Sheila Lirio Marcelo is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Care.com. Care.com is the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care, helping families find babysitters, nannies, senior caregivers, pet sitters, housekeepers, and more!
It seems like everywhere I go, parents always ask me, "How much should I pay my babysitter?" The best answer that I can give is, "It depends!"
There really isn't a nationwide flat-rate for babysitters. We have a Babysitter Pay Calculator on Care.com and you can check out the rate in your local area. I've also pulled together a few tips for you, and with a little help from the Calculator, you'll find an answer in no time!
How many kids?
One of the biggest babysitting myths says, "Twice the kids means twice the pay." Most often that's just not the case, though. Typically, if you add a second child to a babysitting session, it won't double the price. Rather, parents should increase the overall pay by a couple dollars per hour, as long as their babysitter isn't doing twice the work.
What are their kids' ages?
The age of your children is a big factor in figuring out how much to pay. Infants and young children require much more effort to look after, while pre-teens can usually keep themselves occupied. Adjust your salary according to level of work needed and, if you have very little, little ones, then boost your pay rate (at least until they get a little older).
What's your babysitter's experience?
The age and experience of your babysitter matters quite a bit. If you hire a sitter who's young and inexperienced (like a teenage first-timer or a neighbor), then it's okay to pay them less than you would an older sitter or someone who has more experience or special training like CPR or First Aid. But if you're hiring a sitter with a lot of experience, expect to pay extra. You might not have to pay a lot more—just a dollar or two an hour—but many parents are willing to spend a little more for the peace of mind that comes along with an older babysitter.
What kind of sitting do you need?
Traditionally, parents hired babysitters to watch the kids while they spent an evening on the town or with friends. Nowadays though, we hire sitters for all occasions—while we run errands, for afternoons after school, to possibly do a couple chores around the house, and even overnight sits. As each situation changes, the pay rate should change, too. If you expect your babysitter to cook dinner for the kids or clean up around the house, make sure you communicate that in advance and raise the rate. If your sitter spends the night, it's okay to decrease their hourly salary for the hours when they're sleeping. But you'll still need to pay them for the whole time, though!
Check the Calculator.
The Care.com Babysitter Pay Calculator will show you the up-to-the-minute rates for babysitters in your hometown. It's super-easy to use! Just plug in how many kids you have, what type of experience you're looking for from a sitter, and your ZIP code. Then, presto, the Calculator shows you exactly what you should pay.
I hope these tips have been helpful if you're trying to decide on the right rate for your babysitter. Keep in mind that whatever salary you choose, make sure to cover it with your babysitter in advance! That way, there aren't any surprises when they come over to sit for your kids.
Just so you know we've been tracking the average salaries for babysitters over the past year. Due to the current recession, we've seen rates drop by almost 10 percent. So now's a good time to check out the Calculator and make sure you're consistent with the current rates.
How much do you pay your babysitter? And how do you figure out how much to pay for special sitter sessions like overnight stays or when they have to pick up the kids? Let us know!
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