Top 6 Babysitter Questions - USAA Member Community


It is hard to say goodbye to friends and family before a move, but little is said about the difficulty of leaving many of your favorite service providers. Moving means finding a new cable/internet company, utility provider, hair dresser, church, mechanic and one of the most difficult…a trusted baby sitter.

I posed six questions to fellow parents and military families around the topic of babysitting. Their insightful answers can help you in your babysitter search whether you are moving to a new place or are a new parent who needs assistance procuring child care (I am the latter!):


  1. How do you determine the hourly rate? 
    This answer was very consistent and the formula most parents use is: Local going rate + age/experience of sitter + age and number of children= Pay rate. In my area, for one 18 month old, it seems the going rate for an experienced babysitter is $8-$10.

  2. Do you pay less while your child is sleeping?
    This got mixed answers. Most believe you are paying for the sitter’s time and they should be compensated equally for the time the children spend asleep. If the sitter is coming over after the children are already in bed, it seems a reduced rate can be appropriate (but would need to be approved by the sitter in advance). The exception to the “pay while the child is sleeping” rule is a planned overnight or weekend babysitting job. Some offer a flat fee for the time; others do not pay for the sitter’s time they would be “sleeping anyway” (as long as the children are sleeping through the night).

  3. If they are there during dinner time, do you provide dinner?
    Everyone I asked answered this one the same: “They are welcome to anything we have as well as what the kids eat for dinner”. It is courteous to offer the babysitter snacks and food (most parents commented the sitters rarely eat).

  4. Do you provide the babysitter with a written list or to do list (i.e bed time is at 8)?
    The most helpful answer to this question came from some caretakers. They find it to be very helpful to have a list the first few times they babysit to ensure they are covering everything in your routine and if you have specific things you want accomplished during the time they are babysitting (homework, reading goals, activity time, medicine administered etc.). It is always good to provide a list of emergency numbers and contacts (one mom even had a medical POA on hand!).

  5. How do you find a sitter? 
    Church, friends, Sitter City,, recommendations, or neighbors.

  6. Sharing a sitter with a friend. Can this be done?
    It seems the key to sharing a sitter with a friend (and remaining friends after) is to make your expectations clear. For example, Eve says; “I only share a sitter with a friend if I know they will only use my sitter for emergencies. Usually my friends will ask me first if I need my sitter before asking to borrow. And I give the same respect back to those who let me use their regular sitter.”

Additional sage advice:

- “Don't be afraid to interview, and do a test run (like have them watch the kids while you're doing chores or something at home to see how they interact). This is what we plan on doing when we pcs and lose our wonderful babysitters that live right next door.” - Lyndsey


- “The best sitter I have ever had is a high school student! Including very well qualified sitters- she still far exceeds them and my daughter loves her. So do not discredit high school students for adults.” - Elaine


Do you have different answers to the questions posed above? Please share anything I have missed!


Related article:
Must Have Packing Essentials for Traveling with Baby



220453 - 0715


My 18 year old daughter is a full time babysitter and she shuttles the kids to the zoo, appointments, etc.  Is there a form to protect us from the parents suing in case of an accident?

Briana Hartzell USAA


I am not sure! I have sent your question to one of our experts and will post when I have an update!

Briana Hartzell USAA

HI Brattbrandi,

I recommend giving us a call here at 1-800-531-8722 to make sure you have adequate coverage! Thank you!