Nanny doesn't want to shortchange sitter...

Received Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN Hello! I am a long time reader of the site and adore it. I am a former nanny, former daycare worker and a mom. I have a three year old and I'm pregnant with our second, due in June. I was hoping to get a little advice.

I am looking into going back to school in the Fall of 2010. By then my son will be 4 and the baby will be almost 3 months old. For me to go to school we'd have to hire a babysitter since my husband will be working full time. I would be going full time taking 12 credits per semester. I'm not sure what to pay a babysitter who will be caring for my two kids. I live in a suburb of Philly if that helps. I would probably need the sitter a total of 14-15 hours per week, basically just to cover the travel time to/from school (across town), time in class and cover if I get caught in traffic or need to stop at the library here and there.

I was thinking an hourly rate to cover if the sitter's needed longer. They definitely need to be paid for time there. I would never want to short change the person caring for my kids. I just want to try to keep it cheap without risking hiring a loony or someone who will ignore my kids. We don't exactly make oodles of money but who does anymore?

I do plan on posting on Craigslist seeking to do a care exchange situation for any moms in my same situation but I wanted to explore all options. Also, I plan to try to apply for state subsidy so I can send my kids to a daycare (if I have to) but the wait-list is a year or more last time I checked.I appreciate all of the advice and look forward to the responses!


just another mommy said...

First off, I can't figure out if you mean for this babysitter to come to your house or for the kids to go to their house, that makes a big difference on hourly rates.

When I have kids come to my house to watch them, I charge $4 an hour per kid.

dadiswrongonthisone said...

I think it dependson a number of things. If it is a teenager, you can probably get away with paying 8 dollars an hour. And a home daycare would be cheaper, but they usually charge a flat rate for 20 hours, or a drop off rate of 20 to 40 dollars a day.

My advice to you is whatever you decide on, be up front about what you can offer. If, for instance, you are offering a very low rate like 6 or 7 dollars an hour, be prepared to lose a great deal of professional candidates right off the bat. This does not mean you cannot find someone good, but chances of finding a mature, educated person for minimum wage are not great.

I would go the High School sitter route. Just do a thorough background check and you should be fine.

ineedcoffee1 said...

dadiswrongonthisone...you are wayyy off base with your teenage sitter rates! The OP will need to find a high school student who has SOME experience with children, maybe previous babysitting/camp counselor experience, or even watching younger siblings. That being said, in a suburb of Philadelphia, no high school student with childcare experience is going to accept 8 dollars an hour to watch two young children. You know who would accept such a rate? a high school student with no experience who does not know how challenging it is to juggle two kids, especially when one is three months old. Would you really want to leave your new baby with someone who has NO experience with children? If the OP wants to hire a high school sitter, she should be looking for a seventeen or eighteen year old who has experience watching babies and younger children, preferably someone who has taken a babysitting/CPR training course. And she should expect to pay between 12-15 dollars an hour.

Reasonable Nanny said...

I am not too familiar w/Philly and I do believe it does depend on area in regard to how much to pay.
Considering that the hours are low and the children are so young, however...I would not offer anything below $11-12. Kudos to you for paying hourly as opposed to a flat rate which I think is wrong to do w/childcare.
I know you want someone cheap and I understand your situation. However, nannies have a HUGE job to do w/a high amount of liability so please take that in consideration when you consider price. Good Luck OP.

Just Me said...

I'm the OP.
My apologies for writing it a little hastily. I was in between eating breakfast and getting dressed for work.
I am open either way to have my kids go to someone's house or to have them come to mine.
I'm not too sure if I could even go the HS sitter route as I'll probably take day classes and high schoolers should be in school during the day. Haha.
I'd be okay with a teenager watching my kids as long as they have a little experience with the baby. I'd be okay with giving them that experience by having them start before my semester as a mother's helper.
Thanks for the responses :)

just another mommy said...

I think your best bet is going to be a sahm who you can drop the kids off with. She will charge less than someone who comes to your home and as a sahm, she should have experience with newborns as well. :)

Just Me said...

Just another mommy-
I'm thinking that might be the least expensive and lowest risk situation.
Thanks! :)

Not the Mama said...

I'm in Philly and have worked as an occasional babysitter and live-in nanny in the area. Most recently, in the city, I was making $15 - but that was with a lot of experience and a bachelor's degree. In high school I usually made $8-10/hr to start, and the hourly rate would increase about every 6 months.

Another thing to consider is whether there are students who live on-campus wherever you will be attending school (obviously doesn't work if you are going to a community college, but if you are taking classes somewhere like LaSalle or Drexel there will be students living in the area). You can advertise for students who could watch your children on-campus while you are in-class. This can leave you time to do things like meet with classmates or professors and have a slightly more flexible schedule. I've been found by parents who advertised with flyers on-campus or had departments email their majors (e.g. psychology majors, early childhood education).

other options said...

Wow, $15 sounds really high for a high school sitter, as that's what I currently make with a BA in ECE.

OP- At my university they give a one-time child care subsidy of $1000 (I think). That's something to look into- depending on where you go, see if they have daycare on site that is discounted or something like a voucher.

ineedcoffee1 said...

other options, I am from NYC born and raised, so maybe the prices I would charge are a little higher than most, like everything here. But I don't think childcare prices are THAT different in Philly and NYC.

When i was 17/18 years old, a senior in high school, i earned 15 dollars an hour watching a 2 year old boy and a 4 year old boy. The kids required a ton of attention and energy. I had to bathe them, cook them organic dinners and keep tabs on both of them at all times. At the time, I was CPR certified, had 4 years of experience watching children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years old, and had worked as a camp counselor for 3 summers where i was responsible for 20 4-5 year olds all day long.

I probably would have accepted $12/hr for the job, but the parents were generous and realized the job was a handful because their kids were pretty rambunctious. However, if, with all my experience at the time, I had been offered $8 an hour to watch a 3 month old and 4 year old, my answer would have been a resounding "My parents won't let me."

Bloomfield babysitter said...

I your local High School has an Honor Society or Key club you can speak with the head of those in school organizations. If not try the guidence office.

There are kids out there who will work for 8 dollars an hour or so, I know because my daughter is one of them! :D

Your local senior or retirment center is another place to look as well so long as you find someone young of heart and mind and able to keep up!

Good Luck!

dadiswrongonthisone said...

ineed coffee,

I am not off base: my own babysitter is a college student, an education major, with experience and I pay her 8 dollars an hour. I do tip her when I can. She has babysat for me since my child was an infant and now my child is school age, so she must like the job.

there are many many different types of childcare providers. If you are lucky and willing to do your homework, you will find one that is the right fit for you, and that includes rates.

why don't you chill out?

bippityboppityboo said...

I wouldn't be intimidated. I know its a low rate but I think 8$/9 will get you a high school student or even a college student. It doesn't seem like you need a ton of hours and some college students have a hard time finding such jobs. I work in an area where the average prof/full time nanny makes around $15 an hour but I think some high school/college students do make that in my area for the hours I think you need covered. Good luck!

other options said...

that's a real eye-opener, since I am currently in NY as well, and perform basically the same duties you describe from your hs job, but with more experience and education.

True story, though- when I was in high school (I'm in my mid-20s now) I made $3-4 per hour to watch up to four kids, including infants. In college, I started babysitting at $7-8 per hour, and when I got a job for $12 (with 2 high maintenance kids) I thought I'd really made it. Ha. These jobs were obv. not in NYC.

nyc mom said...

I have to agree that $15/hour for a teen sitter is pretty high, even in NYC. I have interviewed high schoolers in our building and have family with teen sitters in wealthy NYC suburbs. The rate seems to be $8-10/hour. I mean most professional nannies are asking $15/hour so that is definitely high for a high school kid. Though agreed that ineedcoffee's high school experience level was higher than most. I'm not doubting that some high school kids would ask for $15 since I had minimally experienced college students asking me for $20 (no way!), but that doesn't mean most of those asking high rates are going to get the majority of jobs.

When I babysit in college in mid 90's in Boston I made $5-8/hour. In high school I made $3-4/hour as someone else mentioned (though a rural area).

ineedcoffee1 said...

When i took the job babysitting for those two kids, the parents offered me $15/hr, I didn't ask for it. I quickly realized that it was because the job they were having me to do required a ton of work!

And dadiswrongonthisone...sounds like you have ONE kid. Which means $8/hr for a high school student is a reasonable price to offer. I watch one 10 year old now, as a college student, for $10/hr. The OP in this scenario has TWO very young children, and my original point was that she is probably not going to find a high school student who has a ton of babysitting experience who will be willing to accept $8/hr to watch two very small children.

Why are you always so adversarial, dadiswrong? even your moniker is obnoxious. Maybe you're the one who needs to be chillinnnnn

dadiswrongonthisone said...


no. I really think you need to chill. you're the one who is saying you need coffee.

plenty of peeps work for minimum wage, especially students. the student who babysits for me is great: and although I have just one child, my child is special needs and is quite a handful.

Just admit that you are wrong when you are wrong.

and I like my moniker, and I like CuriousDad too. it is a tribute to him. he has grown on me.

ineedcoffee1 said...

Look dadiswrong, I have been watching children for nearly 8 years at this stage in the game. My friends also babysit in their free time as well. And i can tell you, with 100% certainty, that educated, experienced, CPR certified, former camp counselors at one of the most popular day camps in New York City will not accept $8/hr to watch two children under the age of 5. It just isn't worth the money here. Maybe you should acknowledge that you're wrong, and not assume that the rates you pay in suburbia or rural areas are the same as they are in big cities.

Lindsey said...

I am a sahm and I watch some kiddos on the side. I watch an 8 year old for 11 hours a week, I pick her up from school also, but I would have to be there anyways as my son goes to the same school. I get paid $80 a week for that. I charge $6 an hour for childcare if I don't have to pick up/drop off. If you want someone to come to your house thats another story, your kids are little and a lot more work. I have 3 boys 6,4,2 and I have a 17 yr old high schooler watch them sometimes. She brings her 14 yr old sister. I pay $10 an hour and I think thats pretty cheap. But I know them really well, as I pick them up from school everyday and drop them off at home. I could never leave my kids with a teenager I didn't know well. Good luck!

Been There said...

I would check in with the school you plan to attend. I just finished my BA (4 years start to finish, community college then state U). I was fortunate to receive grants and scholarships from the schools and the state. Though amounts varied, they always covered half to three-fourths of the cost. Start with your school's financial aid office. Also check out your state's website and look under higher education and department of family services (or the equivalent agency whereyou live).

I know you asked about rates. The assistance I received allowed me to pay for caregivers that I was comfortable with where I knew they would be safe. If your school has an ECE department, they may also have on-site care provided by practicum students who are supervised by professionals and professors.

Best wishes!

dadiswrongonthisone said...

that is great advice, been there.

to ineedcoffee:
you need more than coffee.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Why not consider hiring a "granny nanny"? If you can find an older woman who is looking to supplement her retirement income and enjoys being around young kids, you might find you could offer a slightly lower rate.

Merry Xmas said...

You need a Moniker

Anonymous said...

I have been a nanny for 2 years. I do think it is interesting that some people get paid $15 an hour to babysit. I know it is hardwork, but personally, i only get $4an hour for a 50 hours a week. The reason I do it? I love the boys I care for. I think people are so stuck on money its silly. She is asking for 15 hours a week which is nothing. If you keep looking,maybe you will find someone who will fall in love with the kids and not the money.. yes i know we all need money, but she isnt asking for a full time nanny to come in and be there day and nigh, bathe them or anything hard. Shes just asking someone to come watch them and play with them for a couple hours. If I could I would help her out of the kindness of my heart and because i love kids. It isnt about the college degree at all.. many people go to college for child care and treat the kids like crap.. its ridiculous.. ive worked at several daycares and dealt with the same crap at every one. Find someone whos there because they want to be, not for the money.. you know they are there for your kids when they accept the pay you offer.. be reasonable but offer what you can afford.. I get paid what my employers can afford and I wouldnt trade my job for anything because i love them like my own.. Im sure if you try you may be able to find someone else who is there for the right reason. Good Luck!!

Dec 25, 2009 8:57:00 PM

Michelle said...

Have you looked into finding another mom in your area who'd be willing to maybe swap care with you? Since you're not looking for a whole lot of hours maybe there is another mom who is thinking the same thing?

Good luck, going back to school is a big deal and even more so with kids!

em said...

Surely you must be kidding anonymous.
That is not even minimum wage. Good Lord, I wonder what you'd do if you got real money in your hands

cali mom said...

Anonymous, it's wonderful and admirable that you can donate your time ($4/hr is essentially DONATING your time) just because you love kids so much but some people actually need to earn enough to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families. That's why minimum wage laws were invented.

I don't mean to sound harsh but the sentiment of "it's silly to be so stuck on money" is usually expressed by those who have always had all the money they NEEDED. Try going to the grocery store and having to choose between toothpaste or soap this week, and THEN tell us about how silly it is to worry about money.