“How much should I pay a babysitter?”

Image: via Shutterstock

If you have tiny kids, you may only rarely get out as a couple or with friends. When you do get around to planning your fun evening, you’ll realise you’ll need to budget for a babysitter. For some parents, a grandparent or aunt may be happy to spend time with your kids (sometimes even for free!), but here are some factors you should consider if you’re hiring a babysitter:

Rates may depend on:
  • Hours expected to work (some sitters charge a lower rate before and a premium rate after midnight, or increased rates after, say, four hours, for example).
  • Age and quantity of kids being looked after (if you have two kids, it’s NOT ok to invite ten other kids over for a sleepover, and expect the sitter to manage a slumber party!). Babysitters may even charge "per head".
  • Petrol: Some sitters may ask for fuel costs to be paid, in addition to an hourly rate.
Professional agencies
R55-R100 p/h

Agencies have a pool of experienced babysitters for hire. They receive commission for providing sitters who know how to handle kids. These sitters are used to different kinds of families and children, and very often have additional childcare experience, such as teaching. It’s not uncommon for them to have first aid skills and the ability to assist with homework.

Professional/part-time babysitters
R40-60 p/h

They may advertise at the local library, or in the community newspaper. They’ll charge slightly less than an agency, usually, as there’s no commission involved, but they are doing this for the income.

The kid next door
Remuneration varies, between R15-R50 p/h

The kid next door could be a friend or neighbour’s older child. It will be a way for them to make some ad hoc pocket money or pay towards their studies. Make sure they are responsible and understand what you expect of them.

Some babysitters will provide a flat rate for a whole day/night’s work, to be mutually agreed upon.

Other considerations:
  • Lifts: If you are expected to take the sitter home after your night out, then make sure that there’s a designated driver, or else be prepared to call a cab. Babysitters should never have to ride with a drunk driver.
  • Cash: Do make sure you have some left at the end of your night out- electronic bank transfers take some time. Some parents even “forget” to pay their sitters.
  • Leave a contact number- even if it is a relative or neighbour, or the number of a restaurant, in case of emergencies.
Make sure your kids are on their best behaviour, leave a tasty snack out, and don’t hide the TV remote- your sitter may not want to watch the Disney channel after the children are asleep!

Follow Scott on and Parent24 on Twitter.

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