Can Babysitters Sleep On The Job?
Learn why sleeping while you're babysitting is generally frowned upon, times when it might be okay, and six tips to help keep yourself awake while you're working.
New Year's Eve is one of the biggest nights of the year for you as a babysitter. Parents often book their sitters for this night months in advance!
What is New Year's Eve babysitting like? Babysitting on New Year's Eve is much like a regular babysitting job, except you can charge more and parents will probably want to book you months in advance. You'll be working later than usual (probably until at least 1 am) and there might be more commotion like fireworks outside that could disturb the child's sleep.
In this article, I'll let you know what you should expect when babysitting on New Year's Eve, how much to charge, and other details that make it a little different than a regular babysitting job.
Parents with young children often don't get many opportunities to leave the kids at home and head out to bars or grown-up parties and have some fun.
Many take advantage of New Year's Eve as one of the few times each year they can really let loose.
From a babysitting perspective back at home with the kids, not that much is different from a regular babysitting job.
However, there are a few important things that might be different. Let's take a look at a few of them.
Babysitting for New Year's Eve isn't like a regular babysitting job where parents call you up a couple of days in advance to see if you're available.
New Year's Eve is one of the biggest parties of the year, so there's not really such a thing as too early to start booking a babysitter.
Parents might be worried that babysitters will make their own NYE plans if they don't talk to them first. Don't be surprised if parents start asking you to babysit on New Year's Eve as early as October or November!
As soon as parents are sure they'll be heading out for the night, it's a good idea for them to lock down a babysitter so their plans don't get thrown off.
Parents will be out on New Year's Eve until at least midnight. So even if they rush back as soon as the big countdown is over, don't expect them to get home until at least 12:30.
Somewhere from 1 to 3 am is far more likely.
It's most common to get asked to babysit on New Year's Eve from about 7 pm to 1 am.
So you're going to be in this for the long haul! Be sure to grab some coffee, sugary candy, or whatever you need to keep yourself awake and alert. You may even want to have a short nap in the afternoon before you have to go babysit.
Instead of going home after a babysitting shift on New Year's Eve, it's probably best to just crash on the family's couch for a few hours until morning instead.
Logistically, getting home after NYE babysitting is kind of a nightmare.
The parents you've been babysitting for will almost certainly have been drinking so they won't be able to drive you home.
Taxis and Ubers will be overwhelmed with fares from bars and parties. It can often take an hour or more to get a ride on New Year's Eve, and when you do their rates will likely be sky-high because of the increased demand.
Your own family members will probably have their own New Year's Eve party going on and picking you up from babysitting will be pretty low on their priorities.
Public transit often runs later on New Year's Eve in many places, but it will be filled with obnoxious drunk people that you probably don't want to deal with.
Even if you drive, the roads can be filled with police checkpoints to check for drunk drivers which can slow traffic and make it really annoying to get home.
Staying the night after your NYE babysitting shift is usually the easiest and most hassle-free option.
There's another reason you might have to stay the night and be on babysitting duty until morning as well. Getting back home is just as much of a hassle for parents as you. So some parents might opt to get a hotel room close to their New Years Eve party and not come home at all until the next morning.
See our complete guide to babysitting overnight for other essential tips you should know.
What should you do if you get no sleep? Easy, read our complete guide to babysitting night shifts, we have lots of essential tips to get your sleep routine back to normal after an all-nighter!
As a general rule, I'd recommend that you charge time and a half for babysitting on New Year's Eve. So take your normal rate and multiply it by 1.5.
Are you not sure how much you should be charging for your babysitting services? It can vary a lot depending on your experience, where you live, and how many kids you'll be watching. Check out my article on the topic: Babysitting Services (How Much Should I Charge?)
Most babysitters charge anywhere from $10 to $20 per hour for their time. So on New Year's Eve, plan to charge $15 to $30 per hour depending on where you fall on that scale.
Some parents may be willing to pay more than time and a half. Even double your normal rate in some cases! So when you're negotiating a special rate for babysitting on NYE, I'd recommend letting parents toss out their own number first. They might voluntarily offer to pay more than you would have asked for!
If you're going to be staying the night, you might want to set one flat fee for the entire job instead of charging an hourly rate. To figure out a flat fee, I'd work out how much you'd normally be paid for the hours that you're awake.
Then add half your regular rate for the hours that you'll be sleeping, but still "on call." You won't be actively working during those hours, but you'll still be available in case the kids wake up or need anything in the middle of the night.
According to CNBC, it's not uncommon for babysitting bills for New Year's Eve to reach a three digit number! 
On New Year's Eve, there's usually a lot more commotion outside.
Depending on where you live, there might be people cheering and shouting in the streets or fireworks being set off. Especially around midnight.
This can actually be a bit annoying, as the disturbances outside can scare children who are trying to sleep and wake them up.
If you're babysitting in a louder neighborhood, expect kids to wake up a few more times during the night than usual and the higher potential of having to deal with cranky and crying children.
Dogs might also get scared by fireworks and other loud noises outside, which in turn may start barking and wake the kids up as well.
You can ask the parents because it will largely be up to them. But generally, younger kids don't stay up until midnight.
The children you're babysitting might think they can stay up all night! Usually, kids aren't able to make it all the way until midnight until they're at least 8 or 9 years old though.
If you try to let a kid younger than that try to stay up until midnight, best case scenario they'll just fall asleep on the couch. Or the more likely scenario is that you'll end up with a cranky sleep-deprived kid that will be even harder to deal with!
See our tips for Getting kids to sleep while babysitting to help avoid tantrums.
If you're putting the kids to bed early, check out our article for some things to do once they've gone to bed: Things To Do After Kids Are Asleep
So as much as New Year's Eve can be a cool time when kids get to stay up late and feel like a big kid, I wouldn't recommend it for younger kids.
You might let them stay up a bit later than usual, just because that's the fun of New Year's Eve. But for younger children, I'd still try to get them in bed by 10.
If you don't mind bending the truth a bit, you can always pretend that it's midnight once it's time for them to go to bed and celebrate New Years with them a little early. After all, it's probably already New Years somewhere, and they're too young to tell time yet anyway!
What happens if the family you were going to babysit for on New Year's Eve has a change of plans? Maybe one of the parents gets too sick to go out, or they've decided to spend the evening at home with the family instead.
It would be a shame to miss out on all that extra money that you can make while babysitting on New Year's Eve because someone canceled.
When you agree to babysit on New Year's Eve, I would make a special arrangement with parents about canceling. For example, you might say that if they cancel within one week of the date, you want to still be paid 50% of what you would have been paid.
If they let you know they're canceling at least a week in advance, they don't need to pay at all and it shouldn't be too hard for you to find a backup job to work that night.
But if they end up canceling a day or two before, I think it's fair that you get paid half what they would have paid you if you had worked that night.
Most parents will have already got their babysitters and it will be hard to find another job with just 24 to 48 hours notice. Plus you probably gave up invitations to go to a party of your own because you thought you'd be babysitting and now it's too late to change your mind!
Many parents will arrange a backup babysitter for New Year's Eve in case their babysitter falls through. It's too important of a night to miss! So don't be afraid to make similar arrangements yourself and look for other possible babysitting jobs in case your current job gets canceled.
If it's December 30th and you don't have a babysitting job, try calling around to friends and family to see if they know anyone who is looking for a sitter. Parents that are still looking for a sitter at the last minute will be very relieved and grateful to find someone!
You'll have to make a tough decision between going to a party with your friends or deciding to take a babysitting job. You can't do both!
I think that especially as a younger babysitter, the extra money from babysitting on New Year's Eve is too good to pass up. You'll have plenty of opportunities to go to your own New Years Eve parties when you're in your twenties or older, so don't worry if right now it feels like every year you're stuck babysitting on NYE!
If you feel like you're really missing out, you can always celebrate New Year's Eve with your friends the night before. Get together and have dinner or go dancing without the same level of stress and busy-ness that's associated with NYE itself!
With a party atmosphere in the air, it might be tempting to relax your babysitting standards a little bit.
But just because lots of other people are out having fun doesn't mean you can let your guard down! You still have certain responsibilities and agreements that you've made with the parents.
That means leave the alcohol at home. You need all your wits about you to give the kids you're in charge of the care that they need!
Avoid having friends over while you babysit and trying to throw a "mini party" for yourself. Again, it will distract you from your duties as a babysitter. Plus parents likely wouldn't approve of you having people over in their house.
If you're experienced with kids, why not try to babysit for more than one family on New Year's Eve?
Try to get the parents of several kids who all know each other to let you watch all of their kids at once.
It won't be all that hard if you have experience working in a daycare or anywhere else where you watch a lot of kids at once.
It's basically like throwing a big party for the kids and then everyone can stay for a sleepover.
Parents get to split the cost of babysitting a bit so you can charge them a bit lower rate per-parent. But overall you'll make way more money. If each parent is paying you $10 per hour and you're watching 5 kids, that's $50 per hour! That's at least $300 you'll earn just from one night of babysitting.
You can get parents to chip in a few dollars so that you can stock up on snacks and games for the kids and turn it into a really fun night for everyone! The kids can all dress up in their pajamas and really make it a special night to remember.
If you're nervous about talking to parents about money, check out our article: How To Negotiate A Babysitting Rate.
Kids shouldn't have to just sit at home and watch a movie on New Year's Eve. You can help make it a fun and exciting night for them too!
You can put together a mix of snacks for kids to eat. One of my favorite parts of New Year's Eve as a kid was getting to have all the chips and dip, soft drinks, and appetizers like mozzarella sticks or chicken nuggets that I could handle!
If parents prefer healthy treats, you can make trays of fruit and veggies, along with different kinds of crackers and cheese or peanut butter.
Crafts like having kids make their own New Year's Eve party hats out of paper really make it into an event.
You can play a lot of the same party games that kids would have at a birthday party. They can play pin the tail on the donkey, you can organize a scavenger hunt around the house, play musical chairs, duck duck goose, or other party classics.
If the kids you're watching are old enough to stay up until midnight, give them some noisemakers and let them really ring in the new year!
See our huge list of fun babysitting activities for more inspiration.
New Year's Eve is an opportunity to earn a bit of extra money. Babysitters are in high demand on this holiday, and it's not uncommon to charge time and a half or double your regular rate!
There are some special circumstances when it comes to babysitting on NYE. You may need to stay late (past midnight) or even sleep over.
New Year's Eve isn't just for parents! You can make it a fun night for the kids you're babysitting by throwing a little party yourself! Get together a tray of snacks and come up with some crafting activities and games to keep them busy until it's time for bed.
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