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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Babysitting Fees

When I was a teenager, for babysitting I think I got paid $2 an hour for the first kid and an additional 50 cents for each kid after that. I did not babysit very often for the fact that I had younger brothers and sister. I watched them all the time and did not want to watch other peoples brothers/sisters. I just didn't really care for other peoples kids. Terrible, I know, but the truth.

Now that I am the mother of 3 and my husband has an awesome job that he loves and we can now afford more than the bare essentials, we go out on dates. It's so fun to have an adult conversation at dinner and not have to argue with someone about eating their veggies or leaving their sister alone. Dates are awesome.

But when you go on a date and don't have a built-in-babysitter, you have the dilemma of who will watch your kids, how long you will be gone, and the bigger debate/issue how much do you pay a babysitter?

By definition a babysitter is a 12-18 year old girl. (nothing against boys, but girls seems to enjoy babysitting more)

What makes one babysitter better than another? For me, it's the simple fact of how much my kids liked them.

Just recently I have had two different babysitters.

Babysitter #1 played the Wii with the kids, watched Aladdin with them and then put them to bed. My little man had a hard time going to sleep with her here, but she did eventually get him to fall asleep. She was cleaning out my dishwasher when I got home and the toys were all put away.

Babysitter #2 drew pictures with my kids, played games with them, and tucked them in bed. No problems with any of the kids. She was chillin on my couch when we got home. The dishwasher was already emptied out and the dirty ones loaded in it. And the living room clean.

I also have another option when it comes to babysitting. I do a trade with a friend. We switch watching each other's kids during the week. We usually do this once a month or so. The bummer to doing a babysitting switch is your kids aren't in bed when you get home and your dishwasher is not empty nor is your living room clean. Everything is the way it was when you took your kids over to her house. But when you trade, no babysitting fees. So it has it's perks, for sure!

Yesterday on the Facebook status of a friend of mine, was this..."I fear I will go broke paying for babysitters--and we haven't even gotten to do anything FUN when we HAVE paid someone. BOOO.....p.s. when did the going rate go from $2 to $10!"

I would have to agree, when did the going rate go from $2 to $10? These 12-18 year old girls are making more than minimum wage. That's amazing! Plus, for half, if not more, of the time, my kids are in bed asleep and they're just watching the tv and making sure the kids are safe.

But, I do know that these girls are watching my sweet kids and their safety is number one in my book, but really $10 is quite a bit of money. After being with your kids for 4-5 hours they've made $50? That's crazy!

So what do I pay a babysitter? The two times we have had a babysitter, I have paid them both $40 for about 5 hours of "work". So let's do the simple math (because that's the only kind of math I do) $40 divided by 5 hours equals $8/hour. Still above minimum wage. My kids had a good time and the sitters have told me how much fun they had and that they would do it again.

Oswald thinks that $10/hour is outrageous, too and one of the comments on that Facebook post was how the wife paid one rate and the husband paid another. I wonder how the man can get away with that. Interesting.

Another comment was how the couple pays $20 and that's it because that's what they're comfortable paying.

Another was that he daughter watches their kids and that's the best. You don't have to pay her anything. That's what I am excited for, the day when My Buddy can watch the kids and I don't have to pay a sitter.

What do you think? How much do you pay a babysitter to watch your kids? What were you paid as a kid to babysit and do you think the price now is outrageous? What will our kids be paid when it's their turn to babysit, $20/hour? I want that gig!


  1. If I had difficult kids, I would think to pay more, no prob. But truly, my kids are the EASIEST kids ever--even though there are 4 of them. They get along well, play together, and if you even smile at them they are your best friend! So to hear that it was potentially $10 an hour made me about CROAK! When I was babysitting, I had a whole kit I brought with me, full of fun projects to do with the kids. I always cleaned up after the kids went to bed--did dishes, cleaned the living room, etc. I made sure the house was ALWAYS better after I left than it was when I came. So it is BAFFLING to me that when we finally broke down and paid someone to come watch the kids (so we could get some furniture moved...not even for a date!) the first thing she asked was if the kids could watch TV. UH...ok.
    Don't get me wrong. SHe was nice and good with the kids, but again, MY KIDS WOULD BE GOOD FOR JUST ABOUT ANYONE! :)
    I ended up paying $15 for about 2 1/2 hours--mainly because that's all I had on hand. But quite frankly I don't feel it's worth my money to pay someone more! (especially when she was EXCITED to get a babysitting job because it got her out of the house! lol) She's making at least (if not more) than minimum wage, for a job that she has FUN doing, avoiding taxes of any kind...on her own schedule! lol.

  2. We pay $10 an hour because we usually hire a college student. If we hired someone younger I would probably pay $8 an hour.

  3. I haven't actually thought about it because we have so much family around. It's nice to be in on the conversation though because you never know when I might need to get someone else.

    I never got paid for babysitting because I always watched my cousins.

  4. I like babysitting swapping. My sitters don't usually put my kids to be for me, and I have never had one that did ANY house work for me! I think my kids probably keep them busy enough. I do wish we were back at the days of paying a few dollars. We usually pay close to $10 hr.

    Babysitter vs. Swapping - that is a hard toss up. It is nice to chit chat with my friends during drop off and pick up... But it is nice to have a babysitter that drives herself and leaves as we get home.

    I think the perfect balance is balancing the two. Then you save some $$$, and still get your house cleaned occasionally.

  5. Rachel--I have good kids too and paying a whole bunch of money while they are sleeping most of the time does seem pretty crazy!
    Natalie--love your idea about doing one rate for a HS student and one rate for a college student!
    Erika--Be grateful you have family who can watch your kids! I had that and took it for granted. Now wishing I still had some family close!!
    Yvette--a balance is key...just finding that balance can be difficult!


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