For the first time in our kids lives, we are actually getting a bona fide 13 year old girl to come over tonight to watch our kids for us while we go to a concert.
We usually use Oma as our offical babysitter. (That would be Grandma for those who are German-impaired.) She’s a wonderful drop in service, but since she is essential a slave to her daughter’s whims and raising my SIL’s three children, we’ve decided to branch out.
I use to be a professional babysitter when I was a teenager. I made more money, under the table, than my friends working at McDonald’s.
However, times have changed since those glory days of easy money.
What is the going rate for sitters?
Any advice to offer?
I have made a big mistake in setting up the time of 8pm tonight to have her come over ( we’ll pick her up and drop her off.) because my kids have never met her and 8pm is essentially their bedtime-sorta-kinda, in a round about way.
Our kids are the energizer bunnies when there is something going on that they don’t want to miss. I am sure they will still be up at midnight when we sneak back into the house, merrily playing, but I digress.
All suggestions will be kept confidential.
My daughter, age 17, sits for the neighbor across the street - watching a 6 y/o boy and a 3 y/o girl, 2 dogs and 2 cats. She gets $5/hour plus a $5 tip most of the time. I don’t know how that compares with rates in other areas.
As for advice, I’m sure you thought of this, but make sure to leave a list with all kinds of emergency numbers. If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, you might mention that you’ll be out and you’ve got a new sitter. And leave good snacks.
How many kids do you have, for one thing? And how old are they?
When I was a teenager I babysat every Monday night (for about 2 years) for this neighbor couple. They had 2 kids. I’d get there about 6:30 or 7, the kids went to bed at 8. They were PERFECT little angels, too, it was a babysitter’s dream. I’d watch TV and do my homework till about 1, when the parents got home (they were into Amway at the time).
I got paid $2 an hour.
Which is screamingly low, but they were so good that it’s like I wasn’t working.
I say it depends on the number of kids you have and how old they are.
If you have 2, I think $6 an hour is fair.
If you have 3, $8 would be appropriate.
See, if you pay this girl well now, you’ll probably have a reliable babysitter for the next 5 years. And if you pay slightly better than any of her other babysitting gigs, she’ll probably prefer to watch your kids if given the choice between you and somebody else on a Saturday night.
When I babysat, in suburban Jersey, watching 3 kid (8, 7, and 6 years old) ran about $15 an hour.
I would also have her come over early and meet the kids for a bit, or allow them to stay up a little later tonight.
My Darling Little Weasels are 5 ( boy) and 3 (girl) and an overweight lab with attention whore issues.
I babysit for about £5 an hour, which is I think the same as seven dollars fifty (no dollar sign on this keyboard!) I don’t do much work, though - the kids are three and one and as I only babysit at night, they’re asleep and perfect angels.
One piece of advice - if the kids are asleep when the babysitter arrives, tell them beforehand that she’s going to be there. The family I babysit for didn’t tell the kids I was going to be there, the three-year-old woke up, saw me and was utterly heartbroken. She had met me before, just never saw me as a babysitter, and cried just because she was startled (and afraid Mummy had abandoned her, as well).
And there’s another piece of advice I thought of - when you leave emergency numbers, make sure one of them is a landline. I once had to get in touch with the parents, and they’d left two mobile numbers which were both out of range. I tried and tried and just couldn’t get in touch with them, so in the end, I had to ring my own parents (who solved the problem, but that’s not really the point).
I’m sure better advice will come along shortly - this is not my area of expertise.
$15 an hour!?
Holy Shit. I used to bring in about $2–$3 an hour, regardless of the number of kids (as long as it was the same family, if two sets of parents pooled up I got about $5 hour). The “good payers” would tip me–one family was great about this if I did a little light housekeeping while I was there. Wash some dishes run the vaccuum and they’d throw in an extra $10. Score!
This was all about 10-12 years ago, mind you. Nowadays, I’m not so sure. I’ve yet to get a sitter for my lil’ guy–like you I use Busha (that’s grandma, for all you Polish-impaired folks :)) on those rare occasions where I actually get my homebody butt out of the house. But whatever you end up paying, I heartily second the recommendation to leave good snacks. Nothing worse than sitting somewhere with nothing to munch on but stale cereal and carrot sticks.
Here in Ann Arbor, where everything costs more than what it costs elsewhere in the state, $8 an hour is a bargain. We pay our babysitter $10 to keep her coming back. But then she’s in her 20s, and can drive herself to our place, and has a college degree in education. The other babysitter we sometimes hire (also a college grad) charges the same.
I’ll bet you can get away with less. You might want to ask her parents what she normally gets paid, telling them that you want to be sure to be fair to her.
Shit. I got 50 cents an hour (and usually a shitty tip). Plus, two babysitter molesters for my trouble. Fuckers. I should quit my job and become a babysitter now! Thems some big bucks!
Yep, for us we put Kate in a home with one of her day care workers.
Costs us about $50-$60 an evening.
I babysat two children on a weekly basis from age 16-18 (they were 3-5 and 4-6 when I babysat them). The kids loved me, and I would get frantic calls at 9pm asking if I could babysit the next morning from 7am-2pm, or on other such ridiculously short notice. I accepted almost every time, drove myself to the house and back (or got rides), and cleaned almost the entire house (the children would make a mess of at least four rooms everytime). I had to deal with being jumped on, scratched up by their cat, fights every five minutes, and having the kids lock themselves in their room and refuse to come out. The parents were frequently late, usually about half an hour. One night they were almost four hours late with no call. On top of all this, especially at nights, I never had any peace. You would think children under 6 would have bedtimes of about 8 or 9 at the latest, right? Nope. These kids would stay up all night. They didn’t have bedtimes. I only made $5 an hour, and what is this…tip…you speak of?
I should also probably mention their flat-out refusal to eat anything good, and the approximately 5 meals they would demand I cook for them (which got frequently wasted). I washed the dishes, too. God, I am so glad I don’t babysit anymore.
NotWithoutRage, I babysat in suburban Jersey too! And the family wasn’t poor, the father was CEO of a confectionary company and had cars, motorcycles, and a small yacht.
My only suggestions come from my own babysitting experiences. I had quite a little business going in in Jr. High and High School – until I got my drivers’ license and got an actual taxpaying job. Back in the mid-80s, when I did this I made $1-2/hour, regardless of how many kids I had to watch. (A great bargain for the Mormon family with FIVE spring-loaded little boys under 10.)
Along with a prepared list of emergency phone numbers, be sure to tell the sitter about any special medical issues going on, especially food allergies. And don’t forget the dog’s, if he has any. I once grabbed a particularly squirmy kid by his arm, he pulled away and his elbow wound up dislocated. When the parents got home, (The only time I ever had to make an emergency call.) the mom informed me that it happened all the time – she popped it back into place, paid me and took me home. Had she warned me ahead of time that sort of thing could happen, I would have grabbed him around the waist or something, instead of his arm.
Another family I sat for would leave me supplies to throw a little pizza party. The kids were maybe 7 and 9 or around those ages somewhere. They’d leave me frozen pizzas, microwave popcorn and some sort of dessert-y treat like cookies or ice cream or something. They’d let me set bed time – so I could make 'em go to bed when I got tired of 'em. I was also allowed to let them read in bed for a half hour before I went back up to turn out the lights. It was great fun for the kids and they loved having me as their babysitter. Even though the parents supplied all the goodies – they never threw the pizza parties. That was a privilege they left for the sitter, hence, ensuring excellent sitter-child rapport. They were a fun family.
We pay $3.50/hour for our excellent 16-yo neighbor girl to come over. That’s for one almost-3-yo. When we leave the baby with her next time, I guess we’ll up it to about $5.
Dogzilla, I wish I had babysat for people like the pizza party family. Instead, I got a couple who believed in the “My children can do no wrong, so you must let them do whatever they want until we get back” school of thought.
We’ve found out her going rate is $5 an hour. So, if she survives the trial by fire tonight with the Ujest Progeny, I’ll give her a tip, too.