Busy parents: what to pay a babysitter?

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- If you’re like me a night out on the town is always much needed with two young children at home.  The real question is, can you afford it?!  Half the time once I factor in the “date night” costs plus the babysitter I could have had a new outfit or paid for groceries for the week!  Ouch.  But for those times you just need to escape and you search your iphone contacts for your tried and true favorites here’s some things to consider when it comes to pay.

How much to pay a babysitter

Credit: thinkstock/Lordn

Understanding the difference between daycare pay and babysitting pay

The first thing I’ve learned is that the cost you pay your regular daycare (hourly rate) is often much different than what you pay a sitter for an evening.

The cost of a sitter can depend on how many children and of course how long you will be away.  It’s best to discuss this up front with your sitter so everyone is on the same page.

Day rates vs. hourly rates

I personally take two different approaches.  When I’m going to be for more than a few hours I will often text the sitter, “an offer”.  Something like this, “Hi.  I”m looking for someone to watch both kids on xx date from 10am-5pm.  It pays $50 for the day if you’re available and interested.”   This allows me to pay what I think is reasonable for anything over 4 or 5 hours and it let’s the sitter decide if they are willing for that rate.   The other approach I use is the hourly rate which for me, is $10 an hour for both kids for a high school sitter.  Do what works for you.

Include dinner

When we hire a babysitter in the evening I always make sure to provide dinner for the kids and the sitter if the gig starts anytime prior to 6:30pm.  If I need a sitter for 6:30pm or later I always let them now the kids will have already have had their dinner.  Order pizza or whip up some pasta quick to keep everyone happy.

The going rate

The average in Michigan for babysitters is approx. $10-$15 an hour.  Choose what works best for you and the sitter.

Good luck and enjoy that night on the town!

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