Some Real Talk on Babysitters and What They Should Be Paid

Let’s get one thing straight here: We’ve all been a babysitter at some point and would’ve appreciated being paid for the work that we did. Babysitting isn’t exactly the easiest job in the world, especially if the kids are wild, demand lots of attention and care, and require special things. So when we become moms and dads and hire babysitters to watch our kids while we work or go out on a date, shouldn’t we be paying them for their work?

This cyclical system of paying a babysitter $20 for an entire evening of babysitting needs to end. They are being YOU while you’re gone and isn’t the care you’re providing your children worth more than $5 an hour? YES. I love the two babysitters I’ve had throughout Fox’s life and I will admit that when I was poor I couldn’t afford to pay them gobs of money – if any. So, I was upfront with them in saying, “I can only afford to pay you $X, is that okay?” Now that I have a salary, and can afford these things, I pay my sitters $10 an hour, minimum.

Some of you are probably reading this thinking, “Well I just don’t think a babysitter is worth that much..” and you’re totally wrong. How many times do we need to have the conversation about moms and how they work a more than full-time job raising their kids and teaching them morals etc – doesn’t that demand a salary? HELL YES IT DOES. In turn, wouldn’t your surrogate deserve the same salary? Yes.

Here are three ways you can approach the conversation about payment with your babysitter:

1. Start the conversation off with the truth about $$$. If you can’t afford to pay your babysitter a fair rate, be up front with them and make sure they’re cool with it.

2. If you can’t afford a babysitter ask a family member. There are (maybe) plenty of family members who are willing to watch your adorable kid(s) while you have some time to yourself.

3. When there’s no family around you ask a neighbor you trust or have befriended. Check with your local church, the preschool your kids go to, and join a local MoPS group. There are tons of safe, free, and super helpful programs out there to help you. Explore your options.

This is a touchy subject – I get it. But as someone who values the care of their kid, do yourself and your babysitter a favor, and pay them a solid wage. If you have your own opinion, disagree, or want to share solid support on this matter leave a comment!

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Sarah is the co-founder of Travel Foodie Mom, The Blonde Spot, and podcast host for Monday Morning Mimosas and Nerd Biscuit (coming soon). She believes life is better when you can embrace and she does just that.

3 thoughts on “Some Real Talk on Babysitters and What They Should Be Paid

  1. We always paid our sitters an hourly rate, even the teenaged neighbor. But…if the going rate for an evening is $20, that’s four hours. It would have been a rare evening when we were gone for all of four hours. So if we paid $5/hour, the person would get only $15 or maybe even $10.

    As a practical matter, we paid minimum wage, which in my state is now up around $10. So that would be $40 for a four-hour night on the town. My husband was a corporate lawyer, so we could afford that. But…if I’d been a single mom or married to a person earning the median wage, I don’t think we could have afforded $40 on top of, say, dinner and tickets for a hockey game.

    But the principle remains the same: two hours at minimum wage is only $20, far short of (say) a $40 flat rate. It’s not that one doesn’t think a sitter is worth the money — in fact, a good sitter is worth far more than any amount you or I could afford, unless you’re Donald Trump. It’s that there’s a limit to what you can pay on top of what dinner and a concert or a game costs. And no…some of us would prefer not to impose on relatives and neighbors.

    In the hippy-dippy era, we used to organize groups of women who were willing to trade time and babysitting services. Each woman would agree to serve XX number of hours per week or per month. So you would babysit Jeanine’s kids for three hours, and another time Jeanine — or Anne, or Kimberly, or whoever was available — would take yours. The time would get traded around, so that (in theory) over time the work would be shared fairly.

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    1. Totally agree on some points. I am a single mom and only go out when I can afford that sitter, or organize a trade with another friend who has kids. A lot of what was “back in the day” is still done today, and is something in option three that is absolutely doable.

      I don’t like to impose on my family or extended relatives either, when I do, it’s a rare case. Knowing that there are other options though is important, and hey – kids going over to Grandma and Grandpa’s or their Aunt and Uncle’s for a few hours one night (or even spend the night) is something they will love and appreciate. It’s been proven that older family members who interact and babysit at least once per week, prevent signs of aging and increase memory.

      I could go on about the benefits of kids spending time with family outside of visits, but I think you see the point here :).

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