I am relatively new to hiring a babysitter. We've only done it a handful of times. I'm still not exactly sure how much to pay or any of the protocol. Erik says I should just ask them how much they charge. I feel awkward doing that though, so I just give them $5 an hour. Then I wonder forever if I paid too much or too little. Maybe I'm the cheapskate all the kids talk about. Or maybe they want to babysit for me because I pay a "whopping" $5 an hour. When I was a kid, I was lucky to get $2 an hour. I know, we must consider inflation.

Also, it is very bizarre to have our babysitter call me,"Sister Lassen." Now that I am almost 30, I am beginning to feel like I am finally out of high school. Some might see the whole "Sister Lassen" thing as a sign of respect, but it's a little depressing that I'm not as young as I feel inside my head. (Viewing pictures of myself have confirmed this realization as well.)

Our babysitters have fallen into three categories:

SUPER - House is spotless. Luke is in his pajamas, sound asleep, and swaddled. I would consider leaving Luke with Super Babysitter for a week. I love Super Babysitter.

OKAY - House isn't any cleaner than I left it, but Luke is asleep. However, Luke is sleeping in a weird position that makes me wonder if Okay Babysitter let him cry for hours before he drifted off. I start doing detective work in order to figure out exactly what Okay Babysitter did while we were gone. I check the DVD's, the refrigerator, the last television station viewed... try to retrace her steps for no real reason. I suspect that she tried on my clothes while we were out, but then remember I am not in high school anymore, therefore no teenager would be tempted by my old lady clothes.

NOT SO GOOD - I return to find a disaster. My house is messier than when I left it. A dirty diaper lies open in the middle of the living room floor. Luke is screaming in his crib, gnawing at a bottle he doesn't know how to use. (And no, Not So Good Babysitter isn't my husband, because you can't "babysit" your own kid. Also, notice how it is okay for me to have a messy house with a crying baby, but not for the babysitter? What a double standard!)

My mother-in-law said the other day that babysitting standards have changed because we are just so lucky to find a babysitter. Very true. Even Not So Good Babysitter isn't bad. Fortunately for us, we don't go out very often because it's too expensive. I wish I could find someone to trade babysitting with here.


  1. YW women that want to babysit so bad kind of freak me out. I am so not trusting of people! I miss living next door to the Eriksen's in Wymount. We traded multiple times per week. Now I've got my own personal Barlow. Do you know that family? I grew up with Kate. The girls in that family were born to mother not just children, but everyone else. She's the only person that while we are out, I don't even think about the kids while I'm gone. I'll be sad when we move away from that or she gets married. Won't be the same. I think I would want to put in a nanny cam or something if i had a teenager over watching the kids. Seriously.

  2. Cristin, you need to ask how much they charge. I would never babysit for five dollars an hour, unless I was 12. That's under min. wage. But then again i don't know what tehachapi is like. How much is your kid worth to you? Especially if super babysitter is babysitting, I would def. pay a little more. but thats your decision, not mine. But at least ask how much they charge. If they say I don't know, than give them whatever based upon the job they did. wow. I'm lucky to live by family right now.

  3. Jamie - I know the Barlows. We just went to Leanne and Garrett's wedding reception on Friday night!

    And Caitlin - think about it, its not like these kids (they are usually under 16) are legal to work, so $5 doesn't seem that bad. If they are 16, I will pay them more. I am all about child labor.

  4. I don't think $5 is bad considering they are not paying taxes, can eat free food out of your fridge, and can sit on the couch and watch t.v.. Baby sitters usually don't even have to drive, you pick them up and take them home at the end of the night!

    Caitlin is right, ask how much they charge. I did some research online and people pay anywhere from $5-10 an hour. You only have 1 kid, but Luke is a baby and so you may want to pay more... also, I wouldn't clean your house and watch your kid for $5 an hour, but I would also not make it messier than when you left.

  5. I have no idea what the going rate for a babysitter is. I swear they expect $20 an hour now.

    I don't even know what the going rate for a babysitter was when I was in y.w. b/c I hated doing it. I would be the "not so good" babysitter you described in your post. I'm a terrific mother (at least I think so :)), but I don't love to watch other peoples' kids...never have.

    Oh, and I think cleaning the house is going above and beyond and should be rewarded. I would have never done that when I babysat (again, "not so good" here).

    I did babysit a couple once that would go through the trash to see if I ate anything and deduct it out of my pay...creepy.

  6. Argh... I've typed this novel twice now and lost everything. Here goes... again.

    I think I babysat three times in my entire childhood. Once we got locked out of the house with the power out. I hated babysitting. I still hate babysitting. I love my kids. I get a little peeved when I plan a playdate and the other mom thinks I've volunteered to watch her kid for a few hours when what I really wanted was to hang out with the mom while our kids played.

    We pay $5/hour figuring it's about minimum wage. I think if I had more kids and if they were huge problems, I would pay more. But they are just sort of disagreeable with babysitters. And I'm a Young Women's leader at church, so the girls have to be nice to me.

    Last time we asked and the babysitter told us she charges $3-4/hour. Then my visiting teacher told me she pays the same girl $8-10/hour because she wants to make sure the girl wants to come babysit again. Our YW pres. has 5 kids and pays $5/hour, but she has a 10 and 8 year old that help out a lot.

    Univ. of Kansas has a babysitting service, and they charge $9/hour for 1-2 kids. But they are college students. I think $5/hour is perfect. Anything more is being showy with how much money you can afford to pay. For the most part they are girls aged 12-15. But ask them. It'll probably make you feel better about what you are paying.

  7. When I babysat in high school and my first summer of college (6-7 years ago) I got $10 an hour. I never cleaned- except dishes, but I always taught the kids dance/French/stupid human tricks, etc and got rave reviews. $5 seems a little low.

  8. Maybe the going rate in Tehachapi is $5 an hour but here if you paid that much no one would ever babysit for you. The rate here is $8-10 an hour. I still haven't tried an babysitters out yet, I am too scared that they will neglect him. The Carlsons live right across the street and Natalie is always willing to watch Jake. Its great!

  9. I'm suprised Nancy didn't mention this, so I'll have to try to remember what I can.
    These people in our ward live across the street from a couple that likes to hire a babysitter for something like three dollars an hour, then they halve it once the kids are in bed because "the babysitter isn't doing anything" then, and they like to come home drunk, so sometimes they want the babysitter to stay the night in case the kids have a problem while they're passed out. I guess the people in our ward found this out because the drunks interviewed a girl down the street from them to see if she would be okay.
    So at least we don't do THAT to our babysitters.

  10. He's got it a bit wrong. They do halve it once the kids are asleep, but they didn't want the babysitter to spend the night. I think they were just making sure she was aware that they would be coming home in a taxi or driven by friends, totally drunk. Makes you want to send a poor 12 or 13 year old girl over there real quick to babysit, doesn't it.

  11. When I babysat I could never tell the person how much I wanted for pay. I think for an evening at some places I left with $30 or so, I think the most I ever got was probably $60 (must have been a rich couple-or desperate). That is a lot, but I guess if you are giving a 14 year old girl $30-40 for a couple hours of work she should be way happy. I always hated it when my own aunt/uncle would pay me $20 for babysitting for an entire day. I have also seen some people pay by hour and by child... so $2/hour/child. But since you only have one that doesn't really apply. Find a super babysitter and keep them! Don't be afaid of boy babysitters either.

  12. Katie I babysat a girl from the ward once and I felt creepy.

    Also if you want to find out what the babysitter is really up to you could shake her hand with some stuff that shows up under a black light and then come home and see everything she touched. j/k


  13. We have three other couples in our ward that we switch babysitting with, so three Saturdays out of the month we got out on a date and one Saturday a month we watch their kids (including our two we have 6-7 kids over). The kids love it and we love it! I hope that when we move we can find some more couples who want to do something like that too.

  14. I just asked a girl that I used to teach how much she charges, and she said that she charges $5.00 an hour. I think it's very reasonable. I'm with you, though, Cristin. We hardly get a babysitter because it's expensive. I mean, going out to do something and then paying a babysitter can add up.



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