How Much Should You Pay Your Babysitter?

Hiring a sitter can be a much-needed break for parents—but how much should you pay? Here are the questions to consider to figure out how to fairly pay your babysitter.

Whether it's date night or you need an extra hand while you're home, hiring a babysitter can be a lifeline. But with most sitters working under the table, it can be hard to know what a fair price would be.

In general, childcare costs have increased significantly. UrbanSitter's 2022 National Childcare Rate Survey found that childcare costs increased by 11% over the past year alone. The national average was $20.57/hr for 1 child and $23.25/hr for 2 children. 

In comparison, the 2021 Cost of Care Survey by found that the average child care cost for one child in 2021 was $694/week for a nanny (up from $565/week in 2019), $226/week for a child care or day care center (up from $182/week) and $221/week for a family care center (up from $177/week). And in 2020, the average rate for babysitters was $17.73 for one child, $20.30 for two children, and $21.49 for three children. Average rates also vary widely based on geographic location. For example, parents in San Francisco pay an hourly rate that's almost double that of someone in Las Vegas.

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Other factors besides location can also influence how much your babysitter should be paid. Ask yourself these questions when coming up with a rate.

How much experience does your sitter have?

The more experience a sitter has the more they can and should charge, according to "Paying more for experience can get you a sitter who can better meet your child care needs--and you get peace of mind too," says the website.

Number of children being cared for

As any parent knows, there's a big difference in responsibility between supervising just one child and watching two, or three, or more. suggests the amount you pay a sitter should reflect this reality. "Your babysitter needs to control a larger group, deal with kids interacting with each other, and be more aware of group dynamics than if she's watching one child," the website explains.

Overnight sitters

Some parents opt to pay a sitter less while the kids are asleep. In fact, suggests sitters might consider reducing their hourly rates for an overnight job, keeping in mind that the sitter will be getting paid for more hours overall than for a typical "date night" job.

Level of time commitment involved

How much work will you be giving the babysitter? This too can play a role in the hourly rate you end up negotiating. In other words, will you need a sitter full-time? Or perhaps just part-time, or even less? You'll also want to think about whether the work will be on weekends or during the week, as these are all requests that can impact the price you pay.

More responsibilities mean more cost

The more responsibility you give a sitter, the more you should expect to pay them. For instance, says the following factors can impact the price you pay: caring for an infant, children with special needs, or those who require specialized care. In addition, some families pay more money to babysitters who cook, pitch in with the laundry chores, fetch groceries at the supermarket, or even drive children to various activities.

Use an online calculator to help's website features a helpful babysitter rate calculator. Just enter key information such as your zip code, years of experience you're seeking, the number of children to be watched, and the estimated total hours per week you'll need a sitter. With this information, the calculator provides an estimated hourly, weekly, monthly, and yearly rate for your area. The site also lists the average hourly rates for the top 20 cities in the country, so you can get a sense of what the going rate is in your area.

Updated by
Mia Taylor
Mia Taylor

Personal Finance Writer Mia Taylor is an award-winning journalist who's passionate about making personal finance coverage accessible and engaging. News organizations she has worked for as a staff member or contributor include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the San Diego Union-Tribune, The Boston Globe, TheStreet, Bankrate, MSN, and Cheapism. In 2011, she was a member of a team of KPBS reporters who received a Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.

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