How Much You Should Pay a Babysitter

paying a babysitter

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Are you unsure how much to pay your babysitter or nanny? In order to attract the most qualified child care providers, it is important to offer a competitive rate, but you don't want to overpay.

Here are some factors to consider when deciding how much to pay in-home childcare providers.

How Many Children Will the Provider Be Watching?

More kids means more work for the babysitter, especially when the children’s ages are different. For each additional child, pay your babysitter an extra $1 or $2.

How Experienced Is the Child Care Provider?

Experience is a factor when it comes to babysitter payments.

A teenager is very different than a seasoned babysitter who is CPR and first aid certified.

You may also want to take their education level or other talents into consideration. If you are looking for someone who can help your child musically or with a certain sport, you may have to pay more to find a babysitter with these specific skills.

Is the Child Care Provider Doing Additional Work?

If the babysitter will put your kids to bed and then watch TV all night, you can pay a lower rate. However, If you need the babysitter to drive your kids around, perform household chores or help with homework, plan to pay them more for these extra services.

Do You Child Care for a Holiday or a Destination?

Be prepared to pay up for special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day or when taking a babysitter on your vacation. Babysitters are in high demand for special holidays. Book early to get the best rates for holidays.

Are You Looking for a Babysitter or a Nanny?

Some people use babysitter and nanny interchangeable, but there is a big difference between the jobs and a big difference in what you should be paying them. Think of babysitters as occasional child care who are great for watching and playing with your kids while you go on a date night for a few hours. If you need full-time or regular child care, you should be looked for a nanny.

Nannies are childcare professionals who should be involved in your child's development and typically earn more.

What Is the Going Rate in Your Area?

​The going rate for babysitters increase over time and also vary by location. Babysitters in cities cost more than sitters in small towns because of the higher cost of living. Care.come provides a babysitter pay rate calculator to find out the going rate for sitters in your area.

According to the 2018 Babysitter Survey, the average babysitting rate in 2017 was about $16.20 per hour. found that babysitters in San Francisco, CA cost $18.87 per hour, making them most expensive sitters in the country. Babysitters in Logan, UT charge about $13.11 per hour, making them the least expensive.

In the 2017 survey:

  • 41 percent of parents surveyed say that they spend at least $1,000 on babysitting and 22 percent say that they spend at least $2,000.
  • 66 percent of parents surveyed say that they would pay more for a sitter with safety training, specifically, CPR and First Aid certification.
  • 88 percent of parents surveyed say they rely on recommendations of babysitters from friends and neighbors.

According to’s 2017 survey the average childcare rate for one child is $15.20 per hour for a babysitting rate and $16.45 for a nanny. 

San Francisco came in as the most expensive city for babysitters once again in 2017, with $17.34/hour for one child as the average rate. While Denver has the least expensive babysitters in the nation, at $12.22/hour for one child, on average. 

  • 48% of parents surveyed spend at least $1,000 a year on babysitters.
  • Nannies cost 27% of parents surveyed between $20,000-$30,000 a year.
  • More than 47% of parents surveyed say they check references when hiring a babysitter.
  • 54% of parents surveyed say that background checks are very important.
  • Almost 1/3 of parents hire a sitter at least once a week. While only 5% say they hire a sitter once a year or less.

Babysitter Rates Per Hour

For one child: 

  • Boston:   $16.02  
  • Chicago   $13.94   
  • Denver   $12.22  
  • District of Columbia $15.51
  • New York   $16.89   
  • Los Angeles   $15.62   
  • San Diego   $12.81
  • San Francisco   $17.34    
  • Seattle   $16.42

For two children:

  • Boston:   $18.75 
  • Chicago   $15.79
  • Denver   $13.89
  • District of Columbia $17.96
  • New York   $19.66  
  • Los Angeles   $17.32  
  • San Diego   $15.26
  • San Francisco   $19.79  
  • Seattle   $17.68

​For three children:

  • Boston:   $20.98 
  • Chicago   $17.39
  • Denver   $16.71
  • District of Columbia $19.49
  • New York   $21.47 
  • Los Angeles   $19.33 
  • San Diego   $18.50
  • San Francisco   $22.21  
  • Seattle   $19.94
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