Money Tree: How Much to Pay the Babysitter

Because your family often forgets that money doesn't grow on trees, MoneyTree is here for you.

The reservation is made and the outfits picked out, now all you have to do is hire the babysitter.

According to the International Nanny Association, the average hourly rate for a babysitter is $13. And while there are no hard rules for how much to dole out when you want to hit the town, here are four variables to take into consideration when determining a sitter’s hourly wage.

Experience of Sitter 

You can still snag a 13-year old babysitter for about $8 an hour, according to Lisa McLellan of Baby Sitting World. But expect to pay about $10-$15 an hour. A teenager new to the babysitting market will demand less per hour than a seasoned expert. McLellan, who ran a day-care business for 30 years, charges $20 an hour for her services, but her 13-year old daughter can be hired for $8.

According to, an online employee salary database, sitters with less than one-year experience were paid on average $7-$9 an hour. Sitters with between one and four years experience earn up to $10 an hour, five-nine years up to $12 an hour.

“When you have a mommy babysitting, it’s a huge difference than when you have a high schooler in the house. Anyone with more than five years experience should get at least $2-$3 more per hour," she said.

Your Zip Code 

The closer your family is to a metropolitan area, the more you’re going to pay per hour. The rates in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York are going to be closer to $15 or more per hour because of the higher living costs.

The best thing to do, according to the experts, is to ask around to make sure you aren’t under- or over-paying.

Number of Kids

The more kids you have, the more effort it takes and the more you have to pay the sitter.

For each kid, add $1-$2 per hour, according to Genevieve Their, founder and CEO, of from

Special Qualifications 

If you have twins be ready to dish out an extra $1-$3 per hour, according to Their.

You should also expect to pay more if you are taking the kids to sports practice, making dinner or helping with homework — about $1-$2 more per kid, per hour, according to McLellan.

Care for a newborn also pays $1-$2 more an hour because of the added attention necessary.

Be sure to work out an hourly rate with the sitter before you leave for the night to avoid sticker shock or an unhappy sitter.

And remember, when it comes to paying a sitter on holidays like New Year's Eve and Valentine’s Day, all these rules go out the window.

“On in-demand nights like those two, you should really being paying time and a half,” said McLellan. Another option is to establish a flat rate, particularly if the sitter is going to stay the night. “$100 for an entire night is reasonable for holidays, but be sure to get your sitter locked down early; the later you wait the more you scramble and pay more.”

Have a question or topic idea?E-mail us at