What you should be paying your babysitter

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Apart from "How do I find the right babysitter?" one of the most frequently asked questions by parents is: "How much should I pay my babysitter?"

There’s no set rate when it comes to paying a babysitter and you might want to avoid an awkward moment at the end of your night when neither you or the babysitter know what amount needs to be settled. You also want to ensure that your babysitter is willing to come back the next time you need childcare, so paying them fairly will help to ensure that. 

Read more: Where no babysitter dares

Secrets of the sitter

In some cases, the role of the babysitter rarely extends past chilling on the couch watching movies with a baby monitor and perhaps a little nap in between before you get home. In other cases, it requires complete sole charge of the children’s dinner, bath and bedtime routine, light household duties and other hands on expectations.

If you know that your kids are a handful and that finding a babysitter who's willing to take on the duties and responsibilities of looking after them, don't expect the babysitter to rush into the next offer you extend to him/her for babysitting if you've been paying them R40 an hour. 

If you're looking for world-class childcare, you're going to have to pay a world-class rate

Age, experience, qualifications and the general relationship between the parents and the babysitter are some of the factors that affect the rate of pay for babysitting. 

If you're looking for world-class childcare, you're going to have to pay a world-class rate. If you feel that you only need someone to be there to put your baby's dummy back in its mouth and to feed the pets at the very most, you might feel okay with getting a high-school or university student to sit in while you're out. 

When we asked the Facebook users of Parent24 what they pay their babysitters, the rates per hour started from as little as R40 right up to R150 per hour depending on a number of factors. 

"I pay R50 per hour, little more after midnight. I only have one child, so not sure what the norm is for more than one." -Ilse Zager

"R150 per hour or R550 if longer than 4hours. But not longer than 6hours." -Melissa Verster Burkett

Agency vs hiring privately?

One way to consider what you will pay your babysitter is to check with childcare agencies. Childcare agencies are usually up to date with what the estimated amount should be, based on your requirements, the babysitter's experience and the number of children you have. Most au pair and babysitting agencies quote anywhere between R60 and R110 an hour for babysitting.

Going through an agency might be a reliable way to ensure that you don't end up with someone who's completely inexperienced to look after your kids, but you'll probably have to pay a fee to the agency too should you wish to appoint one of their babysitters. 

Perhaps you know of a family friend or your neighbour's teen who's looking for babysitting hours and you'd prefer to have someone you know and trust look after your kids. Discuss and establish a set amount before the night and make sure you and the babysitter are clear on what is expected from both sides. 

Qualities of a world-class babysitter (R80-R150 per hour)

  • Ideally, the perfect babysitter will have the following qualities. Use this as a good indicator when determining what amount you'll be paying your babysitter.
  • An up-to-date first aid certificate and relevant childcare qualifications
  • Plenty of childcare references and experience with children of different ages (or specific to the ages of your children)
  • A reliable car and valid driver's licence (which should be considered in the event that your child needs to be taken to hospital while you're out)
  • Maturity and reliability: If you trust your babysitter and your children feel comfortable around him/her it's worth paying them well enough to ensure reliability and availability.
  • A trustworthy and loyal nature: A professional babysitter won't be inviting their boyfriends and friends over for movies or a small party while you're out (unless you approve that). They wouldn't take advantage of your phone, smoke or drink while the kids are asleep, or catch up on their social forums while your kids are in the bath. You'll feel that you can relax and enjoy your evening out knowing that your kids are well looked after by your babysitter. 

Click on the link below to find out how to make sure your babysitter is keen and willing to look after your kids the next time you need to go out: 

Keeping a good relationship with your babysitter

What do you pay your babysitter? Join our Facebook chat or send your stories to chatback@parent24.com

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