Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Babysitter Debate

What do you pay your babysitter? 

A group of moms was discussing this the other night.  There were so many variables that played a part.  Is it a daytime or night time sitter?  How old are they?  How many kids are they watching?  Are they babysitting solo or are they a mommy's helper?  Can they drive?  Do you pay them even if you cancel?

I heard everything from $5/hr for a mommy's helper to $12/hour for a high school or college student. 

It sounds like great money to me but I also thought about the teenage boys that push around the lawnmower for $25.  I understand that it is physical labor (that I don't want to do myself ), but it doesn't require the same amount of attention and skill as a good babysitter. After all, they have to keep a group of kids safe and entertained and that is always exhausting.  I plan to encourage my daughters and son to market themselves as someone that can do both...they'll be rolling in dough that way.

There also is the average at-home daycare provider who I doubt makes $12/hr full-time and gets paid even when you cancel.  Most families couldn't afford to pay this on a full-time basis, so I get it.  I am just pointing out that there isn't much rhyme or reason to the whole thing.  If you want to go on a "date"  in the evening then you have to be willing to pay...period. 

H and I are considering using a new drop-in licensed daycare that has flexible hours, no appointment necessary, well trained staff, structured activities, and charges by the hour.  They are open 90 hours each week including on some evening and weekend hours.  The first child is $8/hr and each other child is $3-4/hour.  They also provide peanut-free meals for a fee and they provide pizza on Friday nights.  I think it would be fun if my friends' kids went at the same time and we could all go out together.  I got a Groupon for a free registration and 2 free hours so I'm going to at least try it out.

Of course, I couldn't afford to do this often but with foster children, the licensed daycare is a blessing.  Otherwise, I have to go through the cost and hassle of getting someone (21 years old or older) approved, or find a respite family (Thank you to those that have in the past!)  that is willing to help with my foster child as well as my biological kids. 

We have traded babysitting with a neighbor before we had JJ.  It worked out great.  I have heard of babysitting co-ops where families trade babysitting at no cost.  Unfortunately, when you have a lot of kids, you may not find others that want to swap with you. 

Seriously, how do you figure out what to pay your babysitters?  How do you find them?

6/2/11 update:  I forgot to give a "shout out" to all of the family and friends that babysit for FREE.  This debate is about when you don't want to abuse the ones to love the most....(Thanks Grandma!)


Anonymous said...

Kathleen Bosse and Sarah Huster....wonderful

annieglan said...

I use my parents and in laws. No cost required. ;) But my cousin pays $15 an hour and she has 2 kids (even if she's home, because she does not want to be disturbed.). Now, that seems like a lot to me, especially because if we need a sitter the kids would already be asleep and they wouldn't have to do anything. I would say $10 an hour for non active babysitting and $15-$20 an hour for active babysitting.

This is my question... My cousin expects the sitter to clean up the mess. Now, I NEVER cleaned up, unless I was really bored. But I always had babysitting jobs. If we hired a sitter, I would not expect them to clean up. Do you?

And ps. if you ever need respite for JJ she is more than welcome to come over. But she would need to come here :/

Krista said...

I would love to use a neighborhood babysitter every now and again but our foster care agency has specific guidelines including the need for the person to be older than 21. Sorry Sarah and Kathleen :(

As for cleaning up, I always did as a babysitter and made a lot less than $15-20/hr. I also would want them to play with my kids, and not text, as my friend says.

I think that there is a premium for night time sitters because they are giving up their weekend night. I think that is why they get paid well when the kids are sleeping.

Thanks for the comments.

Tricia said...

Tough, tough, tough. You know I'm always willing...just have to plan ahead!!

Krista said...

Tricia,remember there are times when I don't want to abuse the ones I love. I'm talking about the times when I want to go out WITH you guys and not have to have grandma drive up to help.

Anonymous said...

I know someone who is over 21 (we won't say how old) and is more than willing to drive up (might take a bit of notice as the drive is 13+ hours). Might even be willing to bring the infamous 'uncle brian' to help. BTW, we won't charge a dime. We miss you guys so much and wish we were closer. Seriously though, has baby sitting gone up THAT much?