Thursday, October 4, 2007

How much do you pay your sitter?

I'm not trying to be rude, but it came up at a moms dinner I attended a couple of weeks ago. And wouldn't you know it? There are mothers out there that pay - get this - $35 an hour.

When I heard this, I fainted.

Then, I found out that the general consensus was that $35 was a bit excessive (you think?) but that $20 an hour was fair. That's when I picked myself off the floor and started to dig into my dinner so I wouldn't have to join in the conversation. I also thanked my lucky stars for my sitter, to whom I pay an apparently pathetic $15/hr. I always thought that $15 (plus tip!) was a generous wage. I guess I was wrong.

When I first moved here (and by here, I mean the suburbs hugging Route 128) I had no idea that the cost of living would be so high. I'm not even going to get into the 5 years and the housing meltdown it took for us to put down our roots here. We were immobilized by severe sticker shock.

And then I had kids and needed a sitter. (Remember, we have no roots here.) I placed ads on sittercity offering $10/hr, then $11 and so on.

No takers. Because I had no idea what a sitter cost. It took a year for me to figure this out, because I felt rude asking people what they paid.

I'm sure there are new mothers out there looking for this very information. Let's share! No need to leave our fellow mothers in the dark! You can leave a comment below, or if you want to remain anonymous you can email me at everydaytreats@gmail.com, I'll compile the answers into a handy-dandy reference list.

Knowledge is power ladies.

BABYSITTING RATES BY AREA

Newton and surrounding towns: $14-20/hr ($8-10 for a mother's helper)

North of Boston $7/hr (plus tips)

Vermont $10/hr (no tips)

65 comments:

Ladybug's Picnic said...

Okay, so we live north of the city - a good 25-30 minutes north, so I do believe our rates are lower due to geographic reasons. However, I pay my sitter $7/hr plus tip. I tip her pretty generously. I pick her up at her house and drive her home. I offered her a dollar raise if she took a babysitting/CPR course - and I offered to pay for the course, too. She just turned 15 and she's a doll. She's the younger sister of one of my best friends, so that helps, too.

I think if it came right down to it - if my sitter demanded $35/hour I would probably just stay home :)

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

Oh, how I hate to horribly date myself, but when I was 12 years old (a long, long time ago), the hourly rate for my babysitting expertise was a whopping 25 cents/hour (that's CENTS, ladies!).

And one time a Mom actually gave me $2.00 for babysitting for her 4 young daughters for 6 hours. Tip? No. She asked me if I could come back with 50 cents because she didn't have the change.

I wish I could help with the latest "wages"... inflation has certainly helped!

By the way, I never babysat for that family again. And my parents would not allow me to bring the Mom the 50 cents. Love you, Mom and Dad!

Sharon - Pinks & Blues Girls

Ladybug's Picnic said...

PS. I could go for a "mom's dinner" with the NE Mamas one of these days!

P in VT said...

Well, I'm from NE but not a Mama... I do babysit a lot though and up here in VT $10/is normal no tip. My sisters and I think that's great though- - the kids are usually in bed by 7:30-9:00 and we just hang out until the parents come home. The parents are usually out for 5-7 hours... $60 for a night of playing with kids and reading books? I'll take it!

Whirlwind said...

Um wow - most of my friends pay $5 an hour around here no matter how many kids there are. Husband and I would probably pay $10 but we've never used a sitter so I really don't know.

Elizabeth said...

I guess I'm getting off easy here in Northern VT at $7.00 an hour.. and what's this TIP thing? Ummm that's cash, under the table who tips?

Mammawannabe said...

Okay, I'm feeling REALLY pathetic. We pay my cousin $20 to watch my two children (9 & 11)...overnight...we live in NH...does that make any difference at all?

Let the slapping begin. I PROMISE I will pay her more!

Anonymous said...

**picks herself off floor after reading first paragraph**

Um, I'm a professional in diagnostic imaging and I don't quite make $35/hr after 15+ yrs.
Maybe I need to become a babysitter
in a rich community-Holy Shit!!

(I am becoming more sure I can't afford to be a single mom even if my eggs are getting old)

Miguelina. said...

I think you guys are paying the right amount, maybe I need to move.

When I was 20 I was making $6.85 an hour.

(PS - My sitter makes $15 BUT she also cooks and does laundry - she's older and VERY old school. I refuse to pay a teenager anything over $10.)

Ladybug's Picnic said...

If I could find a sitter that would do my laundry I take back the above comment. I'd pay her $100/hr.

Kidding. Well, sort of.

sandy shoes said...

One of these days I hope to meet one of these "babysitter" people I hear so much about.

I will pay that person no more than $10/hour, and I'd hope for more like $7. $7-$10/hour cash to watch TV while my girls sleep is a pretty good gig.

I will also come home early, in case I end up with a teenage babysitter who is anything like I was as a teenage babysitter.

sandy shoes said...

Forgot to say where I am: upper Cape Cod. That's about the going rate around here from what I hear.

Good topic Miguelina, thank you.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I'm south of Boston, about 30 miles, and there is no way I'm paying $35 an hour for a sitter! Yikes!

Anyway, I pay between $8 and $10 an hour. The $8 an hour is for the 13 year old next door who watches the kids once a week so I can go food shopping alone (during the day). It gets closer to $10 an hour for the 16yo who watches them while husband and I go out for dinner.

I think there may be a difference, though, between "babysitter" and "nanny" rates. A new neighbor who had lived on the south shore, said she paid her nanny $25 an hour---I would think a nanny would be older, have more training, and may be able to drive your kids around and handle things like doctor visits and playdates. A babysitter gives them too many snacks, plays games and lets them watch tv until mom and dad get home.

Elaine said...

I am a part time child care provider in the midwest. Thought this was very interesting. $15/hr. and tip IS very generous. I make $10/hr. plus gas and tip. If I do overnights, I charge $125-$150 a day depending on the job.

$35 is ridiculous, that lady is getting swindled!

Elaine said...

p.s. I am 23, working on a masters in education, and have 10 years experience working with children of all ages!

margalit said...

My daughter, who is 15 and took the babysitting class at NWH, sits for a family with 2 year old twins and a 5 year old that is a HANDFUL. She gets paid...yes, hold on and sit down... the paltry sum of $5.00/hour. I am FURIOUS about this, but she refuses to ask for a raise, and she also refuses to allow ME to talk to the family. It's ridiculous the advantage their taking of her. She's sat for them over 2 years now with NO RAISE. And they can afford more. Lots more.

I used to pay $10-$12 for my twins way back when.

I wish we could find more families for her to sit for that would pay her. She comes home after HOURS of sitting with less than $20 bucks sometimes. It makes me so mad.
So, if you do use a babysitter, don't rip them off. It's mean and they don't feel strong enough to ask for money on their own. PAY THEM THE GOING RATE.

Ladybug's Picnic said...

Well, I think the point is that the going rate varies wildly from place to place and from situation to situation. Margalit, I think we'd all agree that your daughter absolutely deserves a raise, watching three kids during the day! I pay $7/hr for my sitter to sit on the couch and talk on her cell - she only sits after I've put my (one) daughter to bed myself.

Miguelina. said...

The point of this post is certainly not to take advantage of sitters, but to shed light on what rates are around our region. It took me a while to figure out what other parents are paying and for what. I figure if I had a tough time others probably did as well.

I agree that every situation is different--I'm sure that even $35 lady has her reasons for paying that amount--maybe her sitter/nanny is a PhD or something, who knows.

(Margalit, those people have some NERVE. Really.)

cape buffalo said...

Now I feel cheap. We pay $10/hr (less for mothers helper stuff) for one kid but we always throw in an extra $20-40 for them to order in or go do something fun. When we were in Boston we also tossed in an extra $20 for cab fare (if the chose to take the T, they pocketed it- their prerogative). We also don't pay less if our daughter is sleeping--- I know some people do.

And we always round up to the next hour... so that $10 is a base. An evening of sitting usually costs more than the dinner or movie we went out for in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I pay $10/hour in the western burbs, if I can. I use sittercity, and have found some great college students who are still willing to sit for that. I met one college-age sitter who charges a minimum $15, so I use her as a last resort if one of my $10 sitters can't do it. I'm a hold-out, but we just couldn't afford to go out otherwise.

Margalit - show your daughter this thread. I remember as a kid getting paid way too little for sitting but too uncomfortable to say anything about it. I'm mad now, looking back, and I wish my parents had encouraged me to speak up for myself (or talked to the parents for me, that would've been great).

Emma In MA said...

MA North Shore (Manchester-by-the-sea)- daughter ( 17) gets paid around$10 per hour, plus a kitchen stocked with yummy food, and whatever take out/delivery she wants!Although she is on the Wrestling team, and has to eat sensibly! This, I'm told is a bit low, but her employers are family friends. When she needed a sitter I used to pay$5-7 p/h, but had problems even finding a sitter most of the time!

Emma In MA said...

OOh, I forgot to mention that the offspring DD looks after is a baby, she has been working for the parents since he was 3 months old. She adores him, and he her! I wonder if pay rates differ depending on age of child, and level of care needed?

Janice (aka HRH, Mme. L) said...

I am in the Lakes Region of NH..I pay $6 an hour, and round up...(if she's here for 3 hours = $18 I give her $20 for example) and usually, I drop a few extra 1s her way too...I supply take out dinner...as far as I can tell from talking around here, I pay more than my other Mama friends..I also pick up and drop the sitter home..

Kris said...

I had a sitter from 2002-2004, and I paid her $10 an hour. She babysat for us last fall and said her rate went up to $15. I pretty much cannot afford anything over $10. We live in Danvers, north of Boston.

Velma said...

We have two adult babysitters who both have enormous experience, and we pay them $15 an hour, no tip, for two kids (one wth special needs).

I do give them Christmas bonuses of a couple hundred dollars, because they have each been with us for years and are completely trustworthy and worth it, and at this point, they are worth so much more! Both of them are CORI-ed, and one is a special-needs assistant in a local pre-school while the other is the mom of 4... including twins!

We always tried to hire our pre-school teachers as babysitters - much more mature, CPR certified, more flexible schedules, and they already knew our kids personalities.

$35/hr? Really? They better be scrubbing my toilets as well as teaching my kids French for that kind of money!

Tricia said...

I must be in the WRONG field! And I will probably NEVER go out again at THOSE rates. Good thing I no longer live in Boston!

elena ciampa said...

Hi all, this is an awesome blogspot. I live in Northampton, Massachusetts. My husband and I have a 6-yr-old girl and a 3-yr-old boy. We pay our self-transporting late hs or college age sitters 12/hr. for the 2 kids. Now my man and I want to go for an overnight.... does anyone know how we pay an overnight sitter? I think we'd be away for about 36 hrs....

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