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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: Babysitters

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I don't think there is anything that baffles parents of young children more than this one... how much should you pay a babysitter. Maybe it's a regional thing, but I have never met a person in conversation who can tell me the going rate for babysitting these days. We are really blessed... there is a college student in our church who charges $2 (yes... TWO) per hour per child! That is just $2 an hour for us (and $4 an hour after next month... well, in a few months when I'm ready to leave her with a college student). Honestly, we always pay her more than that. We just can't justify it. DH is really the one who pushes it up there. I'm not even sure $2 an hour covers gas for her to come and drive home if we aren't gone very long. We ususally give her $5 an hour and then round up at the end. I made $5 an hour 15 years ago... so as much as it hurt me to think about... I have to wonder if it's higher than that normally.

This is a big deal to us because we use babysitters more than the average person. Now, before I get all sorts of comments on how it is my job to raise my children and you would NEVER use a babysitter, etc, etc, etc, please let me explain. I have the express joy to stay home with my little one every day! I love it! I love that I don't have to miss those normal daily things. I love that I can teach him the things I want him to learn and that he can grow up in his home! I love everything about it and I am so thankful for the opportunity! One of the things that makes our life possible with me at home, though, is the photography business I run from our home. This means that we do have to go out to do photo shoots (we work on location) some evenings and Saturdays (and lots of evenings and Saturdays during the busy Senior Portraits season).

So anyway... long story over... how much do you pay a babysitter to watch your children? Don't forget to mention how many children you have, and maybe their age ranges... that may make a difference! The more comments the merrier! Let's make this a great resource place for this information. If you've never commented before... make this your first time! PLEASE... we all want to know! I'll put up another post in a few days if we get some great answers, and I'd love to link to you if you have any input for us!

By the way... this is one of those posts that was totally DH's idea. In fact, just last night he asked if I'd posted on it yet... so apparently it's an important one. :) I love when he gets involved in my blogging! :)

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At February 21, 2008 at 2:18 PM , Blogger Nikki said...

We don't get a babysitter very often, so I am very interested in what others have to say. For one thing, we are blessed to have all of my family in town, and my mom is usually able to keep Sarah Beth. The other thing is that we live out in the middle of nowhere, and we don't know anyone who lives close and babysits. The last babysitter I used charged $6 an hour, but I don't know if that was per child -- I doubt it. She is a high school student.

At February 21, 2008 at 2:37 PM , Blogger Someone Being Me said...

We have been lucky enough to trade babysitting services with other friends who have kids to minimize the cost. Last time I had a babysitter I think I paid $25.00 for 3 hours for my 1 child? I remember thinking it was kind of expensive if you add in the cost of your date as well. I think I charged something like $3.00- $5.00an hour back when I babysat depending on the number of kids.

At February 21, 2008 at 2:41 PM , Blogger Marva said...

First of all I want to apologige for not getting your button up yet. I plan on doing some work on my blog this weekend and getting it up then. Things have been really crazy the last 2 weeks so please forgive me.

Now, our mother's helper that is 15 she does 8 hour days (usually). We have 2 boys, twins, 22 months old. I usually go get her. I do not know what the average is nationally, but what we pay her is about average for where we live. We live in North central Alabama.

After reading Nikki's comment and yours too.... you may all be shocked and I just had another realization of how truly blessed I am...... We pay her $20 for an 8 hour day. We provide her meal(s). She is really wonderful and this summer she will get a raise because she will be 16 and start driving herself to our home.

We also give her a Christmas bonus (usally equals to 2 days work), same for her birthday as well. She is going to Europe with her class for Spring break this year and we are giving her one then too.

That's how we do it here. Can't wait to read about how everyone else goes about.......Blessings!!!!

At February 21, 2008 at 5:09 PM , Blogger Kacie said...

I used to babysit a lot when I was younger. I miss it!

My dad would always hire me out to the neighbors, lol. "Kacie's available! She can watch your kids!" and I'm like ....?

Anyway, one lady I sat for had a really easy to care for toddler. She was a sweetie pie. I ended up getting paid about $2/hour in oh, 1999 or so. I remember being kind of mad about that, since it wasn't much at all.

But, I didn't feel like I could ask for more.

If your sitter is in college and she's babysitting for money, she's possibly broke. If that's the case, maybe you could offer to drive her so she doesn't have to use gas, or provide meals for her.

I think it's good that you're paying her more than she's charging.

Because as much as she probably likes your child, she's probably doing it for the money, too.

At February 21, 2008 at 11:16 PM , Blogger annie said...

Hi, I just stumbled across your blog, and I have some info on this topic! I babysat for one family (the mom was a stay at home mom, but needed some hours here and there) all through college. They are a wonderful family, and I still babysit for them on weekends every now and then (even though I'm 24, married, and have a full time job - I just love the kids!). They have three kids, now 7, 5 and almost 3. I've been watching them since the oldest was 3, so before the baby was even born. I live in the DC area, so maybe this makes a difference, but I made $12/hr. It's a little on the high end, I think, but it was very helpful when I was a starving college student.

At February 25, 2008 at 1:28 PM , Anonymous Libby said...

I, too, just stumbled across your blog. I saw your post asking for comments on the babysitter question and I thought I'd weigh in.

I've wondered about the babysitter question myself and here's what I've figured out. There are two huge factors in how much you pay a babysitter. The first is where you live. For example, we live in a large metropolitan area (about 600,000) and pay at least 50% more than someone who lives in a smaller town (about 10,000).

The second major factor in how much you pay a sitter is his/her age. College students (and older) are typically paid more than junior high/high school students. And college students are usually paid a flat rate per hour vs. high school students who are paid based on the number of children he/she cares for. I think a big influence in the older students being paid more is that they are able to transport themselves (and, therefore, pay for gas and wear on their vehicle).

As for actual dollars...We pay $10/hr for college students. This is actually on the cheap end since these sitters are typically my younger sitter and her friends. Most college (or older) sitters in our area make $12/hr or more. We have a few high school students who sit for us as well. We pay them $5/hr for one child and $7/hr for two.

And the last thing to consider with regard to how much to pay a sitter is your competition. If your sitter is in high demand or is really good with your kids, it doesn't hurt to pay a little extra. This might be bonuses for birthdays and holidays, or it could be a few dollars more every time they sit for you. It could even be special treatment like making sure you have his/her favorite soda on hand. But just like they say about moms..."when the babysitter's happy, everyone is happy!" :)

At February 26, 2008 at 7:22 PM , Blogger Rhonda said...

This is my first time to your blog. I was looking for meal ideas for my 2 year old twins and your site came up. This post floored me. I'd love to get babysitters at rates like those.

In the Boston, MA area, high schooler charge $10/hr for the first child plus an extra $2/hr for each additional child. Twins are $15 for infants/toddlers and the normal 2 child rate when they reach 3-4 years old.

Last summer I played a 14 year old mother's helper $5/hr plus 2 meals, snacks, and transportation.

I think where you live makes a huge difference.

At February 28, 2008 at 4:25 PM , Blogger bigcitymama said...

It definitely changes regionally - I live in NYC and pay my grad school student sitter $13 an hour, plus cab fare if she sits at night. I have one 3 yr old!

At March 3, 2008 at 1:36 AM , Blogger Me said...

A babysitter (non professional) where I live costs from 10-15 an hour. A professional ( like a nanny) would cost much more.


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