Tuesday, September 19, 2006

what i pay for babysitting

For 3 kids, ages 7 &1/2, 5 (next week), and 2 & 1/2:

~ $4 for the first hour
~ $3 for each hour following
~ +$1 if I asked last-minute
~ -$1 if I walk in and smell a diaper that needs to be changed

27 comments:

LuckyRedHen said...

$1.50/hr per kid is my general rate because I have 2 pretty-much-for-the-most-part-well-mannered kids.

Once we found the lid to the peanut butter jar on the counter; no jar in sight. A few days roll by - still no lid. Call the "boy" babysitter (Jack likes those because they play video games with him and Piper loves boys anyway so it works out well)... "We found the peanut butter lid but we can't find the JAR. Do you know where it could be?"

Boy answers, "Yes, it's behind the rooster in the dining room."

For those of you who've been in my house you KNOW of my giant 42" wooden rooster in the dining room. Why the babysitter PUT the jar sans lid BEHIND said rooster is beyond us. Apparently beyond him too because, when asked, he couldn't remember why he put it there.

sue-donym said...

I deduct according to the amount of time it takes me to get the house back to how it looked when I left.

Tori :) said...

I pay about $4-$5 an hour, depending on who's babysitting for us, for 5 kids. 3 of the 5 can fend for themselves (11,9 & 7) so really I'm paying for my 3 yo and 7 month old. That's why we don't go out much. Too many freakin' kids. ;)

Anonymous said...

So I guess my paying $7-$10 hour depending on how many and whats happening....is too much?? I always get a babysitter!!

AzĂșcar said...

That has to be Tiff.

I usually pay 3/hr for one kid, extra if it's last minute. I am going to have to find someone on a regular/daily basis during the new year (I figure I'll probably have to pay more.)

tiff-fay-fay said...

That's totally not me azu-freak. i pay $5/hour, but only to one particular babysitter because my husband is a freak about who watches our kids so we don't get out a lot either. (NOTE to AZU: Nanny isn't counted as babysitter.)

AzĂșcar said...

I knew there was a name for that...

La Yen said...

I just give them a 10. Because Jooj is always asleep when they get there and all they do is play X box and watch TV and eat my food.

Tara said...

This is an interesting post because I have wondered what the going rate is, and when I ask the babysitter what they charge they just say "whatever." We rarely pay for babysitters - just switch off with other couple friends or get my single 26-year-old girlfriend to babysit if she's around. When I have paid a babysitter, I paid them $5/hr. I think I will keep it the same even after I have #3.

cabesh said...

In Utah I paid $5/hr. for my 2 angel children, and I usually rounded up for short sits. I figure if I paid them more for a few hours, then, if we had to be gone for 8+ hours I could pay them a little less so that it wouldn't break the bank (I would tell the girls this when they would protest my $10 payment for 1.5 hours of sitting. They seemed okay with it).

We had a YW from the ward two weeks ago and when I asked what she charged she said $7-$7.50/hr (this was in the car, after I had already told her that we'd put Crossley down before we'd leave). That's right, $7/hr. for my super easy 3-year old. I don't think we'll have her again...... The sitter cost more than the dinner we had with friends!

Tell me if I'm wrong, but when I babysat I always told people to pay me what they were comfortable with. This meant that sometimes I didn't get much because they couldn't afford much, but other times I made quite a bit of money (especially because I was one of those who would play with the kids, do the dishes and fold the laundry). But, I just don't feel that parents should have to skip something they really want/need to do because they can't afford a babysitter. Thoughts on this?

Lyle said...

Paying baby-sitters has always been a tough one. Last time we had regular baby-sitting I think we were paying $4/hr. for three kids. I am always torn because once a kid gets to be 3 or so, they usually don't need a lot of supervison, especially if they have older siblings. Like right now, our two year old is the only one we worry about. We've been lucky enough to just barely make arrangements to swap babby- sitting with another couple.

We are so close to not needing a baby-sitter any more...so close I can smell it. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

beans said...

I think ~j should also pay a little extra to her sitter for being her secretary AND ANSWERING HER CELL PHONE when I call. This little voice answered and I started talking to her because I thought she was Rae!!!

For those of you that don't know, I just moved to Florida and they pay OUTRAGEOUS amounts of money for sitters here. I only know this because a girl at work was saying that when she babysat, the least amount of money she got from a Saturday night, was $70 for 2 kids!!!

I watched a set of triplets once for 18 days while their parents (Dad's a successful MD and they have an AMAZING house) took off for Hawaii. 7 yo triplets. 18 days. I was 19. They paid me in a big lump sum when they got back... WOO HOO!!! $540!!! Yeah... do the math... 540 divided by 18 days, divided by 3 kids... 10 bucks A DAY... PER KID. My duties included making dinner, helping and checking homework, getting them on and off the bus as well as bathing them. And on most nights, sharing a bed with them because of bad dreams.

I would have more input on what to pay if I had children. I'll let you know when that happens.

Kayla said...

My sitter is raking it in. We give her $9 an hour for two kids, but she is the only LDS youth in our town so I gotta keep her happy.

Emily said...

In Phoenix, I think $5-6 per hour is expected and fair, regardless of number of kids. I always round up to the nearest 5. If you're not Mormon in Phoenix, then you probably pay more in the range of 7-10. Mormons always pay less, for whatever reason.

Cardine said...

Prior to moving to Utah, I made $6 an hour for one or two kids (if there were three, they usually gave me more). Of course, this was in the 80's. The sitting jobs usually went from Friday or Saturday around 7 p.m. to about 3 a.m., so for a lot of the time, the kids were sleeping, and I just had to find something good on TV.

When I moved to Utah, the pay went to half as much $, twice the number of kids, and at weird hours during the week. I stopped babysitting.

~j. said...

Holy Crow! This was a complete last-spur-of-the-moment post, for lack of better anything-to-come-up-with, and look at the response!


luckyred - Always check the rooster first. If I babysat for you, I'd hide all sorts of things over there.

sue - I'm happy to report that I have added $ for a sparkly kitchen, though I usually give instruction to just leave it alone.

Tori - I think that's good, and when the older ones fend for themselves, they can also be a huge help to the sitter in regards to letting them know where things are, etc.., so says me.

azucar - Is that because of the new semester's schedule?

tiff - Yeeeeaaaahhh...I'm a bit picky, as well. My sitters tend to get weeded out according to their behaviour, but I won't go into that too much since one of the girls I haven't asked to babysit in almost a year reads my blog.

yen - Good point. You've got an early, deep sleeper. I'll babysit for you.

tara - Excellent point about the 26-year-old: Some of my best sitters are a few college girls I know. They're not too cool to play with my kids (laurels), they don't spend all night on the phone or watching MTV (mia maids) and they don't freak out (beehives) at little things that are normal kid behaviour.

cabesh - YES. I was the dish-washer, the laundry-folder, the bather, the clean-er-upper, you name it. And when I was paid I was grateful* for what I could get. I was confident that I had done my best to make the kids my priority for the night, and second to that was that the parents would be able to relax upon arriving home. I don't know what I would do being faced with someone who asked for (demanded after hiring?) a "rate" which didn't coincide with my budget. We already don't go out very much largely because of the expense of a babysitter. Though I realize that I might not pay as much as some, I know that I do pay more than some others, and if I had the means, I'd pay much, much more...and get to go out with my husband more than a few times a year. I do know one thing: when my daughters are old enough to babysit, I will insist that they not be paid when they are sitting for parents who are gone because they are fulfilling their church responsibilities. (Yes, I've paid for when I've been at the temple, at mutual, and visiting teaching.)

* - I exclude the time I babysat (3 kids) on New Year's Eve, The Great Money-Maker Of All Nights Of Babysitting, from about 5:pm until 2:45 or 3:am, and received TEN DOLLARS.

lyle - You have a 3 year-old that doesn't require much supervision? Cool. Swapping sitting nights with other couples is a great way to go, if you can find the right couple -- that's striking gold right there.

tia - I do agree with cabesh that if the time is longer, you could cut back on the hourly. You took on, and did, a lot of work when they were on that trip, that's for sure.

kayla - Is she in high-demand? That's a great rate for a sitter to get.

emily - I don't know why the mormons pay less...more bang for their buck?

cardine - Again with the Utah thing...I wonder why that is. I don't want to be 'the cheap lady', truly I don't. But I'm torn since this is for THE CARE OF MY CHILDREN, and I should be paying top-dollar, right?

Sheesh, what a fun game.

Kiki said...

I have a nasty spot in my heart for babysitting because when I was a young woman, these people at church always asked me to babysit. I would be there for at least 3 hours every time. I usually had to make dinner for the kids (2 of them: 7 and 4) and put up with their hyperactive behavior. Seriously, one of them threw stuff all over the place AND HE WAS SEVEN! AND HE SCREAMED AND YELLED, OMG, THE NIGHTMARES ARE COMING BACK! I cleaned the kitchen and tidied the living room. And all I got was a tenner. EVERY! TIME! The house was always CLEANER THAN WHEN THEY'D LEFT and that EFFING SEVEN-Y.O.! GAH! I covenant that if and when I finally do have children and I have to have a babysitter, I will pay HANDSOMELY because I HATED IT SO MUCH!

On the plus side, I had to watch this pair of sibs (11 and 12) once a week when their parents went to BINGO. They just wanted someone a little older to stay late at night with the kids. I did my usual tidying, but it was a breeze. And when they won, which was often, I got an AWESOME surprise of $30 when they got home.

So...huh...I think I just figured out the source problem to why I love teens and don't love children.

Geo said...

What I want to know is what's a fair rate for a grannysitter?

Mary Beth said...

this is all really hilarious and quite entertaining.

In case anyone is intersted:

There was a segment on babysitters on the Today Show a couple weeks ago. The website gave this link to a rate calculator by location. There's also this article about what people are paying babysitters around the country.

All I've got to say is thank heavens that for whatever reason, Mormons are expected to pay less. I paid 8/hr last weekend here in New Jersey for our three kids and felt like I was being extra generous because my kids adore her.

The going rate in Manhattan is $15/hr. Why would anyone ever work at McDonalds?

http://www.sittercity.com/index.php?pid=rate_calculator

http://parenting.ivillage.com/gs/gsbabysitting/0,,8dtn591r,00.html

Emmie said...

I was amazed at how much money I could make as a babysitter in Manhattan, sitting for wealthy Mormon couples. At one point, I considered quitting my job and just working the babysitting angle. Sometimes it made me sad, though - a lot of the children had nannies during the day and sitters most nights.

Tricia said...

Hi Mary Beth! I don't miss paying sitters in NJ (but I do miss you!). Thankfully, we have a message board in our development here in NC where the (non-member) girls who want to sit post how much they want to be paid. Sorta takes the guesswork out of it. Generally, they want $5 a kid plus $1 an hour extra per extra kid...which is $7 for me right now since I haven't left the 7 week old home YET. I really hate jipping off the YW just because I know they will do it for cheaper, so I don't.

lisa v. clark said...

Because I'm so often in need of a babysitter, and pay for it most often, I am totally serious when I say that I am raising my children to be babysitters. I am going to teach my boys, especially, to play with the kids, make dinner, clean up, put kids to bed, tidy up, and I will send them out here and there--a couple times a month-- free of charge, to a family who I think is worthy of their service. This is something I wish were done for me, so that's what I'm going to do. (I have one sister-in-law who has done it and it literally saved my life!)

Bek said...

Here in SF the cheap-skate rate for the 13 year olds that you have to pick up AND drop off is 10$. Typical rate is 15$. My sister who lives with me (she is 30) babysits here all the time and gets 25$ for awake hours and 20$ for sleeping hours. This is just what people pay. I would babysit in a minute if I could. I rarely use babysitters because I can't affoard it...but I LOATHE watching others kids to exchange for watching mine. I want my time to be my own.. What is a girl to do?

I think that a 14 year old shouldn't be making DOUBLE what they make at McD's. ALthough, most fast food places here pay 11$ an hour, so it is about the same...

GRrrrrrr.

Cardine said...

Ohheckno. Please don't make your children go sit for others for free. Please let them have their own agency.

Melanie said...

Thank you Mary Beth for the website. I thought it was helpful and certainly put my mind at ease for how much we are paying out here in New England. EVERYTHING costs more here (well not as much as it does in San Fran obviously)...but it sure is beautiful.

lisa v. clark said...

Ohheckyes! I will teach my kids to serve other people (what goes around comes around). I won't abuse it, and I won't force them, but I certainly will model the behavior and encourage them to do it (like getting out of chores at home), just like I'll encourage them to shovel walks and mow lawns here and there--without worrying about what you get--for others because that's just what you do in a community.

~j. said...

kiki - I'm all about helping people come to realizations. tee hee. I can't believe...nay, I TOTALLY believe that a couple did that to (take advantage of) a good babysitter.

geo - excellent question. I'd say...more than is being paid.

mary - great links...except I found out I'm supposed to be paying $7-$8.50. oops.

emmie - That's a really sad situation. That angle (my friends who had nannies, etc.) always made me mad at money, if that makes any sense.

lvc - those are great things to teach them, and what a wonderful way to incorporate service ESPECIALLY for those who, literally, DO NOT go out because of an inability to pay someone to watch their kids -- I've felt that, and it's not a pretty place to be in.

(I don't think I used the word literally in the correct context there, but so what.)

bek - YIKES. I like your comparison to the McDonald's salary. I hope the sitters are of high quality.

cardine - I'm not sure if you were talking to lvc (teaching her boys and sending 'em out there) or me (insisting that my girls not get paid for when others are doing church stuff). But I'm going to stick with my plan. Lots of the YW in our ward babysit for free when they're working on Personal Progress goals, and that's (presumably) to teach how rewarding service can be, so why would it be different if the reason is that there's a parent or couple that can only afford a dollar movie & a burger and don't go because they don't have $12/hour for their 5 kids? I think it's a good idea. Like Lisa said, not forcing them or abusing it, but what a great thing for a kid to do, and for a parent to receive.

Another thought, as cabesh mentioned, there are girls in this ward (where cabesh used to live) who actually protest if they think you've given them too much money. This is as foreign to me as asking for a wage (as a sitter). I guess, when I was a sitter, I always assumed that the parents would pay: what they could, and what they thought was fair. (except for that one time, which i mentioned earlier.) Not knowing that I was going to get $X, it made me realize that I liked babysitting because I liked kids, I liked learning about kids, and I liked learning (as much as is possible being a sitter/nanny) what parenting involves. Not everyone has that experience. And when sitters are asked, they don't HAVE to say yes, and shouldn't if it means they're going to be bitter because they don't like the kids or biased because they know the parents don't pay well, or are going to take advantage of their services.

Just a few random thoughts...

Also, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who commented, and: THANKS FOR NOT USING THE WORD TEND. I don't get that one. It always throws me off.