Is Daycare Cheaper than a Nanny?
Learn about the pros, cons, and costs of both daycare programs and hiring a nanny, plus we investigate some alternatives to consider.
Want to find a high-quality babysitter for your kids without breaking the bank? One part of that is learning how much to pay your sitter.
How much do babysitters expect to get paid? It's a question that any parent who hires a babysitter has needed to consider at one point. The answer will vary significantly depending on where you live, along with other factors like your babysitter's experience, qualifications, and how many kids they're watching for you.
In this article, you'll learn how much babysitters get paid in various countries, and how to price a babysitter for your specific situation.
The biggest factor that will impact how much your babysitter expects is where you live.
How much a babysitter charges will fluctuate a lot from country to country. In the UK you might only need to pay your babysitter £8 per hour. But in Australia, expect to pay your sitter more like $20 per hour!
Even from one city to another inside the same country or state, babysitter prices can vary more wildly than you'd probably ever expect.
To get a good idea of babysitting costs around the world, let's take a look at babysitter hourly rates for the US, UK, Canada, and Australia (click to jump down). You might be shocked to find out how much more or less babysitters get paid in other countries!
According to Indeed.com, the average hourly rate for a US babysitter is $15.24. This is estimated from 17,600 users, as well as past job advertisements on the site in the past 36 months.
Payscale.com, on the other hand, lists an average babysitter rate at only $10.20 per hour.
Already you're probably seeing that babysitter rates can vary wildly, and no one can quite agree on what a babysitter should be paid!
If I had to guess, I'd say that the figure Indeed.com lists is likely inflated by more professional childcare providers such as nannies who choose to classify themselves as babysitters.
Babysitting costs in America also vary a lot based on the city. A sitter's hourly rate gets affected by multiple local factors, including minimum wage laws and the cost of living.
Here is a selection of costs for a babysitter you could expect in various major US cities as of 2018. These rates are based upon a babysitter watching two children:
|Los Angeles, California||$15.50/hr|
|New York City, New York||$18.25/hr|
|San Diego, California||$11.66/hr|
|San Francisco, California||$17.12/hr|
If you know much about American geography, then it shouldn't come as a huge shock to see which cities are the most expensive and which are the cheapest. Places like New York and San Francisco are well-known for their very high cost of living. Whereas places like Detroit have a much lower cost of living.
From this, we can see that what babysitters charge per hour is inflated at a similar rate to all other jobs in a city. They don't simply make $12 per hour regardless of where they are in the country. It depends how much the parents they're babysitting are getting paid, the cost of a house in that area, and other factors.
Payscale.com lists the average hourly rate for babysitters in Canada as $10.31, which is very comparable to the average price in the United States.
Babysitter prices in Canada also vary based on the city. Here are some major Canadian cities and the average babysitter rate there:
|Fort McMurray, Alberta||$9.93/hr|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||$13.00/hr|
The first thing you'll notice when looking at babysitter rates in Canada is that they're less extreme than their American counterparts. Even the biggest and most expensive cities in Canada like Toronto and Vancouver hardly break the $13 per hour mark. Compare that to American cities with similar cost of living like New York or Los Angeles.
So arguably, we can say that Canadian babysitters in big cities are underpaid compared to their American counterparts.
There also doesn't seem to be too much rhyme or reason to which cities are higher and lower.
Calgary and Edmonton arguably have a pretty similar cost of living and close geographic proximity, but their average rate varies by more than $2!
Winnipeg has a much lower cost of living than Ottawa, but their babysitters earn comparable rates.
I'm not sure what all the factors are that affect babysitter prices in Canada, but they seem much less loosely tied with the cost of living when compared to the United States.
In Canada, you should at least pay your babysitter the provincial minimum wage. But there might be other factors to consider too.
Here are the babysitting rates for various cities across the UK:
£8 = $10.00 USD
£9 = $11.30 USD
£10 = $12.60 USD
Rates for UK babysitters seems pretty comparable to those of Canada. A sitter's hourly wage will vary a bit depending on the size and cost of living in a given city, but not nearly to the same extremes as in the US.
Obviously, London ranks #1 for babysitter costs, and most other locations follow a logical order as well.
Even within London, there can be different pricing in different areas of the city. In Southwest and Northeast London, £10 per hour is the norm. But in Central and Southeast London, sitters are only £9.50 per hour on average. And in Northwest London, things are even cheaper, with an hourly rate of £9 per hour.
Across the entire UK, the average hourly rate for a babysitter comes in at just under £9 per hour.
Again, getting an exact number is difficult. Payscale.com states the average hourly pay is £7.44 per hour, while Indeed.co.uk lists it as £11.00 per hour.
According to au.indeed.com, an average Australian babysitter earns.... $26.93? Wow! I'm pretty sure this site is including similar childcare jobs such as nannies or home daycares into this figure.
The numbers on Payscale.com are much more reasonable at $19.04 per hour, but still much higher than in any of the other countries we've looked at.
Here's a breakdown by major Australian cities:
Parents in Australia can't seem to catch a break! No major city pays their babysitters less than $18.50 per hour.
Part of this might just be that salaries in Australia are inflated compared to other countries in general. So to people from other parts of the world, these high numbers might seem a bit shocking at first.
For example, a bookkeeper in Australia makes $54,444, while the same job in America pays $41,454. A garbage truck driver in Australia makes $25.58 per hour on average, whereas in America they'd only make $17.21.
When I checked around Australian parenting forums, these numbers do seem to be correct. You might be able to get a grade 11 student for $15 per hour, but university age students will likely want $20 per hour or more.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about average babysitter prices in Australia is how consistent they are! In almost all the big cities, babysitter rates are within a dollar of each other.
Tons of other factors besides geographic location will impact what a babysitter will charge or is willing to accept as payment. Here are some big ones to keep in mind.
Looking after kids who are awake and bouncing off the walls is very different than periodically checking on them or tidying up the house a bit while they're asleep. Taking care of kids is much harder when they're awake for parents, and it's no different for babysitters either.
Your babysitter might be willing to accept a lower rate if your kids will be asleep for most of their shift, compared to a day job where the kids will be awake the entire time except for a nap (if they're lucky.)
There are more babysitters available in the evening after 6 pm and on the weekends. That's because a lot of babysitters are students who only babysit part-time when they're not at school or university, and are limited on what time they can work.
Many parents opt for daycare or full-time nanny during the day, so a daytime babysitting job is pretty rare. But there are also less babysitters available to work during these times. Most daytime sitters are professional, full-time babysitters with more experience and who will likely charge a higher rate than your friend's daughter who is still in high school.
Like any business, babysitting is about supply and demand. Your city might have more or less babysitters who are willing to work during certain times, or on certain days.
Your babysitter will expect to be paid more to watch more than one kid. That seems fair since more kids to usually mean more work, more messes, and more temper tantrums. It's more a factor for daytime babysitters though. During a nighttime babysitting shift, three sleeping kids aren't really much more work than one sleeping kid.
In the United States, it's pretty standard to add an extra $1 or $2 per hour for each additional child. So if you'd pay $12 per hour for one kid, you should pay $13 or $14 for two kids.
Friday and Saturday nights are when babysitters tend to charge the most. Lots of other parents are going out on dates on these nights so there's more demand for babysitters. Plus babysitters are likely giving up their own plans and potential parties to stay at your house and babysit, so it's a bit fair to charge a premium.
How much experience your babysitter has working with kids will also factor into how much they charge. There's a big difference between a brand new 12-year-old babysitter when compared to a 25-year-old babysitter who has been watching kids for over a decade. That impacts almost every part of their job, including their judgment and ability to handle difficult situations.
A younger sitter who expects less might be fine for a toddler who sleeps right through the night. But you'll want to pay more to get someone with more experience if you've got a newborn who can't sleep very well.
At most other jobs, you'd earn time and a half for working on a holiday. A babysitter might feel the same and want extra pay to watch your kids on a holiday. After all, they could be at home spending time with their own family instead.
Babysitters are in high demand on special occasions. Especially Valentine's Day or New Years Eve. So expect to pay more than your usual rate during these high demand times.
Similar to holidays, most full-time employees would expect to be paid overtime if they worked over their regular 40 hours per week. It's a bit tricky with sitters though since often they're only working part-time. If you're late getting home one night, should you increase their hourly rate for those extra hours, or just pay them their standard hourly rate? That's more of a personal choice.
If your babysitter is acting as a tutor and helping your child with homework and exam preparation as well, you should likely be compensating them extra. Helping a kid struggle through their math homework takes a lot more patience and mental energy than just watching them play with Lego.
One sitter might be happy to sit and watch your TV or play on their phone for minimum wage while your kids are asleep. But a babysitter who does arts and crafts with your kids, or needs to be constantly feeding and changing your infant deserves more than that.
How late your night goes might impact how much your babysitter expects to be paid. It's common to pay a babysitter a bit extra per hour once their time goes past midnight. They'll probably have to sleep in and lose some time the next day to compensate or deal with being extra groggy from staying up late.
Will you leave leftovers for your babysitter to eat? Are you going to pick up McDonald's for them and drop it off? Will you leave them money to order a pizza? Or are they on their own when it comes to food?
Read about dinner expectations for babysitters so you know where you stand.
Is your babysitter's parent dropping them off and picking them up?
Will you need to pick them up and drive them home yourself? In which case I'd be fine paying a bit less since you're probably going an extra 30 minutes out of your way to bring them to your home and back.
If they have their own car, it's more convenient for you but they might expect a bit more to cover the cost of gas, especially if it's a far drive to get to your house.
Cities like San Francisco and Manhattan are easy for a babysitter to get around using public transportation. But if you live in a smaller or more rural city, it can easily take your babysitter 30 minutes or more each way to get to your home. In the latter case, you really need to pay more to make it worth their while, especially if the babysitting job is short like only a couple of hours.
Taking care of an 8-year-old is much less work than a newborn baby. Expect to pay your babysitter extra depending on how much work you expect it will be to watch your kid. Take a low-maintenance 8 – 10-year-old as the baseline and adjust accordingly.
Someone watching a newborn baby constantly and needing to change and feed them every hour or two probably deserves double that, to be honest.
In addition to years of experience in childcare and life in general, take your babysitter's certifications into account as well.
CPR and first aid certification will prove priceless in the case of an emergency. Having a well-trained babysitter might literally be the difference between life and death in some extreme cases. Things like choking, heavy bleeding, or burns aren't all that uncommon with kids, even if you're supervising them properly.
If your child has a disability or special needs, you'll likely also want a babysitter with special skills when it comes to dealing with a child with autism, ADHD, etc.
Is your babysitter just watching your kids, or will they need to keep an eye on your pets as well? Feeding or picking up after your pets are just one more thing a babysitter might have to do.
Some dogs are especially high maintenance and might need just as much attention as kids to make sure they aren't getting into something they shouldn't be or going to the bathroom in the house.
In this case, your babysitter is really doubling as a pet sitter, and you should compensate them accordingly. Much like if they were watching multiple kids.
Will your babysitter be expected to pick your kids up from school or take them to karate lessons? What about doing household cleaning, cooking dinner for your kids, or other tasks? You should expect to pay extra for any additional services besides just watching your kids.
If your babysitter is going to be staying overnight and sleeping at your house, their rate might need to be adjusted. Normally it's considered okay to pay your babysitter a lower rate for the hours they'll be sleeping than when they're awake. They still need to be there in case your kids wake up in the night or need something, but generally, their workload will be dramatically less or zero during those hours.
Some people also pay overnight babysitters a flat rate, say $50, for all the hours between 11 pm and 9 am.
If you don't have the right change when you get home and it's time to pay your babysitter, you might end up paying more than you would've liked.
Say you owe your babysitter $48 for the night but all you've got in your wallet is $20 bills. Out of necessity, you might have to give them $60 just because you have no other option, giving them a nice $12 tip in the process!
Nowadays this is less of an issue because there are other ways to pay your babysitter besides using cash. Most banks offer a way to transfer money electronically, often without any fees. There are also babysitting apps you can use to pay your babysitter exactly what you owe, although these services will often take a cut.
Babysitting rates can vary a lot depending on many different factors. These include where you live, a babysitter's level of experience, your children's age, and many other factors.
For that reason, it can be hard to set an exact price on how much you should pay for a babysitter. Everyone's situation will be so different that it's hard to give a specific figure.
Whatever rate you and your partner decide on, make sure to discuss it with your babysitter and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Finding a great babysitter that you trust and your kids love can be tough. For that reason, it's usually not best to just go with the cheapest option when it comes to who's watching your kids.
Being able to go out in the evening without a babysitter is one of the big money-saving milestones of parenting. But until that time, having a qualified babysitter to make sure your kids are safe and happy is worth every penny!
Minors still have to claim their income and file a tax return if they exceed their standard deduction amount. In the US for 2018, this amount is $1,050. If a child earns more than this amount, they technically need to file a tax return. Although it's very unlikely it would ever be worth the effort of the IRS to come after them.
In Canada, the personal allowance limit is much higher, at $11,809 for 2018. In Australia, your first $18,200 of income isn't taxable. So in these countries, it's very unlikely that a minor who does part-time babysitting would ever exceed these limits and end up in a position where they owe tax.
Most government tax agencies also give parents the option of claiming their children's income on their own tax return. Although this will generally cause the parent to owe more money than if the child had filed their own tax return.
It depends where they live, but generally it would be very difficult for a part-time babysitter to file for unemployment benefits. A babysitter who works full-time and is more akin to a nanny could make a much stronger argument. Generally, they need to meet a minimum earnings amount per year, be eligible to work and have a qualifying reason (for example, if they are left unemployed through no fault of their own when children go off to school or a daycare slot opened up for them.)
Learn about the pros, cons, and costs of both daycare programs and hiring a nanny, plus we investigate some alternatives to consider.
Follow our step by step guide to hiring a babysitter from start to finish including screening, interviewing, performing background checks, and making an offer.
Learn exactly what a babysitter is, what job duties they do, the hours they work, how much they charge, and how they can help your family.
Learn the types of babysitter background checks that are available for safety and peace of mind and which ones are right for you.
Learn what babysitting expenses parents are eligible for, and receive a tax credit or deduction. It can save you thousands of dollars!
Learn which qualities and characteristics a babysitter should have that make them a great caregiver your whole family will love.
Learn the warning signs of a bad babysitter so you can take action as soon as possible and keep your family safe.
Make the right choice for your family by learning the subtle differences between babysitters and nannies and their typical responsibilities.
Learn some non-obvious benefits when it comes to hiring a babysitter for your child or children. We'll also touch on a few of the disadvantages to consider.
Learn whether a babysitter should do any cleaning as well as what types of cleaning you should and shouldn't expect them to do.
Give your babysitter all the information they need by printing out our handy parent details form. Never forget important instructions.
Make sure your babysitter is capable, experienced, is a great fit for your family, and has a great personality too by asking the right questions.
Babysitters can take care of more than one child at once. But there is a limit on how many kids a babysitter can watch effectively.
A male babysitter can be just as safe, caring, and responsible as a female one. Compare their qualifications and recommendations just like other candidates.
Learn what paperwork is required to allow your babysitter to take your child to the doctor if you’re unavailable to do so.
Learn how to choose a mature and capable babysitter that can keep your kids safe on overnight sitting jobs.
It's not normal to pay a babysitter for an interview, however, for babysitting, there's one key exception you should know.
Learn what babysitters expect from parents when it comes to food. If you decide to provide dinner, try our 8 easy food ideas that are perfect for babysitters on the job.