Babysitting cost guides

All parents need a break from time to time, and statistics say that 48% of all the US parents occasionally hire babysitters. Sitters, nannies, babysitters – these professionals have different names, yet they all help American parents to get through the day. Whether you have an urgent call from work, want to have a romantic dinner with your better half, or just need someone to help you on a daily basis, a babysitter can do it all. They will ensure that your child is happy, healthy, well-fed, and well-cared for while you’re running errands.

Here you will learn about:

Babysitters are childcare professionals who mostly work on an “as-needed” basis. Don’t mix up sitters and nannies. The latter come to your home regularly, usually on a contract basis, and care for the child within the fixed hours. Babysitters don’t have those fixed hours in most of the cases and are considered to be “urgent nannies”.

Average babysitting cost

The cost you pay for the babysitting services depends on many factors: from the services you expect the sitter to perform to the place you live at. The average babysitter costs vary between $10/hour and $20/hour while most American parents report spending about $15.5/hour. Professionals with excessive training and vast experience may cost as much as $35/hour, while inexperienced neighbors may ask for as little as $9/hour. You are unlikely to face any flat rate charges in this business since most babysitters work on the per-hour basis.

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Cost-related questions

Can my home location change the rate?

Yes. Babysitters in big cities tend to charge more than their colleagues in smaller towns. Most often, you can expect the city vs town rates to differ in about $1.5-$3/hour. Besides that, babysitters can also charge transportation rate if they live far from your home, or you are located in the city suburbs. If they have a car, then you will only pay for the gas cost. In case your babysitter isn’t driving, you might need to drive them home or cover taxi or bus expenses.

If I have more than one child, do I have to pay more?

Babysitters rates are calculated based on the efforts required for a single child care. For every “additional” child in the house, you will pay about $2-$5/hour more. Your children age also has an impact in this case. It is much easier to care for two 10-year-old children than for two newborns. The latter case requires much more expertise and training, so on average newborn babysitters charge 5% more.

Do I need to look for a babysitter with some training and certification?

The statistics say that about 41% of all parents prefer having a babysitter with special education namely an early education degree; about 66% of parents require their sitters to have specific training, such as CPR, first aid, etc. You don’t have to look for these qualities in a sitter, however, professionals pediatricians recommend hiring a qualified childcare expert. If you decide that certification and education are must-haves for you, then add about $2.5-$3.5/hour to the average sitter’s rate.

What services will the sitter perform? And which ones cost additionally?

A standard list of babysitting services includes feeding the kids, entertaining them (playing or reading), and putting them to bed. The rest of the services, such as washing the dishes, cleaning after kids, taking them for a walk or to some entertainment place, teaching children, etc. are additional services that can be charged extra. However, many babysitters include into their charge fresh-air walks or basic teaching, and so you simply get a higher rate from the beginning. If a sitter can help your child with homework, the rate will usually be $1/hour more. However, such additional services are always negotiable and heavily depend on the sitter’s expertise and free will.

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Will urgent services cost more?

All babysitters who are called last minute will charge more than usual for their service. 50% of parents are ready to pay $3-$5/hour more, so you can expect a similar charge in your case.

My child has special needs, how much more will I pay?

Kids with special needs always require more attention and special treatment in terms of care. Some kids are just hyperactive, while others might have alternative physical conditions. The level of special needs defines the amount you pay extra. You can even look for special needs babysitters who have the specific certifications and experiences matching your child’s needs. The hourly rate of special needs babysitters begins at $19/hour.

What other factors may increase the cost of a babysitter?

Experience has a great influence on the hourly rates of babysitters. Teenagers with no experience will cost the least, while mature sitters with extensive experience and certifications will be closer to the highest industry rates.

Besides the experience, the time of day may also increase the cost. As a rule, you will pay less for a babysitter who comes to your home only when your kid is asleep or is about to go to bed. If your babysitter comes in the morning when feeding and a lot of playing is expected, be ready to pay more.

Tips to find a babysitter

Regular babysitter

  1. Ask around first. Call your friends, ask your colleagues and neighbors about the possible contacts they may have. Almost 90% of all parents use personal relations and connections to find a reliable babysitter. This is a beneficial tactic because it instantly reveals any issues that may occur, and also provides positive references for a professional.
  2. Check local agencies and non-profit organizations. Many big cities have non-profits that help families with household needs. Besides that, today there is a large number of agencies that provide qualified and certified sitters and will be happy to sign a long-term contract with you.
  3. Conduct an interview. Once you have several candidates, talk to these people. Some parents prefer phone-calls, others meet only in person. Choose an option that suits your best. During the interview, evaluate your personal attitude towards a person, as well as their professional qualifications.
  4. Meeting of your child with a babysitter. During the first meeting of your kid with a new babysitter consider the level of bond and likeness that your child demonstrates. Since they will spend a lot of time together, some connection should rise between a sitter and a kid. Otherwise, your child will suffer and you will only waste money.

Emergency babysitter

For emergency babysitting services, you are likely to have no time for background checks and friends’ advice. In such cases, you can opt for the apps and online services that provide qualified babysitters for emergency needs. You can find more information and useful resources in our blog article about emergency babysitting services. If you’re hiring a sitter via the app, always verify certification and qualification of this person; this information should be available to you in any app and platform.

Other frequently asked questions

Do babysitters perform housekeeping services?

Housekeeping is not a standard requirement for babysitters. Most individual sitters are flexible and will be willing to help you with some household needs for a raise. However, be ready that if you hire a babysitter at some service or via the app, you will rarely have a possibility to get such help due to their contract restrictions.

How late do babysitters stay?

It always depends on the sitter or the company you are cooperating with. Babysitting businesses will likely to charge you extra for the additional hours at a double rate as an overtime charge while individual sitters will usually stay as long as you need them to. This issue is always negotiable.

Do I need to tip my babysitter?

Tipping for a babysitting service is not obligatory. It is always up to you whether you want to give your sitter a tip or no. Generally, parents leave sitters some tips for late-night stays, or if a sitter helped their kid with the homework and the child received an A at school. You don’t have to leave tips every time, this can be an occasional perk. Besides that, you can also encourage your babysitter by offering them a free meal or a possibility to do their laundry while they are working, for example.

Bottom line

Babysitters are childcare professionals who come to your home for several hours and help you with the kid. They ensure that the child is well-fed, happy and safe while you’re away. Most babysitters charge about $10-$20/hour while the most experienced experts can cost up to $35/hour.

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