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There are a few things that I am willing to pay for, really pay for, in life. Sanity, er I mean a good babysitter is one of them. I have found that some time alone with my spouse for a date night is worth its weight in gold. And let’s face it, great babysitters are a rare commodity.
The first rule of babysitting is that I want my kids to be safe. Second rule is that I want them to be happy and have fun. The bottom line is that you’re leaving your most precious creations - even though you’re trying to escape them for sanity you don’t want anything to happen to them.
Truth be told, my oldest could be left to her own devices and so I’m really only paying the sitter to entertain my six year old which amounts to watching movies, listening to her tell stories, and watching her “shows” while she plays dress up. It’s a pretty lucrative gig.
I typically start at the base rate of $8.00 per hour, especially if the babysitter provides his/her own transportation. According to SitterCity.com the going rate in Dallas, TX is $11.25 per hour and according to Care.com the rate in my area is $10.00 per hour. But, both sites make several assumptions that aren’t true to my area. In my area sitters are typically not above the age of 18. The two sitters I have currently are 14 and 16. That’s starting them above minimum wage. I feel comfortable with that.
If you’re ever in doubt what to pay your sitter the best token of advice is to ask them. If they’re smart they’ll answer you something like, “most people pay me between X and Y” and they may even add “but I’m good with Z”. That gives you a range and/or a firm hourly rate that they, too, are comfortable with.
There are a few things to keep in mind when calculating sitter pay. If you’re starting with someone who you want to stay with you for quite some time you’ll need room for raises, so don’t start out at the top of your pay scale. Nights, especially weekend nights, call for a bit of a bonus, especially if you find yourself competing – as we do many times in the military – with several families attending the same event. If you get a sitter who can drive and provides his/her own transportation as well as emergency transportation should it be needed be sure to tack on a gas allowance. If you require a sitter to be present with short notice you may want to take into consideration how flexible they were to help you out. If you’re requiring your sitter to do extra tasks – like preparing meals or cleaning – you would want to compensate them for the extra work.
Last but not least, PAY ON TIME, I cannot stress this enough. Before you even head back to your home make sure you hit the ATM. Your sitter is probably too nice to remind you when you forget and don’t have cash on hand and that most likely will be the last time he/she agrees to a job.
Remember, just like you move the babysitter who your children love and request to the top of the list, your sitter will move the family that takes care of him/her to the top of their list. Your goal is to find that exceptional sitter and hang on to them – in other words, make your house their preferred destination.
How much do you pay your babysitter per hour?
How did you find your sitter?
Do you do any “extras” besides money to be sure your exceptional sitter stays happy and your house is a preferred destination?
As a certified childcare provider stationed on a military instillation child care is $4 an hour and one dollar is paid to us at a later date, by the gov. I would check into an FCC provider prior to paying $8 an hour. FCC providers are certified and must maintain a federal and stae back ground check.
Thanks for your comment! You're correct, hourly care on the installation during hours that they are open would be a much cheaper option if my children were the age they could use that.
When we lived on Fort Sill Chloe spent time in hourly care in a FCC as well as at the CDC.
The issue is I do not live near a CDC. We're out in the civilian community (not near any installation) and so I'm not near any CDC. This is also "date night" type babystiting. IF I needed daily care or consistent hourly care I surely couldn't pay that much per hour. That's more than some people make and so it wouldn't be worth going to work and paying the sitter on a consistent basis.
This article was written based on babysitters vs. nanny or daily consistent care. I hope that helps clarify some of the concerns.
ps. THANK YOU for doing what you do. FCC providers are highly unappreciated and I absolutely loved every one we worked with at both installations we had care.
I pay my sitter $10 per hour. As an FCC provider myself I find it difficult to leave my children with just anyone; therefore, I ask around for neighbor recommendations. I also like using sittercity.com. They have military discounts! There you can find qualified sitters. I recommend finding one with a babysitter certificate and CPR /First Aid certificate if possible. Also, for those of you with Teenagers, I recommend having them take babysitter certificate courses offered by the Youth Programs or your city's Parks and Rec, that way they can become certified and reliable sitters. To keep my sitter happy I offer rides, buy pizza, and have netflix ready :0)
Yes! What a great point - Sittercity is always free for military and sometimes care.com also offers military a free membership. I love the Netflix idea! Thanks!
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