How much to pay for babysitting - an unapologetic opinion! From

Your weight. Your income. How much your house cost…and what you pay your babysitter. The untouchable questions and conversations we all avoid, right?


When I was getting ready for my baby to be born recently, I put a call out on social media for questions you'd like me to answer. BOY did I get a lot of babysitting questions! It made me realize it's a source of insecurity for many of you since, as mentioned above, it's a subject we feel like we can't discuss for some reason (maybe because people can be very judgmental about it? Hmmm?). Since we all know I have a serious “no filter” problem, I thought it was time to address the issue fully, once and for all…

…and I've been dreading it.

I touched on the babysitting issue once before years ago, and just about got a public flogging for it. But since A) what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and B) I'm a glutton for punishment apparently, I'm here to give you an updated full-fledged, unapologetic, please-don't-thrash-me-its-a-free-country opinion on the matter.

BUT FIRST…my notes and disclaimers, if you will. (Please imagine I'm speaking these next points freakishly fast in a monotone voice like they do on the commercials.)

  • Note: there is a HUGE difference between a “babysitter” and a “nanny”. I cover this in depth in the video, so keep watching!
  • I babysat from age 11 – 18, was a nanny, mother's helper, and now have 4 kids of my own and use babysitters weekly. So my opinions are based on experience, research, and trial/error.
  • All I ask is that in the comments you respect other people's opinions and pay-scales, understanding that different parts of the country have very different costs of living, and that we all have a different way of doing things.
  • I failed to talk enough about rounding up or giving bonuses in the video. I do both quite a bit. If the house is clean when I come home, if they get themselves to my house, if the babysitter comes with toys and activities, I always pay extra. The $2/hr per kid is simply a base, with room for bonuses on top. Same with Nannies. My babysitters and nannies also get pay increases over time, the longer they work for us. I have a 14 year old who comes over after school once in a  while to help. Even though I'm home, I pay her $6.50/hr (and round up when writing her check) to watch my 3 older kids because she is actively doing activities, going on walks, and helping them. So it really just depends on the situation, but I use the $2 rule as my starting point.
  • In terms of us fitting babysitting into our budget, we just make it work. Going out without kids is VERY important in any relationship, so we have made it a priority and cut wherever needed to ensure we get at least 1 date per weekend! The reason we use the young babysitters we do, and pay what we do, is because that's how we can afford keeping our marriage strong by going on regular dates. If we had to pay $10/hr for babysitting we could never afford to go out!
  • I'm a HUGE believer in paying well when someone is deserving. I am probably the best tipper you'll ever meet. So I'm certainly not suggesting you skimp, or take advantage of a babysitter. I'm just suggesting that you pay based on the nature of the work, and based on their experience.
  • Hopefully my methods and insight can help you figure out what works best for you and your family! My ultimate goal with this video is to encourage you to get the conversation started in YOUR area of the woods. Ask your friends! Neighbors! Coworkers! Find what they pay and it will help you feel more comfortable with your own pay-scale.
  • Just for the record, we use babysitters almost every weekend and I've never had trouble getting OR keeping them. I make sure they have food, snacks, I let them bring friends with them when it's on the weekend and the kids are asleep most of the time, we give them small gifts for Christmas, respect their time…we try to treat them well and pay them fairly and they come back again and again. No problems here!

Oh! And please ignore the incredibly awkward abrupt ending to the video. My camera battery died on me and by the time it was charged again, it was dark outside. And heaven knows I wasn't going to tease my hair two days in a row, so I decided to forget filming a “closing shot” for the video altogether. Sooooooo…love me or hate me for it, it is what it is. WHEEW! With all that being said…

(Watch online HERE or click and watch below)

So, that's my take on the whole thing!

Now…the question we should all be asking each other…what do YOU pay your babysitter, and why?