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What's the Going Rate for Babysitting?

If you need someone to watch the kids after school or just want a grown-ups-only night on the town, babysitters are a necessity — but how much will one cost you?

How much do you pay for your babysitter? Photo provided by Cranberry Patch.
How much do you pay for your babysitter? Photo provided by Cranberry Patch.

Written by Kathleen Miller

Talk to any parent with young kids here in town and the conversation inevitably turns to child care. Everyone wants to know: How did you find your babysitter and how much does he or she charge an hour? 

The answers vary dramatically, from a national average of $10 an hour, according to a USA Today story, to as much as $25 for two kids and a dog in some towns. 

Referrals can be a safe bet for finding a babysitter, but caregivers with good reputations in town also make them in demand and unlikely to have time for new clients. 

Online networks like Care.com have large databases of caregivers and allow parents to search with selected criteria before setting up interviews. 

And some families choose au pairs found through organizations like Au Pair Care, which add cultural benefits to the arrangement and the flexibility of live-in help. Au pairs earn $195.75 a week for 45 hours of work, plus program fees and educational materials costs.   

So what's the standard rate for babysitting here in town? How did you find your babysitter and how much do you pay per hour? Does that rate include meal preparation, housework and help with homework?

TELL US: What's the going rate for a babysitter? 

“What’s the Going Rate for a Babysitter” is part of our ongoing Smart Spending series, in which Patch uncovers the going rate for goods and services in town so you’ll know how much to pay for what you need. Help us out by replying in the comments.

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