Babysitters - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 04-17-2003, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I want to go out with dh!
What is the going rate?
I have a few ideas of who to ask/hire, but I don't know how much to pay them.
Do you do other perks for your sitters? Do you make them dinner? What ground rules do you lay?
Ds is 4 and loves to have sitters. He is shy around new people but thinks being babysat is really a blast. Probably cuz he gets undivided attention for a couple of hours.
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#2 of 15 Old 04-17-2003, 09:28 PM
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Hey there! I swap sitting with my friend- I'll watch her daughter, then she'll come and watch mine. i like this, cause it's free, the kids are with someone that's here all of the time anyway, and I trust her. Hope this helps! Warmly, Heather E

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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#3 of 15 Old 04-17-2003, 09:35 PM
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I have an amazing sitter that charges 6 dollars an hour. I always round up when I pay her, and i gave her a hundred dollars at X-mas. She is awesome-she always calls just to see how jade is doing, she is always bringing jade presents. I usually leave money for her to order pizza-which Jade considers a big treat. It is so great to have someone we totally trust to babysit, cause we have no family in town and would never be able to go out without her.
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#4 of 15 Old 04-17-2003, 10:04 PM
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Rule #1 - No friends, especially BOYfriends

Rule #2 - You, the mother pick the girl up and drop her off. You don't want dh accused of anything untoward and false.

Rule #3 - Write out all rules that you expect the babysitter to do like bottlefeeding, blankets, cleaning up toys; show her how to use the Television, the stereo, the VCR, the DVD. Leave her your cell#, pager#, next door neighbor (if reliable) #, and a nearby relative (if dependable)#.

Rule #4 - Leave out a small snack. A babysitter will eat, but leaving this one thing out will keep her out of your kitchen.

Rule #5 - tell her what time you will be home, and come back earlier. That way you can see if she is to be trusted.

I babysat for years - throughout high school and college. I was always dependable. I got lots of jobs b/c of the shenanigans taht other babysitters were up to.
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#5 of 15 Old 04-17-2003, 10:08 PM
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Six dollars an hour is a going rate for one/two children.

I drove to the house in my own car, and people would try to take advantage of me by combining two families and disappearing for hours, and then try to pay me $0.50 an hour.

These were professional people who had the $ and apparently the chutzpah to try to screw me.
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#6 of 15 Old 04-17-2003, 11:24 PM
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Here I pay $8 for a wonderful college student down the street. Since she lives nearby she comes to my house. She knows the rules for ds (no TV for example). To be honest I've never thought to ask her about friends etc. but I doubt that she would do that. She is a nursing student and has tons of babysitting experience. She knows child CPR. Anybody who takes care of ds has free access to our food but it's usually pretty boring. It only seems fair since ds will want to eat something while we're away.

I have always had trial runs (more than 1) with people who've taken care of my son. I of course pay for the person's time and can get a sense of how ds and the babysitter are together.
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#7 of 15 Old 04-17-2003, 11:45 PM
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I live in a small town in Ontario, Canada. (I figure location has something to do with the going rate.) I pay $5/hour for an 18 month old and a 4 year old. I also round up to the nearest hour. I do not provide transportation. As a single parent, I would have to take the kids with me. Also, since it's close to minimum wage, I figure if they were at a 'job', they would lose taxes AND have to arrange their own transportation. I never expected people to pay for me to get to or from their home when I babysat. However, if I am out past midnight, I will pay for a cab home because I don't expect my sitter to walk at that hour. (Earlier than that she can usually get a ride or catch the bus.)

I always tell them to help themselves and allow friends (even a boyfriend) over if they're babysitting at night. People I used to babysat for allowed this and I never abused it. I leave out snacks, dinner (something easy to prepare, like pizza). I allow full VCR, satellite, computer and phone use. I leave my cell number which I only have for this reason. I leave a list of basic routine/activities. I think yummy snacks are a perk of babysitting. I also do a meeting with potential babysitters, myself and my children, followed by a trial run where I'm working in another area of the house and then a short run where I go grocery shopping or something.

It's so stressful. I went through 5 trial runs before I found someone to do a short-out-of-the-house run -- ugh. And, I just did a short run today with a back-up. So far, so good.

Good luck!
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#8 of 15 Old 04-17-2003, 11:47 PM
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Moving this to Parenting Issues
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#9 of 15 Old 04-18-2003, 04:22 AM
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I think my babysitter charges $5 an hour, but my husband always seem to pay her at least $8 an hour, so now we pretty much are stuck with that rate. My daughter loves this girl so much that she wants me to invite her over to play. So a couple of weeks ago I had her come over and do a mommy's helper thing where she played in the basement with Molly while I tried to clean the upstairs levels.
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#10 of 15 Old 04-18-2003, 03:04 PM
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We pay our sitter $5/hour. She is a high school freshman who lives down the street. Money is tight right now, so we don't go out often. We usually only need a sitter maybe once every month or so.

My son is 20 months old, and really likes our sitter. He especially likes to wake up from a nap to find her here.

If she's sitting over a mealtime, I ask her ahead of time if she would like to eat here. Then I usually tell her which tempting food is slowing down my weight loss, and ask her to PLEASE help herself!

I haven't left any specific rules about the phone or friends. Maybe I'm naive, but I trust her to be responsible. She is also our catsitter, and has a key to our home.
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#11 of 15 Old 04-19-2003, 03:40 PM
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When we lived in colorado we had to high school girls come over and sit for our saturday night outs. They were friends and wanted to do it together and agreed to split the cost. I didn't have a problem with it. I had two children at the time.

I asked the what they charged* they only wanted $4 hr we paid around $6.

I paid for them to take a CPR class($10 through red cross)

I usually had something on hand in case they hadn't eaten(they never did seem to eat at home) and left out which snacks they could have, so they didn't eat them ALL as they seemed to do the first time they sat).

My children really liked them. DD prefered one to the other but she never cried when I left her and was always in someones arms when I came back.
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#12 of 15 Old 04-19-2003, 11:15 PM
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I pay my babysitter $5 an hour but if she only babysits for an hour I just give her $10. She is the BEST, taking care of children is what she wants to do with her life. Since she was 11 she has been taking first aid classes and babysitting classes. She volunteered at a daycare for 3 days a week until she was old enough to get payed. She helps my kids clean up their toys and plays with them. She takes intiative with my kids and I like that a lot. We have not used her for night babysitting I use her when I volunteer at dd's school. DD loves her so much she will ask when she can come over.
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#13 of 15 Old 04-19-2003, 11:35 PM
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We do swap sitting too. Just started and dd's 28 mos. We alternate weekends so at least 2x month we go out on dates. It took us a LONG time to get comfortable with leaving dd with anyone, but the two I chose to swap sit with are good friends with kids dd's age. So she knows them and I know that the moms are the kind of people I want watching her.
Good luck!


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#14 of 15 Old 04-21-2003, 04:10 AM
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We pay $5 an hour for one child and $7 for two. Rounding up if we come home between hours. I pay a little extra if I ask them to do something out of the ordinary - this last holiday season, my dh was out of town and I was pregnant and getting under our HUGE Xmas tree to fill the stand with water was hard for me. I asked the sitter to do it, she did, and I paid her an extra $5. Making dinner or giving them a bath doesn't fall under the "something special" rule in my house.

I always try to give plenty of info on what has happened before she got there (ate a lot or has barely eaten, napped or not, cranky lately, etc.) as well as if I am expecting anyone to come by or drop anything off (I tell her directly - I do not expect you to open the door if it rings - I will not be mad if it turns out to have been a friend - what if it was not?), if she should answer the phone or let voice mail get it (by the way, I have a signal when I am trying to call home and want her to pick it up - I call and let it ring three times. If she doesn't pick up, I hang up and call right back. So if the phone rings twice right in a row then it is me and pick it up.)

I like to let them know approximately when I'll be back, if she should feed them a meal and if so, what the choices are that we have around, who will be home first (sometimes dh and I are out at different things), if I want her to give them a bath, when bedtime is and the basic routine. I tell her to help herself to whatever in the fridge or pantry (we usually have juice, pop, a variety of snacks).

I do not allow babysitters to chat on our phone to friends (though if they get a call on their cell, it is ok with me if they take it as long as they keep it quick). Also no internet or computer use on my computer. After the kids are in bed, it is fine with me if they watch tv, play a video or dvd, listen to music, do homework, read, etc. Absolutely NO friends of either gender allowed when they are babysitting for me. I just don't like it. Once that happened to me and I was shocked she didn't ask beforehand. I have only used her once since and made it clear it was just to be her and no friends.

My suggestions are to be crystal clear on what you want and what you don't want before it happens as that is the time to discuss it comfortably. Pay well so they want to come back but remember that you can't pay less later and will need to pay more if you have another child so think it through before deciding what you pay. We have lots of sitters and I've never asked what they charge - I suppose if they don't like what I pay, they won't sit for me again.... I pay all my sitters the same, regardless of age or experience. I do pay one young girl who is an occassional "mother's helper" for me (watching/playing with the kids while I am home but doing something) less but that is a different job IMO.

Prices range a lot - I know a mom of three kids who pays $5 an hour. I know a mom of two who pays $10 an hour. Some pay less during "kids asleep" hours - that is a great and fair idea since it is an easy job then. But I didn't start out doing that and can't downgrade their pay now so pay the $7 whether they are awake or asleep. Think about how often you will go out - you can afford to pay more (and be the sitter's first choice over other stuff) if you are only planning to go out once a month as opposed to once a week.

Just my two cents....
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#15 of 15 Old 04-21-2003, 06:57 AM
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In LA I can't pay less than $10 per hour. Therefore I never go out, it's almpost strictly for work only. I do get experienced help that I trust for that amount though. They don't even speak English! Swapping - a great idea that doesn't fly here. No one does that kind of stuff. I wish there was more community in the big city!
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