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 necessarily want to overpay—especially if you're on a budget.

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 (or more) per hour.

How Experienced Is the Child Care Provider?

Experience is definitely 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's job is to simply 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 Need 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 with you 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 a babysitter and nanny interchangeably, but there is a big difference between the two 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 looking 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.com provides a babysitter pay rate calculator to find out the going rate for sitters in your area.

According to the Care.com 2019 Babysitter Survey, the average babysitting rate in 2018 was about $16.25 per hour. Care.com found that babysitters in San Francisco, CA cost $19.58 per hour, making them most expensive sitters in the country. Babysitters in Logan, UT charge about $12.79 per hour, making them the least expensive.

In the 2019 Cost of Care survey:

  • More than 40 percent of families spend more than 15 percent of their household income on childcare.
  • 73 percent of parents surveyed say childcare costs are higher than they expected.

According to UrbanSitter.com’s 2020 survey the average childcare rate for one child is $17.73 per hour for babysitting. 

San Francisco came in as the most expensive city for babysitters once again in 2020, with $19.74/hour for one child as the average rate. While Las Vegas has the least expensive babysitters in the nation, at $10.95/hour for one child, on average. 

  • 28% of parents surveyed will spend $30,000-$75,000 on childcare this year.
  • 79% of parents say childcare is one of their family's biggest expenses.
  • 16% of parents said they wouldn't hire a babysitter who supported an opposing political candidate.

Babysitter Rates Per Hour

For one child: 

  • Boston: $18.94  
  • Chicago: $16.32   
  • Denver: $14.77  
  • Washington, DC: $16.43
  • New York City: $18.01   
  • Los Angeles: $17.41   
  • San Diego: $14.96
  • San Francisco: $19.74    
  • Seattle: $18.28

For two children:

  • Boston: $19.65 
  • Chicago: $16.97
  • Denver: $17.09
  • Washington, DC: $18.56
  • New York City: $20.26  
  • Los Angeles: $19.77  
  • San Diego: $17.21
  • San Francisco: $22.44  
  • Seattle: $19.34
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Article Sources
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  1. Reed S. Care.com. How much do the holidays cost?. November 26, 2019.

  2. Care.com. Babysitter Pay Rates: What's the Going Rate for a Babysitter?. Updated July 2019.

  3. Care.com. Resources: This is How Much Childcare Costs. Updated July 15, 2019.

  4. UrbanSitter. 2020 Babysitting Rates & Childcare Costs Study.

  5. UrbanSitter. 2020 Babysitting Rates & Childcare Costs Study.