When my first son was born we lived in Germany. I didn’t have relatives near by and as a military wife your friends rotate pretty regularly. Needless to say Gavin was about 3 when he had his first babysitter and that was “Mom” ! (yes I call her Mom and so do my boys)
And of course Mom was an amazing babysitter and even better she was FREE! My Mother in Law was another amazing babysitter although every once in a while I swear when I came to pick up the boys she had trimmed their hair. Call me crazy but they looked different when I came to pick them up.
Now that we live in Nashville my Mom lives 2 hours away and my Mother in Law is about 7 hours away. My trusted and knowledgable babysitters are too far away now.
That being said we never have left the boys that often and we don’t really now . However we have found that as a married couple, it’s a down right necessity to award ourselves some alone time… even if it’s only a few times a year.
And that brings me to my next point. We are not the go out every weekend type of parents or even the go out every month type parents. I would say we go out about every two months and when we do we usually do something really awesome. While we are doing something really awesome our boys are at home with the most amazing BABYSITTER on EARTH!
Why is she the most AMAZING Babysitter on Earth? To answer that we need to dive deeper in to what makes a great babysitter. Now this may become controversial and you may say well I babysat when I was 12 .. well so did I. I am giving you my perspective as a trained early childhood professional who has managed staff and taken care of thousands of children under the age of six.
BABYSITTER QUALIFICATION CHECKLIST
- No Criminal Background
- Drug and Alcohol Free
- 18 years or older
- Certified in CPR and First Aid ( infant CPR and first aid if caring for an infant)
- Trained in SIDS (if babysitting an infant)
- Responsible and Focused on the care of the Children
- Problem solver and quick thinker
Now before anyone gets all crazy on me…. this is my opinion based on my knowledge and experience in childcare over the past 18 years. These 7 qualifications are the absolute minimum I require of my babysitters. For having these qualifications they are compensated just as any one would be compensated for their qualifications for a job.
Why do I think babysitters need to be 18 years or older?
Here’s why. First and foremost in most states professional childcare givers must be the minimum age of 18 or in the eyes of the law a legal adult. Secondly, I honestly believe that babysitters under the age of 18 may still not have the experience and knowledge in order to comprehend the level of awareness and supervision young children require. Are there exceptions? Absolutely. However my theory is that I would not want to put my kids in the care of a minor and God forbid something happen and that “child” has to deal with those consequences (accident or not) for the rest of their childhood or adult life. This reasoning is exactly why we never leave our 5 year old in the care of our 12 year old. We simply do not want to put that type of pressure or responsibility on him.
To further my point I babysat from the time I was 12. That thought alone scares me and I thank God that all the children I watched are still alive! But in all seriousness even at the age of 16 I made careless mistakes with other people’s children luckily none of them ended in any harm but they easily could have. My best friend and I were probably the most responsible teenagers that ever existed but we look back now as mothers and think why in the world did people trust us with their kids? We absolutely wouldn’t leave our kids with our 16 year old selves much less our 12 year old selves. And I’m just being honest here. I am not judging you if you do this. NOT AT ALL. I am completely aware of the cultural and generational differences.
All of the other qualifications are pretty self explanatory. Your babysitter absolutely needs to be certified in CPR and First Aid. If caring for an Infant or toddler they should have Infant/Toddler CPR and First aid certifications as well as SIDS training.
Now you want to know how I find babysitters with all of these qualifications, RIGHT?
It’s easy… I only hire babysitters that are trained early childhood providers… in other words preschool or childcare teachers or teacher assistants. Surprisingly early childhood providers do not tend to make a large income especially the assistants ( I should know I am one). Many teachers are more than willing and often eager to babysit for you. But there’s one catch… you really want to pay them for their experience.
Now we get to the good part. You want to know how much I pay my babysitter! Well let’s first talk about what NOT to pay your babysitter. The other day on Facebook I asked our readers how much they paid a babysitter. You can read the whole post on Facebook here. I was in SHOCK at the rates. Not only the rates people were paying but the amount of people who babysat and stated their rates.
I really felt torn. I know that many families can’t afford to pay high rates but at the same time hiring a babysitter is a luxury and in my opinion if you have set aside enough money to go out and have fun then you should account for a decent rate for the person who is taking care of our precious children in your absence. (note: not all childcare is a luxury I am only referring to date night babysitting)
Here is a list of the most shocking things I read: (these are all excerpts feel free to read the whole conversation here)
- Most babysitters get paid $3 an hour around here and someone once asked for $5 an hour and everyone said that was too high.
- I receive $1.75/hr kids 3 & up and $2/hr kids 2 & under. Around here thats the going rate even for state paid daycare workers.
- Apparently I need to start charging more… $10-15/hr is crazy. I as a grown woman with 2 kids get paid $5/hr for 2 kids! I pay my 12 year old babysitters 5/hr but the kids are usually ready for bed and fed when they get here.
- Well i don’t have kids, but I’m a babysitter. I receive $5/hr (more if there are more than 3 kids) and people hire me because I have so much experience, and because i took babysitting classes as a teenager. Oh and because I’m cheap compared to most.
- My daughter has quite often babysat 2-4 children for 5 or more hours, fed them dinner, cleaned house, played games, put them to bed and come home with $10.
I honestly can not even comprehend paying someone only $1.75 an hour to watch my kid. Not because I believe they wouldn’t care for him but because it’s really a respect thing. I mean this person is taking care of a human life! People who mow lawns make $30 an hour… come on people this is just INSANITY!
If you are making this rate please please take my advice and don’t settle for this anymore. If you are qualified people will pay you!
Take a look at the chart above. All of these things should be considered when determining what to pay your babysitters. Our readers below seem to absolutely share the same idea. Many of these readers are from Urban areas, expect experience and qualifications and agree to pay more according to additional responsibilities.
- I’m CPR and first aid certified and I charge 15$ a day per child.
- I paid $15 an hour for my daughter’s babysitter. Knowing she was in totally capable hands with an adult who had CPR and first aid training gave me complete peace of mind. Afterall this was my precious child.
- My daughter, who is a 24 yr old college student, charges $10-15 per hour. It depends on the number of children as well. She works in the school district’s before and after school care program. She is also CPR, infant CPR and has training in First Aid. We live in Southern California and that is the going rate here. Also she drives which is important to parents as well. She can pick up and drop off kids.
- I am stunned at what some of you all are paying! I live in McAllen, TX where cost of living is less than most areas of the country, but our minimal going rate for a qualified sitter is $10-15 an hour per child! Must be CPR certified and have reliable references.
- We pay our babysitter $15 ($10 first kid & $5 for 2nd)…that is a registered nurse who is older. The younger girl…college…charges $10/hr, but I paid her $15 because the first one told me that was the going rate. Both are CPR certified & like a previously said one is a RN & the other one I found at the gym daycare so I know she’d had a background check! I wouldn’t have done one, but knowing both have makes me feel better in a new town
I haven’t had a sitter in many years, but my girls are CPR/First Aid certified which makes them quite marketable. They charge $10/hr for one child & an additional $5/hr each additional child. They are both very hands-on & love to get on their charges levels to play. Because of this they have several repeat/steady jobs since the kids love them.
Bottom line the person you are letting in to your home absolutely needs to be a trusted, responsible and qualified individual. One that is able to make quick decisions and have the ability to protect and if need be save your child in an emergency. I hope that after reading all of the comments from our readers and reading my experience you will consider raising the qualifications for your child’s babysitter and raising his/her pay rate.
Now I told you I was going to tell you how much we pay. ..
We pay at the very minimum $15 an hour. If it’s a holiday or a late night we usually add $20-$30 to the total we are paying. I absolutely want this full time teacher to make more with us then she does at preschool. Why? Because she deserves it! And in all honesty in my opinion all childcare providers deserve that rate but that’s a whole different battle.
Now tell us, what do you pay your sitter? What qualifications did I leave off that are a must in your house?