What Is The Going Rate To Pay A Babysitter?

In most cases, a babysitting arrangement will be incredibly unique. Every family, babysitter and situation is completely different. 

When you welcome your new baby into the world it is difficult to ever imagine a time where you will be separated from them. At some point in the future, there is a good chance that you may require a babysitter for a period of time. Finding a trusted babysitter is a really important task and when you find the right person there is a huge sense of relief.
But how much do you pay the babysitter? You may be hearing a lot of opposing information and you want to find a good balance between paying your trusted babysitter enough to thank them for taking care of your most prized possession and then not overpaying them to the point where you cannot afford to use their services.

These days there really is no black and white answer to this question. In most cases, a babysitting arrangement will be incredibly unique. Every family, babysitter and situation is completely different. For example in some cases babysitting only happens when the kids are tucked up in bed asleep. The babysitter may never interact with the children and spends the evening watching TV and eating snacks. That does not discount the fact that they are giving you their time, have a great responsibility of care and the payment should, of course, reflect that.

In other cases, a family may have several children and part of the babysitting duties involve feeding the kids, dressing them for bed and tucking them up for the night. The kids may be notorious for waking several times and this babysitting situation involves a lot of negotiation and walking up and down a set of stairs.
It is quite difficult to consider those two babysitting situations as being worthy of the same payment but in order to be politically correct, we probably should be. We are paying a babysitter for their time. The specific dynamic of the family, routines and children’s personalities should not determine how much or how little the babysitter is paid. In an employment situation, one does not get paid more for a day that was particularly busy. In the same way, they will not be paid less and punished for a slow day at the office.

The best way to pay your babysitter is to agree upon an hourly rate or an overall “package”. For example, in our case, we pay either €30 or €50 usually. €30 is what we pay if we go to the cinema and are gone for about three hours. €50 is what we pay if we go on a bigger night out and don’t return home until a late hour such as 2am (extremely rarely).
This is something that our babysitter has come to expect and everyone is happy with the set-up. If there happened to be a time where we needed the babysitter for a much smaller or much longer amount of time we would most likely look at it independently and ensure that we were paying too much rather than too little. After all, this person is responsible for keeping our children safe. It is someone we trust completely and they are affording us the experience of being able to enjoy a rare date night together.

We’ve asked a couple of parents what they pay their babysitter and as you will see the answers vary greatly. The truth is there really is no black and white answer or exact amount we can advise you to pay. However, one thing is for sure – communication is key. Have the conversation from the get-go and ensure that all parties are happy with the arrangement and what is expected of them.

What do you pay your babysitter?

Jen, mum of two, Dublin – "We rarely go out but when we do we always pay €10 an hour. We will round up rather than down when we look at the time. Our babysitter puts the kids to bed and that is no easy task."

Margaret, mum of three, Cork – "We always pay a flat rate of €50 because there are three children. There is always one kid who is tough work on any particular night and even though we are never away for more than four hours we feel that payment is justified. We have a great babysitter and wouldn’t want to lose her."

Erin, mum of two, Dublin – "We pay around €7 per hour but we always leave her some dinner and an array of goodies to enjoy while we are out. 99% of the time the kids are asleep when she arrives and do not wake at all. She seems to actually enjoy it and has never complained about the payment."

John, father of one, Wicklow – "Our babysitter is a niece and we always end up paying more than we feel is justified because we fear that her parents would think badly of us if it wasn’t enough. I wish we had agreed an hourly rate in the beginning as it is quite stressful."

Amy, single mum of one, Waterford – "I’ve never needed our babysitter for more than two hours because I am breastfeeding and the baby will not take a bottle. When the baby wakes I head home to feed her. I always pay €30 because I feel €20 wouldn’t be enough to justify the babysitter giving up her night to work for me."

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at  www.loveofliving.ie.

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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