How Much Should You Pay Your Babysitter?

Hiring a sitter can offer 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 and every family's needs being different, it can be hard to determine a fair price.

In general, child care costs have increased significantly. UrbanSitter's 2022 National Childcare Rate Survey found that child care costs increased by 11% from 2021 to 2022 alone. The national average was $20.57/hr for one child and $23.25/hr for two children. 

In comparison, the 2022 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 daycare center (up from $215/week) and $221/week for a family care center (up from $201/week).

According to UrbanSitter, 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 location. For example, parents in San Francisco pay an hourly rate that's double that of those in Oklahoma City.

An image of a woman's hand holding money.
Getty Images.

Other factors besides your location will also influence how much your babysitter should be paid. Consider the following factors when coming up with how much to pay a babysitter.

Your Sitter's Experience

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

As any parent knows, there's a big difference in responsibility between supervising just one child and watching two 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 [they're] watching one child," the website explains, which warrants a higher rate.

Scheduled Hours

How and how much you pay a daytime or evening babysitter may differ from occasional overnight care. Babysitters are typically paid an hourly rate for each hour they work, but if you're hiring a sitter for overnight care, you might consider negotiating a flat rate or pairing an hourly daytime rate with a slightly reduced overnight rate for children who sleep through the night.

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.

Either way, the pay should be fair when broken down by the hour since sitters will still be responsible for your kids even when they are asleep—they're not suddenly off the clock when lights go out.

Time Commitment

How much work will you be giving your babysitter? Do you only need periodic child care or is this an every Saturday night kind of gig? The regularity of the schedule can play a role in the hourly rate you end up negotiating. Be prepared to pay a premium for sporadic care and care on major holidays. 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.

Level of Responsibility

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, expect to pay more money to babysitters who are expected to cook, pitch in with housework, or even drive children to various activities.

Use an Online Calculator offers a helpful babysitter rate calculator. Just enter key information such as:

  • Your zip code
  • Years of experience you're seeking
  • Number of children to be watched
  • 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
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