- The average rates of babysitting vary from $14/hour for one child in the least expensive region of the country to $23/hour for three kids in the most expensive region of the country, according to UrbanSitter.
- Other factors, like the babysitter age and experience, specialized skills, and time of year (regular days vs. holidays), also affect the price.
- Only 55% of parents tip their babysitters after every job.
When it comes to parenting, one thing is constant: Childcare is expensive, and the costs are only increasing. According to UrbanSitter, a site that connects parents with caregivers, national rates of babysitting have increased 2% since last year, and they've increased 18% in the last five years. So, when tallying up the cost of having a kid, after you factor in the gear, the clothes, the food, and the daily care, how much should you budget for babysitting (so you can go out for a night on the town to de-stress from worrying about how to afford the gear, the clothes, the food, the daily care, and the babysitting)?
UrbanSitter notes the national average babysitting rate is $16.75/hour for one child, according to its data, but what you'll actually spend depends on a variety of other factors.
Where you live is the biggest determining factor when it comes to rates of babysitting.
Clutch your wallets if you live in the West Coast; that's where childcare is most expensive. It's also the area of the country that has seen the biggest rate increase in the last five years. If you live in the South, though, you can breathe a sigh of relief at having the lowest rates. Here are the UrbanSitter averages, broken down by region, rounded to the nearest dollar:
- West Coast: $19/hour for one child; $21/hour for two children; $23/hour for three children.
- East Coast: $17/hour for one child; $20/hour for two children; $22/hour for three children.
- Midwest: $15/hour for one child; $17/hour for two children; $19/hour for three children.
- Southwest: $14/hour for one child; $16/hour for two children; $18/hour for three children.
- South: $14/hour for one child; $16/hour for two children; $18/hour for three children.
More than three kids? A general rule of thumb is to add $2/hour for each additional child. Most parents on UrbanSitter hire a babysitter just once or twice a month, but spend between $10,000 and $20,000 on childcare per year.
The qualities you look for in a babysitter can make those numbers go up.
The difference between a high schooler that's just watching your child while you work and a more experienced sitter with better credentials shows up in the bill at the end of the night. UrbanSitter's data shows that sitters age 18 and under on average charge $2.50/hour less than older ones, and sitters with with college degrees and specialized skills (like CPR, a driver's license, or fluency in a foreign language) have higher rates. To save money, UrbanSitter recommends using a sitter with a lower rate if your child will be sleeping for the majority of time you're out.
Timing matters, too.
If you're going out on a random Tuesday, you can probably save a few dollars. But of you want a high-ticket night out, prepare to pay more. UrbanSitter found that 74% of sitters will charge at least 1½ times more than normal rate on New Year's Eve, and 53% of parents are willing to pay it. And, to all you anti-cupids out there, you're in good company: Only 4% of parents prioritized going out on Valentine's Day. (We're with you; prix-fixe menus suck.)
There is some good news, though, especially for parents who tend to procrastinate: UrbanSitter's data shows that, for last-minute bookings, rates only increase around 3% (for those looking for a sitter within a period of 24 hours or less). There's also not really a significant difference between weekday and weekend rates. And it seems that parents get a deal on longer hours for overnight stays: the average 10-hour overnight job, it founds, costs around $125 to $150.
Don't forget about the last impression: a tip.
UrbanSitter found that 45% of parents don't leave a tip at the end of the night. (C'mon, people.) Of the 55% who do, 29% just round up, 14% give up to 20% of the total, 7% just add an extra $5 no matter what, and the rest just give some other amount. Raising kids is hard and childcare is a money pit, but we all have an extra $5 in our wallets for the person who kept our kids alive for a night, right?
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