1. Parenting

How Much Should You Pay Your Babysitter?

$4 to $12 Hourly Rates Average

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Remember when you could pay a 13-year-old neighborhood girl a couple of bucks to watch your kids while you ran errands ... and she was happy to have the cash? While there are some teens today who will babysit for $3 an hour, most parents today have higher expectations that come with someone watching their children, and as such babysitters command a higher rate. Families often desire babysitters who can drive in case of an emergency or for convenience, or at least know the babysitter's parents are at home and nearby. In addition, extra concerns about safety have typically raised the age of preferred babysitters (11-year-olds don't get the same job offers they did 20 years ago, for example).

What is the going rate of pay for a babysitter?

The answer, not surprisingly, is that it depends. The rate hinges on where you live, if you have one child or more than one needing to be watched, the ages of your children, and details surrounding care expectations. If you need a babysitter for 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon, for example, babysitter requirements and resulting pay may be different than if you want a babysitter to care for your kids from about 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. or so. Here are pay considerations before recruiting a babysitter for service:

    Are you using a young and inexperienced babysitter, around ages 11-14? If your babysitter is young and you have only one child requiring care, you may be able to pay $3 or $4 an hour. Generally, a second child adds an additional $1 per hour. Of course, with this age of babysitter, you need a responsible adult nearby who could assist with any situation. Parents will also need to keep their cell phone on and available for a babysitter call. And, remember, you don't get to "deduct" amount of pay for naps or after bedtime. While the job gets easier then, a babysitter is still officially working, meaning she's not at her own home doing her own thing.
    Is your babysitter aged 15 or 16? Most likely, your teenage babysitter has some planned uses for cash, and at this age, is more apt to find jobs, so your pay may need to increase. A general guideline is to pay $5-$6 per hour, or a rate that matches what employers pay teens of this same age group. Again, the expectation is that the babysitter will remain at home with your child(ren) and not be expected to do much more than watch kids safely, prepare basic meals, and clean up after themselves. Some babysitters this age may help tutor kids or help them practice their dance steps. Some teens this age may command a higher rate of pay if they are able to drive themselves to your house and home afterward.
    Is your babysitter at least age 17 with experience? Using an adult babysitter, especially one who drives to your place and perhaps is even responsible for toting your kids to practice or a birthday party, etc., means that more pay is a given. Depending on your job requirements and expectations, an adult babysitter is likely to expect pay of at least $8 an hour, and perhaps up to $12 or even more an hour if you live in a major city. And, don't think that you can automatically tack on additional duties to the babysitting job. Laundry or other additional household duties may be extra. For this pay, however, you have a more mature adult who is able to handle various situations, is able to transport kids (maybe even take them to the latest kid movie they have been clamoring to see), spend the afternoon at a local park, or even take them throug ha drive-through to get an ice cream. Just remember that anything extra she spends on your children will be expected to be reimbursed, so make sure of plans and expectations up front.
    Does your babysitter need specific training or skills to watch your child(ren)? If your child has special needs that require very specific medical treatments, if your child is sick, or if you require first aid/CPR training or a babysitter to know how to give asthma treatments, for example, the rate may be more.
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