What Should I Pay a Babysitter?

Urban Sitter's 2015 survey results on babysitter rates across the country

paying a babysitter

Are you unsure how much to pay your babysitter? In order to attract the most qualified babysitters, it is important to offer a competitive rate, without overpaying.

Factors to Consider When Deciding How Much to Pay a Babysitter:

How many children will the babysitter watch?

More kids means more work for the babysitter, especially when the children’s ages are different. For each additional child, pay your babysitter an extra $1 or $2.

How experienced is the babysitter?

Experience is a factor when it comes to babysitter payments. A teenager is very different than a seasoned babysitter who is CPR and first aid certified. You may also want to take their education level or other talents into consideration. If you are looking for someone who can help your child musically or with a certain sport, you may have to pay more to find a babysitter with these specific skills. 

Is the babysitter doing additional work?

If the babysitter will put your kids to bed and then watch TV all night, you can pay a lower rate. However, If you need the babysitter to drive your kids around, perform household chores or help with homework, plan to pay them more for these extra services.

Do you need a babysitter for a special occasion?

Be prepared to pay up for special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day or when taking a babysitter on your vacation.

Babysitters are in high demand for special holidays. Book early to get the best rates for holidays.

Do you need a babysitter or nanny?

Some people use babysitter and nanny interchangeable, but there is a big difference between the jobs and a big difference in what you should be paying them. Think of babysitters as occasional child care who are great for watching and playing with your kids while you go on a date night for a few hours.

If you need full-time or regular child care, you should be looked for a nanny. Nannies are child care professionals who should be involved in your child's development and typically earn more.

What is the Going Rate in Your Area?

​The going rate for babysitters increase over time and also vary by location. Babysitters in cities cost more than sitters in small towns because of the higher cost of living. Care.come provides a babysitter pay rate calculator to find out the going rate for sitters in your area.

UrbanSitter released its 2015 National Childcare Survey results for average rates for babysitters and other child care providers. Urban Sitter collected data from 10,000 families across the United States to calculate rates for major cities across the country.

Babysitter Rates Per Hour:

One child: 

  • Boston:     $15.08    
  • Chicago    $13.17    
  • Denver    $11.04    
  • District of Columbia   $14.32
  • New York    $15.51    
  • Los Angeles    $14.44    
  • San Francisco    $15.93    
  • San Diego    $11.86    
  • Seattle    $14.32

Two children:

  • Boston:     $16.62    
  • Chicago    $14.54 
  • Denver    $13.07  
  • District of Columbia   $16.27
  • New York    $17.29   
  • Los Angeles    $16.57  
  • San Francisco    $18.38    
  • San Diego    $13.21 
  • Seattle    $15.95

Key findings from Urban Sitter's 2015 survey:

  • San Francisco has surpassed NY as the city with the most expensive rates, where the average babysitting rate for one child is $15.93 per hour.
  • Denver has the least expensive rates, where the average pay starts at $11.04 an hour for one child
  • When asked what matters most when hiring a babysitter, the majority (24%) of parents said “a reference from a friend.” Interestingly, a background check came in as LEAST important (6%).
  • 33% of parents do date night once a week.
  • 42% of parents tip their sitters.
  • When it comes to male caregivers, 59% of parents would consider hiring a male, 28% would not consider it and 13% have hired a male.

Updated by Jill Ceder

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