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.

Number of Children

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.

Provider's Experience

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.

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.

Holidays or Destinations

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.

Types of Provider

Some people use the terms "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.

Going Rates by Area

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

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

In the 2019 Cost of Care survey:

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

According to’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 had 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.

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
4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Reed S. How much do the holidays cost?.

  2. Babysitter Pay Rates: What's the Going Rate for a Babysitter?.

  3. Resources: This is How Much Childcare Costs.

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

By Jill Ceder, LMSW, JD
Jill Ceder, LMSW, JD is a psychotherapist working with women, children, adolescents, couples and families.