Negotiating a Night Nanny

Just a question for your community about finding, training, and paying an overnight nanny. My kids are 3.5 and almost 2. We have a handful of events coming up this late summer/fall that we'd like to leave the kids overnight. We already employ a nanny who would watch the kids during waking hours, but I wanted to find someone to do the overnight 6pm to 8am or so. My kids sleep 7pm to 6am and 90% of the time stay in bed without a peep all night although sometimes my 3.5 year old wants to go potty around 4am.

What would be a fair rate to pay someone who will put them to bed, stay over at our house, get up with them in the morning, and give them breakfast? I don't want to be cheap, but I have a hard time paying my usual $15-$18/hr when 11 hours of the work is when the kids are sleeping. Would a flat rate be fair? (We live in Seattle, WA). Also, wondering if people have any suggestions where to find or sitter city? What about training/trial period?


MissDeeWantsToLiveInHerFreezer said...

When I work overnights, I ask for my hourly pay plus being paid for sleeping:

hourly pay: 6a-10p (to be determined between you and nanny)
sleeping pay: 10p-6a=$50 for 8 hours.

Last time I worked an overnight, I made $240:

$50 for overnight

I worked from 11a on Saturday until 2p Sunday.

Hope this helps...

Bethany said...

You can probably find someone who will do it for $12 to $15/hr if you can gurantee a regular schedule.

If I were in your area I would do it for that rate as a part-time/second job.

$150-$250 a night is also fair in my book.

Mandy98824 said...

over nights i always charge 200 bucks

Village said...

At least $150 a night.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Even though you are paying your Nanny for "sleeping"...remember, she is still on the clock working. Which means that she is giving up the comfort of her own bed, being w/her own family and is bound to your home and children for the duration of her stay. In other words, she is working just like everyone else does who works graveyard.

Since your child sometimes gets up at 4AM, your Nanny will not get the same amount of sleep she would had she slept at home. I don't know about most Nannies, but I have a hard time falling back asleep after being woken up in the middle of the night.

I say you pay your Nanny hourly. and are both good websites for finding someone to help you. I think if you choose an actual Nanny agency, they will make you pay hourly rates.

You may find someone willing to work at a reduced rate for overnights...just make sure it is someone who won't have overnight guests in your home and someone responsible and mature.

MileHighNanny said...

The way I have always done it for the families I nanny for is regular hourly pay for hours hat the kids are awake, and half of that pay for hours that the kids are asleep. On occasion I have had a family ask me to charge them extra for something I was willing to do last minute ( and travel a couple of hours to do) but for just being at their home I charge the above rate. Maybe you can ask your nanny if she would be willing to do it and what she would charge? That way your children will be more comfortable with someone they know well.

Lyn said...

I haven't done an overnight for less than $175 a night (between the hours of 8PM and 8AM) but I live in North Carolina and the cost of living is much lower here than in WA.
I would start asking your Nanny if she knows of another and what they would charge. But I would ask my other mom/dad friends first whom they've used and liked in the past and what they have charged. I think in this sort of situation I would be looking to my social/work circle if my usual Nanny wasn't available for hire.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

In your shoes, I would have the potential "night Nanny" come over and spend time with your kids while you and your DH are there, so that they can get used to her and realize that YOU like her and trust her. You will need to pay her her normal rate for these times. I would have her come in the daytime at least 2 times, and then have her over for "dinner and bedtime" a few times as well. She also need to meet the daytime nanny so that the hand-off goes smoothly between the two of them if you won't be there.

As far as cost goes, I would offer full hourly wages for half of the hours and half pay for half of the hours. If that doesn't net you a terrific candidate, you'll need to offer more money. Nanny is working whether she is sleeping or not. If there were an issue that arose, she would be solely responsible for your children's welfare at 6 pm or at 3 am.

gypsygirl said...

Night jobs are so much harder than day jobs, for a few reasons.

1.)Its not your house or bed. So you're not comfortable. You're paranoid about whether or not you hear the children & you're not used to the sounds of the house. Its very hard to relax & sleep.

2.)Its stressful the way parents present the job as though its easy because they child sleeps "most" of the night.

3.)Once I'm woken up, its hard if not impossible to get back to sleep. A lot of people are like that.

4.)Its a huge responsibility to be the sole person responsible for other human lives, at night, while you're not even awake. What if someone tries to break in? What if there is a fire? Don't think its all that rare, I've woken up to a housefire myself! Very scary and it can happen to anyone at anytime.

nycmom said...

I have done this many times since I have often worked overnight and my husband travels for work. I have employed my regular nanny, occasional sitters, and have advertised specifically for this situation on Sittercity.

Obviously, the key is finding a caregiver who *likes* this situation. As gypsygirl shows, some see overnights as horrible and much worse than days. I actually would probably agree because I am not a good sleeper even in my own bed. But many sitters IME enjoy working overnights because they can sleep just fine and view it as a good opportunity to earn extra money.

The pay depends on whether your kids routinely sleep through the night or get up. For kids that sleep through, I usually pay $75 for sleeping hours, but am pretty conservative in defining sleeping hours as 11pm-7am or whatever is the worst case scenario for our family. I pay regular rate for all surrounding hours. I have never had trouble finding qualified, experienced people interested in the job at this rate. I have also heard many people paying 1/3-1/2 regular hourly rate, but that is a similar total $$ for us so I just pay a flat rate.

Personally, I would never pay more than $100 for overnights unless it were an emergency or I had an infant up and down all night (in which case I would just pay regular hourly rate -- but would also expect the person to not view it as a sleeping position either). I have also hired for 24-hour periods and paid $250ish which again is similar in numbers if you break it down.

In your case, I would only do a flat rate for the hours you are sure your kids will sleep -- 7pm-4am. Your kids are still quite young. I agree with Tales that you need to employ this person for a working day trial and several other times during days, paid hourly at regular rate, so that your child knows her reasonably well. I can't imagine a 2yo having to wake up in the night and not know the person who was caring for them.

yobabynanny said...

I do overnights for my full time family, since both parents work in the medical field, and have somewhat wacky hours. I am guaranteed 40 hours per week and paid a flat rate for that 40 hours no matter what time of the day or night. After that I charge an hourly rate of $12.00/hour for waking time and 10:00/hour for sleeping time. They do have a baby that wakes up 2-3 times in the night, and a toddler that occasionally sneaks into bed with me. The great thing is, they encourage me to sleep whenever the children do, so even if they were up a lot in the night, I know I'm going to get an afternoon nap. :)

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...


Those were excellent points that you made.

I think a nanny should make her regular hourly rate no matter what.

another nanny said...

When I do overnights, I make $100 for the sleeping hours (about 10 hours) and full rate for any additional hours. This is for multiple children under 5 who are very poor sleepers.
Just keep in mind that your children may not sleep as well with you gone as they normally do. Kids sometimes get anxious about their parents being away at night, more than they would during the day.
As others have mentioned, have the overnight nanny come by during the day, as well as during the evening routine so that your kids can get to know her. You'll need to pay her full hourly rate during these times.

leftcoastmama said...

If we have our regular nanny stay the night. she is paid her regular rate.

If we have to use a random babysitter we pay a flat rate.

Since you are looking for a regular night sitter. I think you should pay a regular hourly rate. The rate should stay the same the entire time night nanny is in your home. Also pay her on the books.

I think $12-$18 per hour is a fair rate.

I would say higher if you had a baby that needed to be changed and fed every two hours.

Phoenix said...

you need to pay the nanny for the "sleeping" time. She is still working even if she and kids are asleep. That would like say if you work for a corporation and they send you on a business trip and they decide to subtract your sleeping time from your entire trip. You are still away from home on the clock even though you are sleeping at a hotel. A company can't take out your sleeping, so you shouldnt do that to your nanny

OP said...

Wait, what??? I have to PAY her? Gee, thanks Phoenix. I never considered that I'd have to PAY someone to stay the night with my kids. I mean, really? And by the way, I travel for work and don't get paid for sleeping in a hotel, although I'm not sleeping in my own bed (and yes, it's not really a fair comparison because I get to sleep vs. caring for children but do you think people get PAID to stay in hotels when they travel for work?) Give parents the benefit of the doubt and don't be so quick to assume all parents are unfair aholes! I want to be fair which is why I asked the question of the community about how much to pay...I never suggested I wouldn't pay!

To the rest of you: thanks for you opinions. I think we will pay $18 hour for waking hours (assume until 7:30 pm and starting again at 4 am just in case) and then $10/hr for sleeping hours.

I think we'll do some weekend daytime sitting in the next few months to get the kids acquainted with the sitter and I'll put an ad on care!

Thanks again.

OhMGee said...

Lol! Isn't she something. As if you'd expect someone to work for free. And obviously she hasn't ever had a job that required travel. Paid to sleep in hotels? "A company can't take out your sleeping" HUH? She says the most ignorant things. The scariest part is, I get the impression she thinks she is smarter that everyone else here. @@

Mrs. Billy Lamar said...

OP, that is unfair that you are reducing your nanny's rate just because the kids are sleeping.

You stated you wanted to be fair, but by paying less you are being anything but.

I guarantee you, if you went through an agency, you would be required by the agency to pay your nanny the same hourly rate regardless of the time of day/night.

I cannot stand cheap parents like you. Sorry.

Aries said...

It doesn't matter if they're sleeping. Nanny is still on the clock. It's like saying someone who works at a coffee shop should get half there usual hour rate just because noone came the last hour before closing.

So if you're going to pay her less for overnights, don't be surprised if she stops doing overnights. Anything can happen during overnights. If a fire starts, your nanny is there to protect your kids an get them out safe. If one wakes up not feeling well, shes right there. If one needs to go potty, shes there. Her time isn't any less valuble just because they're sleeping. If thats the case then next time they're throwing tantrums an giving nanny a hard time, pay her double her pay.

Phoenix said...

dang it. either my post was deleted or it didn't appear.

I was trying to confirm what I meant by that. It means that no matter what the night nanny should be paid the same fair wage as a daytime nanny. Just because she and/or the kids are asleep doesn't mean her rate should change. The example was to show you that even if you go on a business trip you will still be "working" and your company isn't going to reduce your salary for the time you are asleep.

I don't know how that wasn't clear in my post.

gypsygirl said...

That's a really good point, Aries. About the double pay for a tantrum. Ill remember that one!

Truth Seeker said...

Good point Aries.

A big pet peeve for me working as a nanny is when parents lower my rate for sleeping hours.

WTF?? Do McDonald's workers make more when the lunch crowd comes in? Do Wal-mart cashiers earn less during non-peak hours or seasons?

Rubbish. It is all relative anyway...

Ness said...

Just out of curiosity for those people who don't think a reduced rate for sleeping hours is it fair to ask a nanny to stay awake all night and/or do some kid related housekeeping tasks (laundry, sort out playroom, etc) while kids asleep?

I'm just interested in the answer...not saying I think that's fair or reasonable (depends on the situation, I would think...)

Bethany said...

In general I don't think it's fair for you to ask your nanny to do housekeeping.

In my experience the people that have me as a night nanny, already have a day nanny that does things like the kids laundry and playroom sorting.

Now, I always clean up after dinner and breakfast and make sure toys and things are put away. i think that's standard nanny stuff.

I will say that I have on occassion done other household things because I am a night owl and get bored easily. Those chores have never been expected and always appreciated.

LTNanny said...

Well- I guess I'm the minority....I don't charge parents for when I'm sleeping.
I also do have the kids sleep over my house, maybe that's the difference?

Nanny S said...

Don't reduce the job to "everyone's sleeping". As someone who has been an overnight nanny, it's possibly even more draining during a day job.

You've also failed to take into account how your kids will be around someone who isn't mom or dad in the middle of the night. My charges regularly woke up 4 hours early and stayed awake for the first MONTH.

I agree with all the other comments. As a Seattle native, my rates are also $15-18/hr and I could go as low as $15/hr. The bottom line is that being an overnight nanny may or may not be "easy", but it's the gamble of not knowing what's coming, the discomfort and the lack of sleep for the following day that is absolutely draining.