How Much Do You Pay Your Babysitter?

“Bankrupt by Babysitter!”

It’s a mock headline, but one that is apropos after speaking to my friend in Atlanta, who claims her bank account, has been sapped by her babysitter.

The babysitter she pays $15 an hour to watch her three kids (who are 2, 4, and 6).

Fifteen bucks an hour! That’s more than I made working my first post-college job… and my second… and third—COMBINED!

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little (and by little I mean like 50 cents–COMBINED), but I think my exasperation is warranted.

Fifteen dollars an hour for watching three well-behaved children watch TV for 45 minutes prior to their bedtime, then remaining in a phat pad with a stocked refrigerator and DIRECTV until the kids’ parents come home?

Where do I sign up for that job?

I suppose I should be grateful that I have a host of friends, who continuously volunteer to watch my young daughter, free of charge, on the rare occasions that I need to attend kid-free functions.

Goodness knows if I had to shell out 15 bucks an hour for a babysitter I wouldn’t leave the house without my kid—-EVER! Heck, if I had to pay that amount of money to a sitter, I probably wouldn’t have enough money to live in a house.

I wonder how much I would have to pay a sitter to watch my kid in a van?

Once I got over my initial babysitting rate sticker shock I did some research. According to, which features a nifty calculator to determine the going rate for babysitters across the U.S., there are a number of components that factor into a sitter’s hourly rate, including:

*Number of children

*Age of children

*Location of your home

*Temperament of children

*Special needs of children

*Age of sitter

*Experience level of sitter

*Extras (e.g. doing household work once kids are in bed, cooking meals for children, etc.)

My friend lives outside a major metropolitan area, her sitter is 16, her kids are angels, she cooks all meals and doesn’t require her sitter to place a single dish in the sink, and she and her husband always return home on time.

Still, my pal insists that if she didn’t pay $15 an hour for a warm-blooded teen to hang out in her home with her kids while she was gone, she would be up the creek because that’s the going rate for babysitters in her area. Translation: If my friend is not willing to dig deep for a teen entrepreneur to cash in, then she can kiss date night with her hubby goodbye.

How much do you pay your sitter? Does $15 seem steep for three kids?

Related Articles:

Do You Use Your TV as a Babysitter?

Who Watches Your Kids on Vacation?

Do You Leave Your Kids Alone in the Car?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.