Best Babysitter Employers Ever

What do you pay your babysitters? I’m talking the teenaged version, the kind you have in for a few hours on a Saturday night so you and the missus can see a movie, or have dinner at a friend’s house.

It’s very important to me that we be the best babysitter employers ever, because I want all the teenaged girls in a ten-block radius to want desperately to babysit for us. I want to be fending them off with a stick. I want us to be legendary in the babysitting world – those amazing parents who provide easy work (all the kids in bed and asleep by the time you arrive!), leave the best snacks (chips, popcorn, pop, AND candy!), and who have full satellite access to MTV.

We’re always home on time, we never go farther than a few blocks away, and we pay very well.


I did some research when we first ventured into the world of teen babysitters a couple of years ago, and it seemed that $7 per hour was the going rate. So we pay basically that, upping it to $8 per hour if we go past midnight. Plus, I always round up, so if we are out for 4 hours we pay $30 instead of just $28.

Then this week, we got an email from a 16-year-old girl on our street, sent to our street’s distribution list. She advertised her services as a sitter – she’s taken courses and is all legit and everything – for $10 an hour.


Now I’m freaking out. How will we attract the best in child care if we are underpaying our sitters? Do you think this is standard for babysitting these days? Have we been cheaping out all this time? I AM MORTIFIED.

On the other hand, did she mean $10 for more like daycare-type babysitting? During the waking hours, games and entertainments and cooking dinner and diaper changes type babysitting? Our kids are almost always all in bed and asleep by the time the babysitter arrives, and she doesn’t need to do anything except sit on the couch watching The Real World and eating candy. Maybe have the odd listen for the smoke alarm. It seems like a very, very easy job for $10 an hour.

What do you think we should be paying?

25 thoughts on “Best Babysitter Employers Ever

  1. We pay about $10 per hour, but our nieces are the babysitters, so I’m partly paying them for the job they’re doing and partly doing the doting aunt thing and making sure they have money for university tuition (or, more likely, their iTunes addictions).

  2. Oh–and our $10/hour is for waking hours…I can see paying less if the kids are already in bed…though perhaps not if the babysitter is working on a weekend when there’s fun to be had elsewhere. It’s all kinda complicated, eh?

  3. We don’t have a regular sitter (Mark’s parents usually help us out) but we had the same $$$ issue recently. How much to pay?

    We just asked the sitter directly: “what’s your hourly rate?” I think she thought this was awkward (but a good life lesson, don’t you think? She said seven. This was only a few months ago. And so she got seven.

  4. That seems way too high to me. The babysitters I’ve hired and the ones who friends have hired have been about $6 an hour. The ones who are $10 an hour are older people who have had kids of their own and have tons of experience.

    Think of it this way: a home daycare charges approximately $40 a day for a full day of daycare – that’s about 8 hours and their are activities, crafts, outings and meals. I would want A LOT for that $10 an hour.

    1. That’s exactly what I was thinking — that at-home daycare workers get the equivalent of $5 an hour for the full service, so why do teenagers get $10 an hour to sit on my couch? That seems really, really wrong. If I were a daycare provider I’d quit and just take sitting jobs instead.

      On the other hand, we feel we are luring the teen girls away from big parties and boys and evenings at the movies, especially on Saturday nights, which is why we feel we need to pay the big bucks. It’s too complicated!

  5. I have no idea either. If we can’t get a grandparent to watch our girls then we don’t go out. We pay enough for our daily sitter while we’re at work. Paying for an evening sitter just isn’t in the budget. Of course we’re very lucky to live close to all three sets of grandparents and that they are all willing to babysit.

  6. It’s $7 here too with the same round ‘er up philosophy so we can be the best babysitter gig in the 10 block radius. She lives right across the street and I go out of my way to make life easy for her.

    Now we do have a more mature 20-something babysitter who drives over, can use the oven and gives the kids all sorts of attention who we pay $12 or so but that is a different matter.

    Hope that helps. I’m curious to see what everyone says.

  7. We have paid our neighbor’s daughter $10, for a baby now toddler. She doesn’t have any other job, and we believe in paying close to minimum wage, as it isn’t frequent and shows we are treating her with respect and dignity. This truly is the only income she is getting as she often takes care of her siblings for her parents and is in a high demand academic program. We pay her the same rate if the kid is awake or asleep.

    Despite the cable tv, Wii, and snacks in the house she almost always studies, reads and eats healthy food!

    1. Well, you’ve convinced me that we should be paying more. Our sitters also have no other source of income and are nice, responsible girls (although they do prefer MTV to studying).

      Looks like date night just went up in price!

  8. Wow, I replied to you on Twitter before I read this. We pay $7 usually, but have paid $10 for our favourite babysitter. And we always round up. I thought we were being generous, but I guess we have just been paying the going rate.
    Thanks – I’m glad you posted this.

    1. Me too — I thought we were at the high end, but it seems we are paying the basic minimum. Aye aye aye! Time for a raise, I guess.

  9. We usually use my parents too, but we’ve had one teen-ager (who Eve adores) who we found through her brother being on Angus’s baseball team. I think we usually pay around 8, plus rounding up because she’s great with the kids and appreciative and we like her — I have no idea what a ‘going rate’ would be. But our kids are easy and I have been told in the past that we have the best snacks :). Babysitters are few and far between where we live — most of the kids are the same ages as ours — so it tends to be a moot point for the most part.

  10. the girl down the street just passed out some fliers and came by to say hello last week. she just completed her babysitting course and is looking for clients. she lives down the street and her dad is always home. she said her base rate is $5 plus $1 for every extra kid. so we would be golden! here’s the issue. she’s only 10! she is supper nice, quite mature for a 10 yr old but then we thought would we ever leave the bean alone at 10. the answer was no. she came by on the weekend and played with the bean for a couple of hours which gave the hubby and i some time to do stuff around the house. i think maybe we might use her in that capacity over the summer. but that means we need to find a nighttime babysitter. you know, for the once a year that we go out for dinner or a movie!

  11. I asked around a lot before I committed to our sitter. I think $10 is a lot – too much – but I pay it and I’ll tell you why.

    I have THREE kids. The oldest just turned six, the next is four and half and the baby is two. They are a major handful 🙂 She undoubtedly earns her money with us!!

    I do tend to pay less if they are all in bed asleep before she arrives. She seems okay with that. I do pay more if we are later than midnight.

    I sank my teeth into this girl when she was in grade six. I wanted to groom her to be my babysitter b/c she LIVES NEXT DOOR. No driving her home!!!! She started helping me out after school when I had two babies 18 months apart, and built up to watching one kid for an hour or so while I ran to swimming lessons with the other. I thought maybe she would run for the hills when I had the third, but things are PERFECT now.

    She has never said no to us – so she either really wants the money or is loyal to us, or has no life. I doubt that, I’ve seen her with a boyfriend. She is 17 now. She never eats the food I leave out for her, never touches the computer – doesn’t have a cell phone to text her friends all night and leaves the house clean when we get home. And always gives me the “they went to bed no problem” lie every time. I LOVE IT.

    She doesn’t babysit all that often, my MIL is two streets away and will usually do it – but I feel bad calling a 75 year old woman iin when we’re going out late for drinks or something. But my MIL now lives in Vancouver for 4-5 months of the winter, so we did use “our girl” a lot over Christmas and New Years.

    It sounds like we go out a lot, but we really don’t. Only recently since the baby weaned have we started getting out 2-3 times a month.

    So, in conclusion, I still feel $10 is too much but I will continue to pay it 🙂

  12. So glad to read this as we’re about to start hitting the neighbourhood teens up for babysitting services and I was dying to know what the going rate was.

    My parents live nearby and usually look after the little man for us, but I know we can’t take advantage of them forever and don’t want to be stuck when the time comes to hire a sitter from outside the family.

    Thanks for the advice ladies!

  13. We’re pretty lucky in that we rarely pay for a sitter…

    But $10 is minimum wage so why wouldn’t you pay that? Doesn’t seem all that unreasonable to me, specially since you have three young kids.

  14. I didn’t read all the comments, but my jaw dropped open when I read the $10 an hour figure. Why, back in my day, we were happy to get $2 an hour, and when the dinosaur taxi came home to take us back to our cave, up hill both ways in the snow….

    Okay, seriously, I had exactly the same reaction as you — hey, I’m paying $40 per day to a daycare provider, but then I remembered, that’s PER KID. So really, at $10 per hour you’re giving $3.33 an hour per kid. Still high, but no longer quite so outrageous.

    (I’m embarrassed to admit, we’ve never used a sitter. My mom does evening sitting for us. So maybe I really should just shut up!)

  15. Jay

    Oye – We pay $5/hr for the 2 kids. And the babysitter has taken the babysitting course, he’s very responsible and lives close. His Mom is a friend and she’s always home when he watches our kids. I do round up and normally wouldn’t pay him less then $20 for the night though. So sometimes it can be closer to $7. He came over one night and was disappointed the kids were already in bed because he was looking forward to playing with them. Granted – we’re not high demand babysitters either. We’ll use him on occassion, when he’s available but let’s face it – he’s not cleaning my house and making my kids meals! $10 seems like a lot. With more then 2 kids I would pay more but ouch.

  16. We pay way over the going rates. But our sitter is the girl’s preschool teacher and she is a certified ECE. I feel bad giving her $10 so we pay her $15. A lot, yes, but we hardly go out and it is worth it to know they are okay. I wish we had family around to babysit but since that isn’t an option I will pay almost anything for someone I trust.

  17. i put an ad on kijiji with the following requirements:
    18 yrs or older,
    own car,
    references required
    $10 per hour, includes light housekeeping.

    We found 2 amazing gals, and it is so wonderful to not have to worry about driving them home at the end of the night.

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