Mrs. Spritle has a 12 year old neighbor girl come over once a week for half an hour to “help out” with The Littlest Doper[sup]TM[/sup]. Basically, she comes over and plays with him so mommy can clean up a bit, start some laundry, unload the dishwasher, whatever. You know, the things that you just can’t do when you have a 1 year old in the house. (I’m still at work during this time or I’d help.)
At any rate, Mrs. Spritle, being the generous person she is, wants to pay this neighbor girl for her time, perhaps more a token than “payment for services rendered”. What is a good going rate for such a thing? She’s not really a baby-sitter per se though she is responsible for TLD’s well being during that half hour.
We live in a small-ish town outside of Washington DC (not quite a suburb) and the area is strictly middle class, semi-professional.
I saw the title and thought this was going to be about Valium.
My son goes to a sitter after school, and I pay $5.25 an hour (Cdn) for this. I would give the neighbour something of around this value - if you buy matinee tickets for the movies, wouldn’t that be less expensive? We pay about half price for matinees.
I was thinking maybe one or two a month as a thank you. One or two movies a month is a lot for a 12 year old. Also, I’d definitely check with her parents because they will be the ones who have to take her to the movie and they might appreciate the warning. I think that you may be able to get the tickets at a reduced price from the theatre. My sister can get them for $5 each. I think she might get them through some special program at work though.
I do think some kind of compensation is in order. Whether that takes the form of cash or some other thank you gift is really up to you. Again, talking to her parents may be a great way to decide.
If it’s only 30 minutes once a week I would say give her some form of compensation once a month. One month you could give her a pair of movie tickets and maybe a $10 gift certificate to the mall the next month. There’s gift certificates for pretty much any store these days. You may even want to give her gift certificates she can redeem online! But definitely check with the parents first no matter what you decide to give her.
I wanted to hire someone like this last summer, and I had figured on paying $3 - $5 an hour. I never got around to recruiting anyone, though.
I live in an expensive town. I have a well-educated babysitter in her 20s who charges $8 per hour. That’s fine, and about the going rate here. It’s far too much for a 12 year old who is going to be watching the little one while you’re around.
I had planned on talking with the little girl’s parents, myself, before setting a price. I wanted to make sure they thought the price was fair.
Lemme give some more info (since it’s kinda been brought up by previous posters.) Mrs. Spritle was playing in the front yard w/ TLD when neighbor mom came over with neighbor girl. After a bit of kibbutzing, Mrs. Spritle invited neighbor girl over “anytime” to play w/ TLD. Mom was right there.
The conv. later turned to how little Mrs. Spritle can get done w/ TLD moving all around and wanting attention after daycare. Neighbor mom offered to send neighbor girl over Monday afternoon (the conv. was on a Thursday) for half an hour. No talk of compensation was made. Further, it wasn’t explicitly discussed that Mrs. Spritle would use that time to get stuff done, it was sort of a “play date” with a bit of understanding that neighbor girl would have alone time with TLD (in terms of responsibility). Neighbor mom knew that neighbor girl would be giving Mrs. Spritle the opportunity to get work done, even though this was not set up as a “job”.
When neighbor girl came over the next Monday, she stayed and played half an hour. Mrs. Spritle told her (after the half hour) that she would pay her for half an hour, but she was welcome to stay as long as she wished. No price negotiations were undertaken with neighbor mom. After neighbor girl left, Mrs. Spritle began wondering if the rate was not commensurate with the “going rate”. I turn to you to get your ideas.
I did not mention what Mrs. Spritle is paying her so as not to bias your responses. I wanted to see if it’s close to what you all figured would be reasonable.
Thanks for your responses. Everyone else just reading this, please feel free to chime in.
This is a classic win/win situation. Congratulations. Ms. Spritle is getting a little assistance so she can get more done, and the kid is getting valuable experience before doing complete babysitting on her own. Yeah, pay her, but I suggest the amount can be pretty low. Maybe $2-3 each time. And I would talk to her mom, just to make sure she understood the spirit in which you were doing it.
Ms. S. is getting something of value, so she should pay something. Also, even a token payment should get the “sitter” to be a little more responsible about how she behaves towards your kid. Hopefully, the 12 y-o won’t be so spoiled and jaded that she will be insulted by a couple of bucks. Meanwhile, she is essebtially getting low-risk training that will help her babysit better in the future. Paying her something also helps her get used to the idea of responsibility, managing her money, etc. However, assuming she is not yet mature enough to be a full baby sitter, and the fact that your wife is there, she does not deserve full babysitting rates.
Ten dollars an hour is higher than what we pay very qualified babysitters here. Mrs. ShibbOleth has on several occasions used various young local girls as a “mother’s little helper”*, and I think she has paid from $2-5 an hour, depending on length of time and how full on she was watching the kids.
Personally I wouldn’t pay much more than that, this would set unreasonable expectations with the helper on what the real world holds in terms of work v rewards/compensation. If you can afford more and want to spend more, then I would recommend to give the girl nice gifts that might interest her, like books or something else nice of a higher value. The movie tickets idea sounds like a good one, too, if it’s okay with her mother.
We took one girl who comes by to play with the kids to Kings Island (similar to Kings Dominion) with us this summer, and paid for all of her food and drinks. She helped watch the kids a bit during this, but it was more a reward for all of the times she had stopped by to play with/watch the kids. She also does babysit for us occasionally, and when it is just her with our children we pay the going babysitting rate, $6-8/hour. She understands that this is a different situation which entails more responsibility and that is why she is better rewarded at those times.
I’d be interested to know how the 12-year-old feels about committing her time on a regular basis. Though a component of the rate you select should be linked to the degree of responsibility undertaken, primarily you’re paying for the time she spends and especially her agreement to reserve time. Having been volunteered by her mother kind of leaves the child’s motivations unclear.
We pay nothing for childcare. Grandparents fight each other for the opportunities. Nyah nyah.
My kids (9 and 11) both love toddlers and have done this sort of duty for neighbors for free when it was casual. But once a regular schedule is set up I think it would be reasonable to expect a dollar or two. Not much more.