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How Much Should I Pay for After-School Child Care?

Brenda Barron
Feb. 26, 2018

Learn what an after-school sitter costs and what factors impact that pay rate.

How Much Should I Pay for After-School Child Care?
Image via Stocksy.com

Many parents struggle with finding a way to fill in that gap between when their children get home from school and when they get home from work. If you're in this boat, hiring an after-school babysitter or nanny could be a great solution to your problem.

"My experience with after-school child care has been great," says Nora Simoes, mother of two from Anaheim, California. After giving her child a snack, Simoes says her nanny does an outdoor activity or art project and helps with school work, too.

But, how much do you pay?

According to Care.com's 2017 Cost of Care Survey, the average after-school sitter made about $15 per hour in 2016 -- which added up to about $232 per week for 15 hours of work. That said, that number can vary widely from family to family, based on a number of different factors.

If you'd like to be a Fair Care Employer, here are nine things you should take into account when trying to establish a fair rate to pay your sitter or nanny.

  1. Neighborhood Rates
    Your first step when settling on a price for an after-school babysitter or nanny should be to ask your friends and family their experiences with child care providers. For example, Simoes asked parents at her local church and from around the neighborhood to get a sense of what pay rate is considered standard.

    Check out our babysitting rates calculator to learn the going rate in your area.
  2. Job Responsibilities
    If you simply want someone to pick up your kids from school, bring them home, and watch them while they do their homework, the pay rate might be on the lower side. But, if your needs go beyond the responsibilities of a babysitter, you'll need to pay for that extra work. 

    In this case, an after-school nanny may be a great option because they can do so much more.They're involved with your child's development and can help plan activities and help with homework.
  3. Number of Children
    The number of children under a babysitter's or nanny's care also affects the pay rate. Most people add more per hour to cover each additional child. Typically, $1-3 is adequate. The fee will also depend on how many children are in school, how many need homework help, etc.
  4. Experience
    The rate will also change depending on the caregiver's level of experience. How many years has she been watching kids? How old is she? Does she have any certifications, such as CPR/First Aid or early childhood education?

    The more experienced the sitter or nanny is, the more you should expect to pay.
  5. Homework Help
    Will your after-school babysitter or nanny provide help with homework and studying? If so, your nanny will need an additional set of skills. She'll need to be well-educated, familiar with the subjects your children are studying, and be an effective tutor.

    Ask yourself: Do You Need a Homework Helper?
  6. Housework
    If your kids are a little older and don't need constant care, an after-school sitter or nanny may be able to help you out by doing household chores or making dinner. If she's going to be handling extra chores, you should definitely pay her extra. Learn more about hiring a nanny housekeeper.

    That said, not all babysitters or nannies are willing to do this kind of work. If this task is a dealbreaker for you in terms of your care needs, then make sure that you know where they stand on this before you move forward with hiring them. If they're willing to take on some housework duties for extra pay, that's great! If not, decide whether you can be flexible in your expectations (or get rid of the duty entirely), or move onto another candidate.
  7. Live In or Live Out
    This pertains more to nannies than to babysitters. More often than not, after-school nannies are "live out," meaning they don't live in your home. This makes sense because their services usually aren't needed in the mornings. But, for some parents, the live-in nanny option is important, especially if they work late. Unsurprisingly, costs will differ depending on which care option you decide to go with.

    Learn more about what a live-in nanny costs.
  8. Additional Benefits
    How much you pay an after-school babysitter or nanny will also depend on what benefits you're prepared to offer. Do you supplement their health insurance? Do you provide paid vacation time? You may be able to negotiate a lower rate with your nanny if you offer better benefits.

    Here are 12 nanny job benefits.
  9. Transportation
    Many after-school babysitters and nannies are tasked with picking up children from school and bringing them home. Unless she's using public transportation, your child-wrangler may be using her own vehicle to get to and from the school. She might also be required to shuttle your kids to extracurricular activities like club meetings, soccer practice, or music lessons.

    Factor these expenses into the pay rate and learn how to reimburse a babysitter or nanny for gas and mileage.

After-school babysitters and nannies have different responsibilities than full-time carers. This is why no one-size-fits-all rate can work. You'll need to account for everything that's expected of your babysitter or nanny -- along with anticipated hours and your budget -- to hash out a rate that works for everyone. If you'd like to be a Fair Care Employer, take the Fair Care Pledge!

Brenda Barron is a writer from southern California. When she's not typing at a frantic pace, she's spending time with her family, knitting or watching Doctor Who -- often all at once. 

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