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How much should you pay a babysitter?

I was recently reading a Dave Ramsey article about underpaying your babysitter and I began to think how much should a babysitter be paid. In my teens I babysat for a couple of families in my village. Though not set hourly wage was every given it would work out approximately £5 an hour. which is well above the £3.79 that is the legal minimum wage for under 18s. However, I stopped babysitting in my teens when I realised I could earn a lot more waitressing (£7.50 p/hr), its important that wages for babysitting remain competitive but it can be hard to know what to pay. 

I don't think there is a clear amount that you should pay and there are a lot of factors to include.

1. How much of the time will the children be asleep and how much was spent playing with the children? If they were asleep the majority of the time (or if you put them to bed before she got there) then the pay should be less than if they spent a few hours playing with the children. 

2. How old are the children and how many are there? The more children and the more younger children the more the pay should be this is because more children are more work and younger children require more attention and supervision. 

3. What is the age and experience of the babysitter? A young teenager should be paid less than an qualified nanny. But don't just use age to determine, look at experience and how long they have been babysitting. If they have been babysitting with you for years then they will have gained experience and pay should be raised to reflect this. 

4. Does she cook diner for kids or clean the house? Did she have to pick the children up from school or take them to an extra curricular activities? These are going above and beyond what is normally required and are worth paying £1-2 an hour more, especially if she does these things unasked.

Sadly there is no easy fool proof price to pay. However, I would say to take £5-6 as the starting point and then work through these questions and seeing if they apply to the situation. At the end of the day you children's safety is not worth pinching pennies on. 

Disease Called Debt


  1. The rate of pay was always the worst part of being a sitter and paying one. I never got or paid minimum wage for watching kids while the parents went out. My thought both ways was that they spent most of the evening doing exactly what they'd be doing at home--watching TV. When I paid a teen to watch my kids during the day in the summer, I paid daycare rates. I couldn't afford more, and if the teen had better employment, she would have taken it.

  2. I didn't babysit often as a kid, but when I did I remember the rates being pretty good - around $25-40 a night for the parents to go out. My mom also didn't let me start babysitting until I was in high school for other people's kids. My poor brother was my learning experience/guinea pig.

  3. I believe good baby sitters should be well paid regardless of their age. I did some babysitting for my family and neighbours and I was generously rewarded.

    This encouraged me to give quality time to the children I looked after and my neighbour once told my mum that I was a lot better at looking after kids than the professional child minder she had previously used.

  4. Interesting post Rebecca. For me, a babysitter has to be someone I can trust totally and so I've only ever used registered childminders who I know (I used to be one when my daughter was younger). I've only ever left my daughter a handful of times and each time have paid a minimum of £7 per hour.