Wednesday, August 5, 2009

You Don't Sit on the Baby

My first summer living in Louisiana I spent as a camp counselor. It was what I did throughout most of high school and college, and I wanted one my summer as a counselor before I ended grad school. I had a great summer, and at the end one of the parent's asked if I'd been willing to babysit. "Of course!" After all, who doesn't like a few extra dollars.

A few weeks after the summer ended they called to see if I could watch the kids. They lived not that far from my apartment at the time so I had no trouble finding the place. The night went really smoothly. I made frozen pizza. The kids watched one of the Air Bud movies on TV. They even went to sleep pretty easily.

The trouble only started when the parents got home. I was giving them a report of the night, and they asked how much I charged. Well, that far more complicated than it seemed. I hadn't actually babysat since high school. Back in high school I used to charge $10 an hour (which was even on the low side compared to some of my friends). But when I was in high school I was 16 or 17 when I was baby-sitting, and at the time I was 22. So based on the fact I was older I would guess I should charge slightly more, and one would think in general babysitting rates have gone up over the past 6 years or so.

However, when I babysat in high school I was in California. But, now I was in Louisiana. And things cost more in California than they do in Louisiana. Minimum wage is less in California than it is in Louisiana. So I should be charging less than I used to in California.

I figured that since I should be charging more on one opinion and less on the other opinion, if I kept my same rate I'd be safe. I really did try to avoid saying anything, "I'm fine with whatever you normally pay your baby-sitters," but that wasn't working. So I finally sucked it up and said, "I charge $10 an hour."

I pretty much completely overestimated the going rate for a babysitter in Louisiana. Turns out they normally paid $7 an hour for a babysitter. I told them $7 would be fine, but they insisted. Then there was the fact they didn't have enough cash to pay me for $10 an hour. Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you look at it) they were able to find their checkbook and wrote me a check for $10 an hour. And let's just say they never actually called me again to babysit. I'm guess they went back to a babysitter that was at least a little cheaper than me.

So I'm curious, did you babysit when you were growing up? Do you remember what the going rate for then? Or maybe you currently have kids? If that's the case what do you normally pay your babysitters? Maybe we can come to some sort of nationwide (or maybe even worldwide) average!



  1. When I babysat in high school, I think I got around $4 or $5 an hour! This was also ten years ago...

  2. About 6 years ago I got around 6 bucks an hour... lol

  3. When I babysit in high school it was usually around $5 an hour. i think $10 now is pretty standard depending on the number of children and their ages...

  4. I have never babysat, can you believe it! I always wanted to, I loved the Babysitter Club books, but there really were no young kids around for me to watch! :) so I have no idea how much one would charge, wherever they are located! but I feel for you, that would have been a tough situation for me too. I would have just been like, "oh, whatever you normally pay is fine..." just like you.

  5. When I babysat in high school i got around $10 an hour however, I babysat for a very sweet family a month ago and they paid me $13 dollars an hour! I thought that was a little high but they said that was the going rate now for our area (I live right outside of Boston)

  6. I used to babysit and I got around 6-7 dollars an hour. Sometimes they would give me extra if they were later than normal but this was like ten years ago to. I haven't babysat since in forever.

  7. I used to get $4/hour PER kid. So, if I was babysitting three kids, I got $12/hour.

    Most of the babysitting I did was for my cousins, and they were always very generous with pay so that was nice.

  8. I did baby sit when I was a kid. I'm started to think I was ripped off. I think I got $3-$5 per hour.

  9. In DC, my coworkers pay $17 an hour.