or babysitter, ask if they are looking to earn some extra money working New Year’s Eve. If they already have plans, ask a family member or friend. Spread the word through your family’s network that you’re looking for someone. Perhaps your sister, cousin or book club buddy is staying home with her own kids and can host a slumber party. Offer to reciprocate and take the entire crew next year as a thank you.

Or post a job description online. Specify that you’re looking for a New Year’s Eve sitter in the job title. Mention what time you want a sitter to arrive and what time you should be home (most people hire a NYE sitter from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.). Think, too, about hiring someone to stay overnight and watch the kids until morning.

Just like you do before hiring any sitter, check references and carefully interview candidates in person.

3. What can I expect from a NYE sitter? What should my sitter expect from me?

If you need a caregiver for the entire night, communicate this outright. If you’re going out for dinner and dancing and don’t expect to be back until the wee hours of the morning, be sure your sitter is comfortable in the house, with a space to sleep and adequate instructions about how to handle any situation. Ordering a special dinner for the kids and sitter is a nice treat.

4. How much should I pay my New Year’s Eve sitter?

Your babysitter’s rate depends on a number of things, including your location, the number or kids you have and the sitter’s experience. According to 2021 Care data, the average hourly babysitting rate for New Year’s Eve ranged between $17.30 and $22.40 an hour, depending on location.

Another way to figure out a fair babysitting rate, find out what the going rate is in your area by checking out the Care babysitting rates calculator. However, do take note: A number of babysitters polled by Care say, on New Year’s Eve, they charge more than their typical rate, with many saying they charge time and a half.

If you’re having an overnight sitter, discuss payment upfront to determine if they prefer a flat or hourly fee (though, keep in mind, sleeping hours don’t mean they’re “off the clock!”).

5. Should I have a backup sitter?

It’s always good to have a backup for those just-in-case situations. If your sitter suddenly gets the flu (or gets invited to a last-minute, once-in-a-lifetime party), you can rely on someone else — either family or another sitter. If you know someone who will be home that night, ask them if they’d be willing to take the kids if your original plans fall through.

6. Is it too late to find a New Year’s Eve sitter?

If it’s December 30 and you haven’t been able to find a sitter, don’t worry. Call your list of usual babysitters again or post a last-minute job online to see if anyone is available. People’s plans do change and you may luck out. (Just make sure you screen a new sitter carefully.) If that doesn’t work, you just have to get creative.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Celebrate on New Year’s Eve Eve. Some people celebrate the night before the holiday. Get together with friends, go out for dinner and avoid the madness (and expense!) of the actual holiday. Many babysitters will probably be available that night, so finding someone to look after your kids shouldn’t be a problem. Then spend the actual big night tucked away at home with the kids.
  • Share a babysitter. Did your friends score a sitter? Ask them if they (and their sitter) would be willing to do a babysitter share. Bring all of the kids to one house, stock up on snacks and movies and split the cost of the caregiver’s salary (since they’ll be watching more kids, you’ll need to increase the pay).
  • Have a staycation celebration. Make plans to have a fun New Year’s Eve at home. Make it special by dressing up in fancy clothes or by having everyone wear their new holiday PJs. Pick up food and drink for a fun, celebratory spread that everyone will love.

Of course, advance planning (or so we’ve heard … ) is always the goal but not generally the reality for many busy families. Do start looking for a babysitter as early as you can. But if you didn’t, don’t automatically give up a much-deserved night out. There’s time to book a reliable sitter — even at the last minute!