Whether you need a trustworthy babysitter for a date night, special occasions, or for long-term work, you are probably wondering, “What is the going rate for babysitting?”
All kinds of babysitters are available for whatever your schedule requires, but what you need from your babysitter can dramatically change your rates.
The national average hourly rate for babysitting in the United States is $18.36 for one child. However, the babysitting rate will change depending on where you live, the number of children you have, your children’s ages, how much experience your babysitter has, and their job responsibilities.
Other various factors affect the babysitter costs you can expect to pay. Choosing the right babysitter is a personal decision, and childcare costs will likely play a factor in your choice. Read on to learn the going rate for babysitting and how various factors can either raise or lower that cost.
What Is the Going Rate for Babysitting?
Before Hiring a Sitter
There are several decisions you need to make before you begin your search for an in-home childcare provider. Taking some time to consider carefully the following questions will make sure that your expectations are clear and that you are prepared to pay your sitter a competitive wage for the services you are requesting.
- Are you planning to hire a teenager or an adult?
- Will the sitter have a set schedule, or are your needs more sporadic?
- Do you need someone to provide childcare early in the morning, late at night, or overnight?
- Are you ok with the sitter keeping your child entertained with baby shows on Netflix, or do you expect activities like Simon Says or hand-clapping games?
- Does your child have any allergies, medical conditions, or special needs?
- Are you looking for someone with advanced training or certification?
- How and when will your sitter be paid?
Knowing what you are looking for will help to avoid any confusion or conflict down the line.
A Babysitter’s Age and Experience Affects Rates
When people think of babysitters, they likely imagine their neighborhood teenager or perhaps a college student. However, there are babysitters of all ages and all experience levels. While many parents may rely on family members to babysit, some caregivers build an entire career out of childcare.
An older babysitter is likely to have more experience with children than a younger teenager. There is nothing wrong with hiring a teenage babysitter, especially if they are friends of the family. However, your particular circumstances might call for highly recommended babysitters with childcare certifications.
Standard sought-after babysitting certifications and credentials include:
- CPR certification
- American Red Cross babysitting certification
- College degrees in the childcare field
Babysitters with special certifications and credentials will charge more per hour due to their education and experience levels. That is the case with any job. More experience leads to more pay as well as higher demand.
Your Location Affects Babysitting Rates
The average rate of $18.36 is not the norm everywhere. You are likely to pay a higher rate if you live in a big city with a higher living cost. On the other hand, those in rural areas will probably pay a lower hourly rate for babysitting services.
- The average cost of a babysitter in New York City is $18.94 per hour—on par with the national average.
- The average cost of a babysitter in San Francisco is $21.17 per hour, making it the most expensive city to hire a babysitter.
- Contrarily, the average hourly rate for babysitters in a town like Little Rock, Arkansas, is just $12.50.
The cost of a babysitter in a state’s small towns is lower. That is because it is common for childcare wages to directly reflect the cost of living in the town.
Surprisingly, Las Vegas has the lowest average babysitting rates. For one child, the hourly rate is $12.53, while two children will cost you about $17.18 per hour.
The Number and Age of Your Children Affect Rates
The rate you can expect to pay will change depending on the number of children you have.
Caring for multiple children is a much bigger job than caring for just one child. In addition, your children's ages will also affect the price. If you have multiple young children, they will require your babysitter to perform more work during their time babysitting.
For example, two twin one-year-olds are going to require more attention and care than one 10-year-old. Any additional duties your babysitter performs, such as diaper changes and baths, will call for extra pay.
While the average hourly babysitting rate is around $18 for one child, additional children will add a few dollars to the hourly rate. The average hourly rate for babysitting two children is $21.23.
If your child has special needs, you should be prepared to pay a higher rate for their care. Depending on your child’s needs, you may want to choose older babysitters or sitters with better certification and education. A typical charge for babysitting special needs children is between $25 and $30 hourly.
Paying Young Babysitters
Many people assume that young babysitters are willing to work for free or work for meager wages. However, it is unfair to pay babysitters low hourly rates regardless of their age. Babysitters who are not immediate siblings should be paid a full rate because child care is an important and complicated job.
Many young babysitters fall into the trap of accepting less pay than they should because they have no experience working. It is easy to agree to a lump sum that equals less than the federal minimum wage. For example, if a babysitter accepts $80 for 12 hours of sitting, they will only be making about $6.67 per hour.
Often, teenage babysitters are saving for important purchases like a car or a college fund. If you know your babysitter is working while going to school, consider paying them enough to make it worthwhile.
Babysitters With Additional Duties Cost More
Babysitters will often take care of your home while they care for your children. However, you and your sitter need to be open and honest about your needs and your babysitter’s capabilities when going over rates and expectations.
- Household chores
- Transportation to and from school
- Picking up groceries or dry-cleaning
Naturally, these extra services will increase a babysitter’s hourly rate. Don't expect a babysitter to go out of their way to take care of additional business without extra pay. Additionally, the most important thing you hire your babysitter to do is take care of your children and ensure their welfare.
Holidays and Hours Affect Babysitting Costs
There is a big difference between a babysitting gig on a Wednesday afternoon and an overnight job on New Year’s Eve. If you have a regular babysitter, prepare to pay them extra for babysitting on a busy holiday. For your babysitter to take a holiday job, they will have to sacrifice their plans, so their pay should reflect that.
High-paying holidays include:
- New Year’s Eve: Parents may be going to a New Year’s Eve party that lasts until morning.
- Valentine’s Day: On Valentine’s Day, parents may be planning a nice dinner or even an overnight stay at a romantic getaway.
- Christmas break: Babysitting on Christmas is rare because families are typically together. However, parents need time alone to shop for Christmas gifts out of their childrens’ sight. Additionally, children get long Christmas breaks from school, and parents usually have to return to work well before Christmas break is over.
All of these holidays call for higher babysitting rates. During the Christmas season, bonuses, large tips, and even gifts are also common.
Overnight Babysitting Jobs Cost More
Plenty of parents work jobs that do not subscribe to the conventional 9 to 5 schedule. Single parents often work more than one job, and that requires them to be gone long hours.
When this is the case, babysitters who step in will usually charge more per hour. Other types of jobs offer higher pay during overnight shifts due to the difficulty of maintaining the schedule. Babysitting is no different.
Last Minute Babysitting Jobs Cost More
Similar to holiday jobs, last-minute babysitting jobs also cost more. Everyone experiences sudden changes of plans, so it is natural to need a last-minute babysitter every once in a while. However, your babysitter may need to cancel plans to take on a last-minute job.
If you have a regular babysitter, you can add a last-minute bonus to their usual hourly pay. Not only is it considerate of your babysitter, but it will also incentivize your babysitter to take on a job they would not typically work.
Job Frequency Affects Babysitting Rates
A one-time babysitter will have a different rate than a regular babysitter. When you hire a babysitter for a standing, steady job, you should anticipate paying them more than you would pay a stranger or a babysitter you hire one time.
Paying your regular babysitter a livable wage introduces rapport and mutual respect between you and the regular caregiver of your children.
Babysitter, Nanny, or Daycare?
If you require regular childcare, there are different types you can choose from. Babysitters, nannies, and daycares are all different. All three of these services are in the childcare field. However, you should expect to pay different amounts for each of these as they all offer a different level of involvement.
- Babysitters watch children for parents, usually at the childrens’ house, when the parent requires temporary childcare. These jobs are usually part-time verbal agreements, and contracts are casual.
- Nannies are far more involved in childcare duties than babysitters. Nannies are full-time, usually salaried, permanent employees. Sometimes nannies live in the children's home, and their responsibilities span all hours of the day. Nannies also help with childhood development and household operations.
- Daycares are businesses. Daycares usually charge parents a monthly fee to drop their pre-school-aged kids off on weekdays during work hours.
Daycares and nannies cost more than babysitters. That is because they provide more services.
The average nanny salary in 2021 is about $40,000, or $19 per hour. While this is not much higher than babysitting wages, full-time nannies also work long hours and are eligible for benefits. Daycare costs in 2021 average about $1,000 per month. Daycares usually charge their monthly fee regardless of whether your children miss a day or two.
Depending on your financial situation and childcare needs, babysitting is often a great choice for parents who need short-term help while away from home.
While babysitting rates are much higher now than in previous decades, babysitters provide an essential service. Today, babysitters have several forums to advertise their services. That gives parents a greater chance of finding the perfect babysitter for their needs.
Lauren Tingley is a formerly stressed-out, working teacher-mom of two who tried to "do it all" and ended up losing herself in the process. Determined to find joy in modern motherhood she discovered simplifying was the answer. A certified parenting and homemaking coach, she shares her tips for fun family activities, minimalist homemaking, and simple parenting advice on Simply Well Balanced (https://simply-well-balanced.com/) for families looking to create more balance in their homes. Lauren's ideas and advice have been shared by Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, and Women's First. Read more about me! Or follow me on Pinterest or Instagram