Mums reveal what they pay for babysitting

Posted in Childcare.

I’ll admit I don’t go out much so we have rarely used a babysitter. Besides, my sons’ grandparents are usually our first port of call when needed.

Once, when they were unavailable, I asked the teenage girl next door if she would mind the boys for a few hours so we could go out for dinner. I felt comfortable with this because her mum, a dear friend of ours, was right across the hallway if an adult was needed (we lived in a unit block then).

I had no idea what the going rate for babysitting was though, so I did what all millennial mums do these days: a Facebook call out. But the responses were surprising. Babyology also asked readers what they pay their babysitter, and like my Facebook post, the answers varied.  

$20 an hour is pretty standard

The responses ranged from $10-$15 an hour for inexperienced babysitters to $25+ for those with qualifications in childcare and first aid, or if they were juggling multiple kids – but most mums felt that $20 an hour was pretty standard.

#HELP! How much do you pay your babysitter? My hubby and I are FINALLY having a night out and our friend's 20 year old…

Posted by Babyology on Sunday, May 20, 2018

I was in child care and worked as a nanny as well,” said one reader on Facebook. “I think if your friend’s daughter doesn’t have qualifications in the industry and is just helping out, $20/hr is plenty.”

Lots of mums echoed the $20 an hour rate, which is what I also found when I asked the same question of my friends.

When ABC Radio Sydney asked their listeners what they pay for babysitting, the average was also between $20 and $25.

Some of us feel a little less is okay

While $20 per hour is the norm, many parents felt this was a tad high if the babysitting job didn’t really entail much childcare work. If the parents had fed and bathed the kids, so all that was left for the babysitter to do was read them a few stories, put them to bed and then check on them from time to time while waiting for the parents to come home, then under $20 was acceptable. This was also the vibe among parents if the sitter was a teenager.

One friend told me her teenage kids charge $15 and that was pretty average among their friends. This was also confirmed by a Babyology reader:

“I pay $15 an hour for three kids. Usually fed, bathed and just need to be put to bed. That’s for a teenager, not a qualified nanny or childcare worker.”

mum holding two kids

They will pay more for experienced sitters

On the other hand, parents felt less than $20 an hour wasn’t fair to pay more experienced sitters, especially those with certificates in First Aid, along with childcare qualifications or nanny experience. They felt around the $25 mark was more appropriate.

“We pay ours $25 but she’s from our childcare so has lots of certification and we only have one 2.5 year old child,” said one reader.

As for agencies, the rate for an experienced sitter may vary from $26 up to as much as $40 per hour, according to an ABC interview with Nicky Cosgrove, owner of babysitting employment agency Lullaby Nanny Share in Sydney.

Is there an industry standard?

There isn’t actually an industry standard rate of pay for babysitting. This is because casual or ad-hoc babysitters are not considered employees and therefore don’t have a minimum pay rate. As such, babysitters need to negotiate their fee with parents.

This is different if you have a nanny or au pair. They are not considered babysitters but ongoing employees of your family. As such, they are entitled to the national minimum wage, which in Australia is currently $19.84 per hour.

As for me?

In the end, I offered to pay my sweet teenage neighbour $20 an hour but she would only accept $18. As she put it, “After they went to bed, I checked on them a few times, but didn’t really do anything. I feel like you are basically paying me to watch your TV!” and she was sort of right. But she also has no idea the value of having someone who your children love and who you feel comfortable leaving them with.

I think at the end of the day, what you pay your babysitter is whatever you both agree on and what feels fair.  


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