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How Much Should You Pay For A Babysitter?

Originally published on May 24

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- The cost of a night out on the town isn't just going up in price. You're likely digging for more cash to find somebody to watch your kids as well.

We wanted to know: How much should you pay for a babysitter? Good Question. Jeff Wagner learned a lot has changed since the start of the pandemic.

Time spent with your kids at St. Paul's Como Zoo can be priceless. But without them, that comes with a price.

When we asked several parents how much they might expect pay for a sitter, almost all said they hope to pay $15 an hour. Some like Shawn Cain, anticipated much more.

"I'm gonna say $30 [an hour] because it's sort of right in the middle of what we heard," he said after mentioning some friends of his pay up to $40.

Determining what a babysitter should make versus what parents are able to pay, and what the market dictates makes the final price a moving target.

Urbansitter, a website where parents can book babysitters, tracks the going rates countrywide.

From 2019 to 2021, it said the average cost in Minneapolis for a sitter was just under $13.04 per hour for one child, and $14.68 for two children.

But this year, it jumped all the way to $18.51 an hour for one child and nearly $20 an hour for two.

The national average for one child $20.57 an hour, a jump of 11% from the previous year.

"That's almost what I make in my career," Becky Erickson said with shock on her face.

On Urbansitter, most babysitters in the Minneapolis area were asking for $15-$20 an hour. Some were asking as low as $13. Some parents in the Twin Cities told WCCO on Twitter than they pay $20-$30 an hour.

The day of the week can impact the price, with many parents understanding a sitter will cost more on a weekend. Certain qualifications can also raise the rate.

"Definitely want them certified in CPR," said Erickson.

"Age of the babysitter, references," added Chantel Wohnoutka.

"Dynamics of the children," said Andrea.

"I guess if it's their profession, they're worth that," said Lizzy Irber when it comes to paying higher than $15 an hour.

According to Urbansitter, other factors that can help parents determine a price include:

Location: How far the babysitter had to travel to your home

Job Responsibilities: How many children to watch, cooking meals, doing chores

Skills And Experience: Special certifications or Early Childhood Education degrees might raise the rates.

What are some ways to try and save on babysitting?

"It's a little cheaper when you're working with your family. They're more flexible," said Andrea.

"We pay family about 10 bucks an hour," said Erickson.

"We have friend with teenage and preteen kids that are learning how to babysit. They'll come over and hang out together as sisters sometimes. That helps," said Angela Cain.

Whether it's cash or a kind gesture, leaning on loved ones seems to be the safest way to save. But parents we talked with never expect it to be free of charge.

"If grandma's gonna babysit, we try to bring dinner or make her dinner," said Shawn Cain.

"Whether they're watching my dogs or my kids, I'm like, 'Here's a little extra money for pizza,'" said Irber.

Sitters WCCO talked with said tipping is appreciated, but never expected.

Parents can also offer perks to entice a sitter, such as paying for a meal for the night or covering gas mileage.

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