After you've searched, interviewed, and struck gold by finding a great babysitter, or landed an awesome sitting job, the next thing to discuss is payment. Since babysitting rates are so subjective, it can feel like daunting topic to bring up.
But, there's no situation too complex to come to an appropriate number over, and we have lots of possible situations covered to give you a good guideline on what to pay (or what to charge) for babysitting.
What Is the Average Babysitting Rate?
The average hourly rate for a babysitter widely varies. The 2022 national average rate for babysitting services was:
- $20.57/hour for one child
- $23.25/hour for two children
An important aspect to consider is that babysitting rates change by states. Think about it - cost of living looks different everywhere, and so wages will look different too. For example, the average hourly babysitting rate in San Antonio, Texas, is $12.70, while the average hourly rate is slightly more in Philadelphia at $15.40. In big cities such as San Francisco, there's an even higher rate at $23.32 per hour for a single child.
Paying a Sitter Adds Up
If you pay a babysitter to hang with the kiddos once in a while, as you enjoy some adult time away from home, the price probably won't break the bank. However, if you need babysitting services frequently, you'll quickly discover that covering the cost of at-home childcare adds up.
A recent study conducted by Urbansitter.com discovered that 28 percent of American families spend between $30,000 and $75,000 on childcare in a single year. 79 percent of families reported to the study that childcare was one of the biggest expenses for their family. It sounds like a staggering amount to shell out to a babysitter or nanny, but after you break down all that your sitter is providing you, it makes sense to pay them what they deserve.
Expect to Pay a Higher Babysitting Rate for Multiple Children
Naturally, if you have multiple kids, you can expect to pay a babysitter more. There's no hard-and-fast rule about what the hourly increase should be when paying a sitter to watch and entertain more than one child, but it's suggested that parents pay $1-$2 more per child, per hour, at the very least. This will also look different depending on where you live. For example:
- A family in San Antonio has two children. The average rate is $12.70, so with the additional child, the hourly rate would be $13.70-$14.70.
- A family in Philadelphia has three children. The average rate is about $15.50, so with the additional two children, the hourly rate would be $17.50-$19.50.
- A family in Washington has four children. The average rate is $20, so with the additional three children, the hourly rate would be $23.00-$26.00.
Age Matters When Determining Babysitting Rates
The babysitting business can be a cutthroat place to navigate as both a parent and a sitter. It doesn't help that there's no set price because no two babysitting situations are the same. One of the first factors that impact babysitting rates is age - both the babysitter's and the kid's.
Babysitter Ages and Rates
Your babysitter's age may matter less than other factors when it comes to their pay rates. That said, there are some general guidelines to consider when determining payment and your sitter's age. You can choose to hire young teens to care for your brood, and you might be able to pay them less. That doesn't mean you can shaft them just because they might be living with mom and dad. If your sitter works for your family full-time, paying them a fair amount for the services they provide you is especially important. You'll also want to pay a seasoned sitter with years of experience more than a sitter who is just starting out, and the rates they give you should reflect that.
Naturally, older sitters are going to have more experience and they can charge closer to nanny rates for watching your kids. That's because they come with the same hours of experience and often the same qualifications that professional nannies do. Meanwhile, teenagers will likely ask for lower wages ($15-$20).
Children's Ages and Rates
Consider what you're asking your babysitter to do while caring for your kids. Are you asking them to play video games and ride bikes with your ten-year-old and then hang out in the living room as the kid heads upstairs and does their homework? Or are you asking them to change diapers, make formula, pay attention to infant safety considerations and hold the baby for half of the day (maybe while watching and playing with other kids in the family)?
Generally, you should pay your babysitter more if the kids in the family are very young. Little ones require lots of energy and attention, and your sitter should be compensated accordingly.
What About the Days of the Week?
Something else to consider when paying for a sitter or negotiating a price with a parent is the actual days you're going to work. Keep in mind that babysitters are people too, and their free time typically falls into the days and times of the week that people need their kids watched. This is especially true for sitters who are still in school or work a 9-to-5 and are sitting on the side.
Naturally, weekends are a more competitive time for finding a sitter, so you should be prepared to pay a little extra. A good weekend rate for a single child is about $25-$30 per hour, while $20 per hour is a good number for watching a single child during weekday evenings.
Do You Pay for Drive Time?
Parents don't often think about their babysitter's commute, but perhaps they should pay attention to a sitter's drive time. If your childcare provider is commuting to your home several times a week, you may want to factor in how much they spend on gas. You don't have to pay for all of their gas expenses, but you might want to consider covering some of it. Remember, if you have found the holy grail of babysitters, and they just so happen to live 45 minutes away, you may want to do everything in your power to keep them coming back.
Things Every Parent Should Consider When Paying a Babysitter
Once you've scored your dream babysitter, determined the average rate of pay per hour in your area, and considered the number of kids your sitter'll be watching and for how long, you'll want to turn your attention to other factors that might influence the pay rate. Parents will want to increase the amount of money they pay their childcare provider for any other service requested. If you need any of the following services performed by your sitter, add extra dollars to the total.
Is Your Sitter Also Your Kids' Uber Driver?
How much driving do you require your sitter to do in a day? Are they responsible for taking kids to and from school, playdates, and sports? Do you ask that they spend weekends or summer days traveling to museums, beaches, and parks? If you find yourself answering yes to many of these questions, then you'll want to think about tacking a dollar or two an hour onto the sitter's hourly rate, or offer to pay for their extra gas bill.
What About Meal Prep?
Suppose your babysitter throws together the occasional peanut butter and jelly sandwich and orders pizza on nights you have to stay at the office late. In that case, it probably isn't necessary to pay them extra (but be sure to pick up that pizza tab)!
Now, suppose you want special or specific meals and snacks prepared throughout the day, or you need your sitter to make dinner that you can come home to and eat with your family. Then yes, in those cases, that should cost you more since they are now doing two jobs while on the clock: caring for kids and cooking multiple meals in a day.
Factor in Pet Care
You don't have to pay your babysitter a whole other salary to pet-sit your pets, but if you have multiple animals that require feeding, grooming, and walking throughout the day, you should pay extra for those services. You can increase the hourly rate or ask your sitter if an additional $10 (or another mutually agreeable amount) added to the daily total would be enough to cover the work they put into your pets.
What you and your sitter decide should reflect the amount of work and time that was put into pet care during the duration of the time spent at your home.
Pay Extra for Household Chores
Don't take advantage of your sitter and ask them to tend to your daily chores unless you're going to compensate them accordingly. There's nothing wrong with letting your sitter take on a few extra jobs around the house if you're willing to pay them and they want to make some extra money. There are a few different ways to approach pay increases here:
- Pay per service. For example - $10 for folding and sorting laundry, $5 for watering the plants, $10 for vacuuming and sweeping floors.
- Bump up the hourly rate. If your sitter is at your home for five hours, and you request they unload the dishwasher, throw a load of laundry in, and vacuum before you come home, increase the hourly rate to reflect the additional work. If you're unsure what to bump it to, think about what you would pay for the services alone, and how much time it would take, and divide that by the number of hours your sitter is working.
- When in doubt, ask the sitter! Get their thoughts on how much more they would charge for the additional services you'd like.
Think About Tutoring Services
If your children are school-aged, they're probably going to be doing homework after school. If you need your sitter to work with them on their studies, think about increasing their pay. A private tutor makes about $25 per hour or more. If your children or child needs intense help with work or specialized attention in their studies, you should also pay the babysitter for the tutoring job.
If kids merely need to be kept on task, occasionally aided and need homework glanced over, you can pay less than what you would pay a tutor, but you should still pay for the help they give your children.
Do You Have Children With Special Needs?
If your child has special needs, consider this factor in your babysitter's daily pay. Are there feeding tubes to tend to, diapering needs, therapy play, or other tasks you need a sitter to perform? If your child is severely allergic to something, you might ask your sitter to undergo anaphylaxis training and pay for the course. Once your babysitter is up to the task and commits to paying very close attention to your child's needs, offer them additional compensation to care for your child.
Increase Pay for Special-Occasion Sitting
Your babysitter probably had plans to go out on New Year's Eve or the Fourth of July, just like you. If they agreed to stay with the kids while you enjoy a day or night out on a holiday, then bump up their pay.
Overnight Babysitting Requires Extra Compensation
You asked your sitter to stay with the kids overnight. Should you pay them for the hours they are sleeping? YES! They're on the clock, ready to attend to any need that arises. They get paid for each hour they're in your home. You can pay them their hourly rate through the night. An example would be, you need them from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next day. You have one child and require no additional services, so you can stick to $15-$20/hour. They would make $180-$240 for the job.
Credentials That Make Sitters More Expensive
Consider what credentials your sitter has. Do they have specializations, certifications, or areas of expertise that make them an extra valuable childcare provider? Do those specifics require more pay? If your sitter's taken the time to load up their resume and is at the top of their game, they are going to be snatched up by someone in the blink of an eye. Pay them for the work they have put into being the best of the best. This might be a few extra dollars per hour for a CPR certification or up to $10/hour for a degree in early childhood development or education.
Some areas of expertise and certifications to look for and pay for might be:
- First Aid Basics
- Infant Safety Courses
- Water Safety Certification
- Child Development or Early Learning Degree
- Foreign language fluent - only applies if you request that they teach your child a second language
Pro Tips for Determining Your Rates as a Babysitter
If you're trying to babysit for the first time and haven't had to think about how much your work is worth, you might be overwhelmed and a little bit scared. That's totally natural; a ton of people babysit for their first job, especially if they want to make some money before they're old enough to be hired by a traditional employer. For first time sitters, we've got an answer to just about every question you can have about the monetary side of babysitting.
- What's a good hourly rate for a first-time sitter? If you're under the age of 18 and babysitting for the very first time, a good starting price for you is $15 an hour for a single child. Don't worry, this isn't a fixed rate. As you get more experience, you can increase your rates accordingly.
- Do I charge extra if I'm watching more than one kid? You should absolutely charge more than your single-child rate if you're watching more than one child. The kid's age really factors into how much more you're going to charge. If the child is younger than 9-10, then you may want to charge up to double your rate. If they're older than 10, you probably only want to charge $1-$2 per hour more because they won't require as much surveillance.
- Do I charge differently for babies/infants as compared to young children? Infants and babies are a ton of work and require a lot of constant attention, especially when they're not your own. If you're babysitting an infant or baby, you can generally charge up to about $25-$30 per hour. This might be steep for some parent's ears, but inflation and minimum wage have substantially increased since they were a kid. Keep in mind that an infant rate, like other babysitting rates, will vary by location.
- Does babysitting overnight change my rates? You should be compensated for every hour you're working, including the overnight ones. So, if you've worked with a family before, then they should know your base rate and pay you the number of hours you're going to be working. Similarly, if it's a new family, you should explain that you work by the hour, not a flat fee.
- When do I ask for payment? We recommend you get at least half of your payment up front, as in, before the parents leave. Not every parent's comfortable giving you the full amount until the job's finished, and that's okay. But, the most important thing to remember is not to leave without getting your money.
An Important Job Requires Appropriate Pay
Watching a child is a time-consuming and difficult job, just like so many others out there, and babysitters should be properly compensated for doing a good job. Of course, since children are people's pride and joy, it can be hard leaving them in other people's hands. But, if you've vetted them and trust their experience, then you should pay them (or get payed) accordingly.
If you're a parent, make sure their payment reflects that you acknowledge their level of commitment, and the gratitude you feel for all the love and time they devote to your family. And if you're a babysitter, set firm and appropriate rates based on your experience and don't accept anything less than them.