• Mon, Dec 9 - 10:00 am ET

Hiring a Babysitter Is Really Hard Because Teens Are Flaky As Funk

windowTeens these days, amirite? Before I start on a raging rant about how the world is going down the toilet with each passing generation, I have to say that I have nothing against America’s youth. I just have something against people of any age that are flaky and will cancel on you at the last minute.

We hired our first babysitter outside of the family once my son started going to Mother’s Day Out at a local church when he turned one. The teacher of his “class” was a young twenty-something and a total sweetheart. As random luck would have it, she also happened to be a midwifery student that witnessed the birth of my second son at home, but that’s another story altogether.

So, we were happy to hire her for once a month babysitting, and she did a wonderful job. But… Since babysitting wasn’t her primary source of income, there were a few times that she tried to pull the old bait and switch on us at the last minute. She forgot about other plans, or had issues with work come up, or one time flaked out on us completely because she was helping attend a birth (which is a good-ish excuse, I’ll give her that). But it left my husband and I literally all dressed up with no place to go, like the unpopular kid in class that got stood up by their prom date.

We just wanted to get out of the house and eat dinner in public! Is that too much to ask? We set our sights on another trusted babysitter. This time it was the teenage daughter of my midwife. She was one of nine children, so it was pretty obvious that she had experience with babies—especially since her mom was my midwife. She did a great job babysitting for us… once. The second and third times, typical teen crap came up, like her part-time job and volleyball. Also, she flaked on a friend of mine that I referred her to in the same timeframe.

We pay what I think is a pretty decent hourly rate for babysitting, $10 an hour. Even better, most of our babysitters come over just a few hours before the kids go to bed and get to sit and watch TV, making $10 an hour, for the rest of the night. I remember when I used to babysit as young as 13 for $4 an hour, and I thought I was freaking rich.

It honestly never crossed my mind how much of an issue babysitting would be now that I’m a full-time grownup. We’ve started a relationship with a new babysitter, a college student looking for extra part-time cash, and she’s totally amazing. Cross your fingers that she doesn’t flake out on us because we have a date night coming up in a few weeks! I just want to get out of the house.

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • Justme

    If your baby-sitter is on the volleyball team then something to do with volleyball didn’t just come up. Those season schedules are planned months in advance and should be given to the athletes at the beginning of the season. That’s just poor planning on her part. She never should have committed to the job.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Ha! I knew it!! I really liked her, but her flakiness came through. :(

    • AP

      It might not be organized, though- I used to work with a lot of college students, and the number of them whose professors refused to respect their work schedules was appalling. Conversely, the number of supervisors I worked with who thought it was OK to call surprise mandatory show-up-or-be-fired staff meetings on Sundays at 7 pm or Wednesdays at 4 pm when people with class or other jobs might otherwise be busy was also appalling. There’s just no respect for people’s lives any more.

    • moonie27

      Why would professors respect their work schedules, though? At least where I went to school, you were there to study and even the smaller classes couldn’t “respect” everyone’s schedule – it was a set time and you just dealt with it.

    • Lisa

      I don’t think the scheduled class time is the issue though. There are plenty of professors who will randomly just move class times or have mandatory meetings, and well, it sucks to be you if you can’t attend.

      I’ve run into this a couple times since starting grad school this summer, but I’m lucky: we’ve been given enough notice (and apologies) if it was something that we had to do as a class outside of the normal scheduled times. It was a pain rearranging my schedule on those days, but at least I knew in advance. I tutor, and one student I had ran in to cancel the session because he had a mandatory event to attend that the professor forget to tell them about until that day but “it’s okay, no one will miss class because of it.” Maybe not, but they might miss practice or work or anything else scheduled.

    • moonie27

      Well, that’s what I meant – though my profs were pretty good at telling us about mandatory stuff more than a day beforehand. If it’s a traditional program the attitude tends to be, “you’re here primarily to learn; this is your job.” So even if you’re scheduling something outside of normal class time – that’s when it’s scheduled and the students just have to work with it.

      though being respectful enough to give more than one day’s notice; yes, that.

    • AP

      It was this. The most notable case of this was a music student whose conductors would call mandatory weekend rehearsals with a day’s notice, or not distribute final exam time slots until 2 days before the exam. He used to come in ranting about how the professors expected everyone to have parents paying their way and they wouldn’t respect the time of the students holding part-time jobs.

      I also had two girls from two separate colleges be told by professors to come to office hours at a very specific and random time to review a test/paper or risk losing a serious chunk of their grade- even if they had to skip class to do it.

      My sister struggles with the same thing in her Master’s program- a lot of the professors expect the students to not have any outside obligations from school, and will just set mandatory events outside class time when she has work or is in another class.

    • Justme

      But with a high school program, it usually has to be or else you are going to get a lot of frustration from the parents. A college professor and a high school coach are going to have a different amount of leeway with their students.

  • chickadee

    When the girls were little, we relied on a sitting-exchange system that several of us set up within our group of mothers. In other words, we will watch your kid(s) for free while you go out, and you will do the same for us. It worked beautifully, and is the only reliable way of getting good sitters if you don’t belong to a church with responsible teenagers in it.

  • G.E. Phillips

    I had one really reliable college-aged sitter, but she graduated and moved too far away. Other than that, I’ve had the same issues. Seriously, where are the Babysitters Club when you need them? Kristy would never have allowed this shit.

    • Bethany Ramos

      LOL Kristy was such a hard ass, but she got results!!

    • http://ichasekids.com/ Litterboxjen

      Sad confession: when I started babysitting at the age of 12, I totally brought over a kit with books and I think some colouring stuff for the kids I was babysitting because I thought that was really smart from reading the Babysitter’s Club Books.

      (The kids were like, 9 and 7 or something, too. But they went along with it, and I’m sure my parents were laughing at me, but they didn’t discourage me.)

    • G.E. Phillips

      You and me both, sister. That kit had a name, I forgot what it was called, damn. Now it’s going to bother me all day.

      Have you seen this, by the way? http://whatclaudiawore.blogspot.com/

    • Ddaisy

      A KidKit! I brought one along to every single baby-sitting job I ever had. Kristy had me trained up right!

    • http://ichasekids.com/ Litterboxjen

      Oh my god, no. Thank you for this, I think.

    • Ddaisy

      Thanks a lot. That Claudia blog kept me up waaaay past my bedtime. It’s 2:30am here, I have to work in the morning, and I blame you :P

    • G.E. Phillips

      If it makes you feel any better, it’s 12:45pm here, and the Claudia blog is seriously impeding my work productivity.

    • Alicia Kiner

      This is AWESOME! I can’t wait till my daughter gets a little older. I’m totally corrupting her with BSC. I loved those books.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      It was called a KIDKIT!!!

    • Ddaisy

      My sister and I tried to start a baby-sitting club. We handed out fliers to every family we knew with kids, and… the calls never came. There were only two of us, but we were extremely responsible, had our baby-sitting “licences” from the community college, had read every BSC book–we were so prepared. But where were all the parents when we needed them???
      There was one family that gave me a regular job every summer, three days a week, for four summers, but the rest of the year, I was lucky to get one or two jobs in the entire ten months.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      My friends and I had a BSC! We only got crank calls.

    • candyvines

      My parents would have never allowed that shit.

  • Sarahstired

    I babysat starting at 12. Who were these parents who trusted a 12 year old?! I’m lucky and have family close by. I’m not sure what I would do otherwise.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Okay, I was seriously thinking the same thing. I was babysitting at 12 and 13 for what I remember to be two-year-olds. I have a two-year-old now, and I can’t think that I would feel the same way…

    • Justme

      The only times I left my <1-year-old with a teenager as a baby-sitter was when I had a Mormon family living two houses down. I taught and coached the eldest girl (of eight children) and I hired her to baby-sit for my infant because, like I always told her, if there was an emergency – call your mother first. THEN call me.

    • Bethany Ramos

      See, and the other teen was one of nine. She could’ve been perfect!!

    • Carinn Jade

      When I was in 5th grade I “babysat” twice a week after school for a 8yo, 6yo and 4yo. Who thought that was ok?

  • Paul White

    I’ve run into it with older sitters too. It’s damned annoying.

  • Carinn Jade

    My two on-call babysitters are in college but they are SO amazing. Big difference between high school and college (not to mention they have a lot more free time). But sadly they are both graduating this year and may not have time for me after that. Of course they are my brother and my cousin so I can’t be too mad that they are moving on!

  • Cee

    College students is the way to go! They need the money more than most high schoolers cuz no ones cooking for them in college and they have no curfews. Lol, glob knows I would not have been a good babysitter as a high schooler. All my bills are paid and my helicopterish mom would probably have made me a flake. Im an awesome babysitter now. Plus, competitive mom can say their babysitter is a bilingual grad student oooh so posh!

    • Justme

      YES! I concur with the college student idea. They can stay out way later without their entire social evening being ruined, if you know what I mean. My college roommate and I both worked at a local day-care and tons of the parents hired us as baby-sitters on the weekend because we could drive and stay out late. One good night of baby-sitting always turned into a great night at the bar because we had cash on us!

    • EmmaFromÉire

      As a college student- YES. We need the money, panic less and seem mildly more trustworthy than a teenager. I think. I say that as I nurse a hangover from last night’s attempt at ’12 pubs of Christmas’, but in general if i had a kid i’d be happier leaving them with a college student.

  • http://www.parisunraveled.com/ Allison Lounes

    Where do you live? $10 an hour isn’t that much in any of the cities I’ve lived in. And if it’s only for an hour or two, they’re probably thinking that it’s something to do if nothing else comes up. Not saying that they shouldn’t honor their word, just that it’s not that surprising.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Texas. From everyone I’ve talked to $10 is the going rate, but I could be wrong…?

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Whoa. $10… well, I know my mom set my rate at $3 in the late ’90s (Which really was too damn low. My mom was still mentally in the ’70s, I guess). Eventually I moved it to $5, still below minimum wage. $10 is minimum wage here, and I don’t think a teen should expect more than that, seeing as it’s under-the-table/tax-free and they’re unlikely to earn more doing anything else.
      This reminds me of the time I dog sat for a whole weekend, spending the night at the house when I was 16 (1998). I got paid $30 total. Either inflation has shot up, or parents make money and goods available to their kids without working hard for it, or teens have an inflated belief of how much their time is worth.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I babysat for these crazy hellion boys when I was 13 for 2 weeks in the summer, full time, so 80 hours. In total, I was paid $120, and thought it was AMAZING. But the kids were the worst (and needed a babysitter because they had lit things on fire), and I hardly paid attention to them. Normally, I did a great job – I swear!

    • http://www.parisunraveled.com/ Allison Lounes

      Maybe… I’ve lived in Boston and New York, so the rates tend to be higher. That’s what I made in high school 10 years ago. In college or after I wouldn’t take less than $15, especially if it’s more than one kid.

    • JLH1986

      In KY for one night that’s a small fortune. So I think it’s perfectly acceptable. If I lived closer I’d totally babysit for that.

    • Ddaisy

      $10 is damn good. It’s about minimum wage, and if I’d been offered minimum wage to baby-sit, I probably would have been embarrassed and insisted that it was too much. (Then again, I was desperate for parents to ask me to baby-sit… Supply and demand…)

    • Lisa

      I’d say it’s about right. Heck, I’d still babysit for that amount of money, and I’m in grad school. If the sitter is older or is doing more for you (running the kids all over town constantly, not just a one time deal), then you should probably work it out, but honestly, $10/hour is a pretty good deal.

      Also, hire college students. We’re more likely to view it as a real job. If you are within reasonable distance from a school, I’d set up fliers in their education departments, social work, and anything remotely attached to healthcare.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Great idea, thank you.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      When we lived in Corpus Christi, we paid about $10. I’m from the Houston area, and my friends pay about that. I think you’re good!

    • Bunny Lucia

      Yeaah. I live in Oregon and honestly four years ago I was getting paid $4 an hour for two kids.

      I can’t look at these “Babysitters” with a straight face. Most of the ones I go to school with complain endlessly about how little they get paid at 10-15$ an hour and most aren’t even CPR/First Aid certified like I am!

      I need to get back into the game if the rates have more than doubled in four years.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      That’s crazy, when I babysit I usually just do an amount per night, and generally i only take €25 or so. The parents are paying to go out, i’d rather they don’t spend even more paying me- i want them to enjoy themselves!

    • Bethany Ramos

      You are the kindest babysitter ever! I need you!!

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    All this tells me is what a badass babysitter I was as a teen. I once called in to my part-time job to find out the schedule and told them it wouldn’t work for me because I was babysitting that day. The pay was less, but I liked it more and due to having a single mom (And half my families were single mom families) I couldn’t bear to cancel on them.
    As such, I keep thinking a teen sitter will be findable when my son is older, but… maybe not? My mom had such good luck with the teens she used. No cancellations, all neighbourhood girls who were in the babysitting circuit and relied on references.
    With the mentions of The Babysitters Club, I have to wonder if maybe that book was actually a good influence. Those girls took that job super seriously. I know I read them religiously.

    • G.E. Phillips

      All through junior high and high school, I babysat for my next door neighbors. They literally went out two nights a week, minimum. They had three boys, and when the youngest was a baby, he would scream until he turned blue and passed out. This, when I was 14 and being paid $4 an hour. But I never said no, and I never cancelled on them–partially because I was a responsible kid (and my parents would have been pissed!) but also because I really liked money. I feel like kids are different these days…..and now I feel really old for having said that, oy.

    • Alicia Kiner

      I babysat for my neighbor too. She had a part-time job in the evenings, so I watched her 2 boys maybe 4 nights a week. I didn’t get paid in cash though. She sold Mary Kay, so I got paid in make-up. Now tell me, what 14 year old girl would say no to getting paid in make-up?

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      reliability is key!!
      I only ever was late ONCE in all my years of babysitting, even for overnight sitting.
      I had missed my train from college due to a crash that delayed my bus. So I called my mom, and asked her would she pop over for the hour I was going to miss.
      I called the mother and she was fine with that, told me not to panic.
      I still felt bad about being late though. =/

  • Megan Zander

    Thanks for this article- my husband has been on me to start looking for a local babysitter- our family is all at least an hour away and our boys are almost 11 months, but I’ve been dragging me feet because I’m worried about finding someone reliable that I can trust ( and also, truth be told I have some separation anxiety issues when it comes to the boys…I’m working on it) so yeah, after some of these stories I don’t know when I’ll ever feel ok to leave them with someone that isn’t family.

    • LadyClodia

      My boys are 5 and 2, and the only people who have babysat them besides family are two of my good friends. I’m probably too paranoid to hire any outside help for the boys, especially since my 5 year old has food allergies.

    • Megan Zander

      You have no idea how relieved I am to know I’m not the only one. My friends and sister make it out like I’m crazy for not wanting to leave them, but they don’t have kids, so they don’t get it. Plus, I’m lucky that my kids are pretty mellow, so it takes a lot for me to want or need time off. And yes, I’m paranoid too!

    • LadyClodia

      I’m pretty sure that my pre-baby-self would think that my post-baby-self is crazy for not having had a babysitter ever. But once you have kids it’s funny how your ideas about things can change.
      My husband and I didn’t even have a night out by ourselves until our first son was 9 months, and that was with my mom watching him. (At the time she lived 3 1/2 hours away, and even at that she was our geographically closest family, so that made it difficult.) And even after we moved right next door to my mom, we didn’t go out much in the year after our second son was born because he wouldn’t take a bottle.
      And, granted, we never went out a lot even before we had kids, so it wasn’t really something that we made a priority. But now that they’re a little older my husband and I have probably done more stuff in this past year than we had in the previous 4 years combined.
      Hopefully it will get a bit easier for you once your boys are older too.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      My daughter is 2 and no one besides my family has ever watched her. Not because I am crazy clingy but because I can’t find anyone I trust. So even after the separation anxiety gets better you probably won’t be throwing them at the first person who shows up and running.

  • LadyClodia

    I’ve never attempted to hire a babysitter, so I have no real idea what it’s like. But part of the reason I never have is that it seems like such a nightmare. Plus, besides their teachers at gym class, who are already busy, I know no one who might possibly babysit. At the moment it’s not a problem because my mom is usually willing to watch them or to come over and sit while they’re sleeping and we go out.
    When I was 17/18 I had to babysit my cousins everyday for two summers in a row and I didn’t even get paid. Plus I worked another job at night. Flaking wasn’t an option for either of my jobs. But when it’s family it is different.

  • Amanda Lee

    Just curious… when say they flaked out, do you mean that they are committed to babysit at a certain date and time? Or you wanted them to babysit and they said they couldn’t?

    Also, I think $10 is pretty cheap… I got paid $10 over 8 years ago in the southwest for 1 kid.

    • JLH1986

      I think that depends on where you live. I live in KY and $10 an hour for a Friday/Saturday night out is a lot.

    • Amanda Lee

      I know.. but she said Texas, which I think is closer to southwestern states that Kentucky. She should ask other teens or ask people who have teens what they charge. That would be her best bet.

    • moonie27

      I live in Texas and, with the exception of Austin, it’s a pretty darn cheap place to live.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Yes, very, very committed like a month out – because I’m crazy about scheduling. Many of these sitters asked for $10 as their going rate before I offered, so it may depend on the area. Also, Care.com for our zip code lists most sitters at about $10.

    • Amanda Lee

      That sucks that they flaked out so far in advance. I would try using older, college-aged people then.

      I guess $10 is OK (maybe a little more if they are college students). Do you give any other perks like money for food or let them eat food that you already have in the house?

    • Bethany Ramos

      Yes, we offer all our food, and I would even pay more – I’m not a cheap ass, but $10 just seemed common in our area. I also thought it was a perk that they watched the kids while they were sleeping, on the video monitor. There have been a few times that the sitter has come over at 7 when the kids are already asleep and doesn’t even see the kids all night for the same $$!

    • Julie

      The area I live in minimum wages is $7.85. The 2 girls we use said $7 an hour. It’s more than they make from their minimum wage job after taxes.

    • Amanda Lee

      I wasn’t talking about cheap in the financial sense. I realize making $10 versus minimum wage is great. However, you have to look at it from a teenager’s perspective. Say you need a babysit for 2-3 hours on a Friday/Saturday night… That’s $20 – $30. Do you think that’s worth it to them? Probably not, especially if they get money from their parents or if something is going on in their social circle that they don’t want to miss out on.

    • Amanda Lee

      Honestly, I just don’t think babysitting is a thing most teenagers do. I only got asked a few times by my mom’s coworker. I don’t really think it’s a thing anymore. Who knows? I wish you luck in finding someone reliable, though!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thanks!! I’ll take your advice and ask more about this wage issue too. :)

    • AP

      My parents didn’t allow us to babysit as teens. The kids in my hometown skew spoiled and their parents skew litigious, and they said, flat out, they wasn’t accepting that liability.

      Plus, babysitting doesn’t really go well on a resume- most employers don’t count babysitting as legitimate experience or even a reliable reference, so it’s not desirable work any more.

    • AP

      *weren’t*

    • Justme

      I live in Texas, too. $10 is a perfect amount to pay a baby-sitter – plus it is easy because you don’t have to mess with small bills.

    • Jo

      Minimum wage is around $8 in most of the country, so I wouldn’t call $10 cheap necessarily….

  • Ddaisy

    Tip: look for the nerdy kids with straight A’s but no social life. You know they’re responsible AND probably have nothing better to do. (*ahem*Pick me! Pick me!*)

    • Bethany Ramos

      Yes, I need a sitter like you!!

    • Ptownsteveschick

      This was totally me!

  • NicknamesAreDull

    We have a really hard time finding babysitters. We move roughly every 18-36 months and the people around us are also moving every 18-36 months. Hiring someone who doesn’t live on the base is hard because they can’t get on without a sponsor. It’s a total pain in the ass, but so worth it to get alone time.

  • Sam Inoue

    Sometimes I am so glad to have a teen around that is sort of required to babysit, the whole raising her thing. The few times I’ve had to hire some of her friends when she couldn’t was just ugh!

  • FaintlyXMacabre

    Yeah, so when I first moved to TX my husband had a 10/hr job and I was taking classes where we needed a sitter for our 2 year old. Girl was 19, demanded 15 an hour, and constantly complained that my child pooped too much. OMFG.

  • Blueathena623

    Ha! Yesterday I just happened upon a girl I think will be a good babysitter. She actually lives down the street (t not in my subdivision) and was walking her little charge down by my house. Without me even asking if she babysat other kids, she had started watching after my kid (keeping him from mud puddles), talked about the other families she babysat for, and casually mentioned she just got her CPR certification card. Any girl who works it that hard for someone who hasn’t even said they are looking for a babysitter has got to be a good one. The only thing I didn’t like (and nothing against her personally!) is that when I asked for her rate she hemmed and hawed and said she loves kids so much she does it for free but sometimes um it costs uh 5 dollars an hour? I told her she was selling herself short and never offer to babysit for free.
    In short, she reminds me of me as a babysitter, which I like. And I did A LOT of babysitting in high school and college. I may have canceled a few times for legit illness, but I took my jobs seriously and I was a damn good babysitter. I’ve run into kids that I babysat for 15 years ago and they bring up activities and games we played together, which I don’t remember at all. Parents were more likely to flake on me than the other way around.
    Parents looking for babysitters — NEVER lie about the number of kids a sitter is going to watch. That was my number one pet peeve. Lying about the return time was number 2.

  • Janok Place

    We are blessed with incredible neighbors (an older couple who’s kids are grown) who will take our daughter on a moments notice. We live in the country, so in the event we travel an hour to the city there are always grandparents/aunts/good friends anxious to see her. I prefer to bring her along when possible, but I realize how lucky we are to have these resources on hand.

  • http://carrie-murphy.com/ Carrie Murphy

    I babysat constantly as a teen (starting at age 11) and I basically had to tell my parents when I was scheduled to babysit, so they could remind me. Also, the one time (ONCE!) I forgot about a babysitting date, my parents were soooo mortified and made sure it wouldn’t happen again. I basically wasn’t allowed to flake out, because in my house, if you made a comittment to do something, you stuck to it, no matter who invited you to a party or if you had play rehearsal or whatever. Of course, I know that people that I babysat for didn’t want to get me in trouble, and you probably don’t either, but it might be worth telling your midwife or other parents of teens if they flake out on your babysitting date.

  • Wendy

    I got paid $10 an hour to babysit 10 years ago…it hasn’t gone up at all? I had a nice little clientele via my Mom’s co-workers. They would recommend me to each other. I babysat starting when I was 11 until I was 21 (and started my real job after college).

  • SA

    We pay $12 for a college-aged girl. We have had no problems other than one time that she was a little late which was out of her control.

    My advice – do not hire the student-athlete or the one who has a part-time job. Our sitter is a sitter only, therefore there are no other work conflicts besides other jobs (and she is first come first serve). You want the person who has the time to watch your child.

  • SarahJesness

    I don’t like kids enough to ever babysit, but I totally would’ve been reliable because I rarely had other plans in high school. Closest I ever did to babysitting was watching the neighbor kid for an hour at a time a few times. Didn’t really take any work, he really likes animals (especially dogs) but his mom won’t let him have a pet (or at least not a dog) so he’ll take whatever chance he can to play with one. I bring the dog in the house, they play with each other for an hour, I’m on the couch with my Nintendo, and it’s like I’m taking care of the kid and the dog at the same time!

    I’m so responsible.

  • Pzonks

    Try to find an older sitter. I babysat as a preteen/teen (it amazed me that I babysat at 12!) and then started up again babysitting when I was 29. In my area I got $15/hour CASH and I worked quite a bit all on referrals from a family that saw my ad on Craigslist. I was also on Care.com and Sittercity. It was a good little part time job and since I was older and had a real job the parents knew I was dependable and responsible. They cancelled/flaked on me far, far, FAR more often than I canceled on them (mine were always illness related). There are lots of 20/30 somethings that want the extra money and like being around kids but don’t have any of their own yet.

  • NYCNanny

    Advice: Ask a friend’s nanny (FT) if she’d like to sit occasionally. You know she’s good, because she works for someone you know and she won’t flake because her reputation is on the line.

    • Amanda Lee

      Wouldn’t a friend’s nanny more than likely already be working for said friend?

  • Rachel

    Going rates here are $5-10 an hour. Most of the people asking more than $8 an hour are high school kids who don’t tend to get hired. There are pluses to living on/near military bases where SAHMs are just looking for extra spending cash.

    Our last babysitter (we have since babysitter-divorced her for other reasons) wouldn’t give us the courtesy of cancelling on us most of the time… she simply would not be home when we tried to drop kiddo off 30 minutes before our reservations. :) She was in her mid-20s with two kids of her own, so it definitely isn’t just an age thing.

  • 11candlelight

    If you want a quality sitter you’re going to have to pay quality prices— Sorry, but $10/an hour is NOTHING these days in my neck of the woods (rural vermont… so no big city prices here.) $10/hour will get you the young, just-starting-out-sitter or the flake. $12 minimum where I’m at, and $15/hour if you actually want someone with experience and who will play with your kids. Add an extra kid or two on top of that and it goes up to $20/hour…. Source? I’m a former college student who used to babysit in this area and these are the rates I could get. Now as a parent I am sadly priced out of the market…

  • March

    Quit whining. People make mistakes. The end.

    • Rebekah

      Haha….rude mommyish commenters crack me up….

  • Jordana

    I have had the same problem!! It’s worse when it’s a teenager that you’ve known since she was a little child and the flaking not only sucks for obvious reasons, but it also makes it awkward with her parents who you’ve also known for years and years!! And $10/hr??? They don;t make that at their PT Subway jobs!!! Great read :-)

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    I LOVED babysitting!
    I did it from 11, first for my brothers then I had gotten enough word around my estate so that by the time I was 14, I had a regular job with one famil with 5 kids for three evenings a week, every friday night with another family, and an overnight stay once every two weeks for yet another family.

    Not a lot of babysitters did the overnight thing so I was always very busy whenever Debs/Christening.Confirmation/Wedding season came.
    My only rule was that there be food in the house and that if something happened, I needed a note to say I was the temporary guardian of the kids, just in case.
    I have babysat for some dim parents though, one family told me about giving their toddler milk bottles, but never told me she was lactose intolerant.
    Only after she had vomited twice did I call the parents and they said O no, we forgot to say, she needs soy milk. and of course, there was none in the house!

    Another family didn’t want me changing the baby’s nappy, said they weren’t comfortable with it. All night. Which I believe is tantamount to child abuse.
    The very worst though was a woman who had twin boys. She screwed me over ONCE because I refused to sit for her anymore.
    I arrived at 10am, for a full day of babysitting. she said she’d be back by 6 and that there was food in the cupboards.
    there were bags and bags of crisps and nothing else.
    I literally had NOTHING to give these babies for their lunch (they were about 2)
    .
    I ended up popping them in the buggy and walking the three miles to the shop to buy break and eggs and they loved their soldiers. =)
    She had also told me if they misbehave to “just put some 7-up in their bottles and lock them in their room, they’ll only annoy you otherwise”
    (Needless to say I didn;t)
    To top it all off, when she came home at midnight, she gave out that I hadn;t hoovered and said she had no cash on her so she’d have to “sort me next week”
    then she tried paying me in items from her house.

    I found out shortly after that the kids were taken from her…
    Broke my heart to see such beautiful little boys treated that way

    • Bethany Ramos

      Those are crazy/sad stories!! Now you seriously need to write a babysitter tell-all.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      trust me I’ve had worse…
      I think the very worst was babysitting for a father whose wife had just passed about a month before. He had a little boy of four and the father had to go to a work thing.
      I arrived at the house and walked in (he had told me to just come in as the little lad might be napping)
      When I came in I just heard this heartbreaking sound… the father was crying and I could hear the little lad telling him “It’s ok Daddy, it’s ok”

      Absolutely broke my heart…
      I went back out and rang the doorbell, pretended I had forgotten he said to let myself in.
      Father came down as usual, acting all normal.
      I pretended like nothing had happened, but when he came back that evening, I slipped the money he gave me back into his jacket pocket, which was hanging up.

      No way was I taking money from that man, he’d been through so much, I would have been ashamed if I kept that money.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Oh wow, I teared up just reading this. First of all, you did an absolutely amazing thing. That was truly wonderful. Second, this seems like the perfect sad script for a movie, and it makes me want to cry even thinking about it. :( Now you really have to write a book!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      I’d say thank you but I honestly think anyone would have done that.
      That poor little family had so much going on, who was I to take money from them?
      He DID try giving the money to my mother to give to me, but I had explained to her what the story was.
      So she took it and posted it back with a card haha.
      My mother is the most generous and amazing person in the world, so I think if anyone deserves a mention, it’s her. =)

    • Bethany Ramos

      Awwwwww! I love this story.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      and if you want a little chuckle after that emotional bit there, my partner and I got together after I babysat for him!
      I babysat for him and his wife for three years, they both told me they were going through some issues (so I could understand if the kids were upset or acting up)
      They ended up splitting and two years later, he asked me out!
      We’ve been together five years now!

      =) not all babysitting stories are horror stories!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Omg, that’s such a win and must go in your book! Haha.

  • allison

    A reliable babysitter is a rare find.

  • MoD

    So I made $2 – $3/hour as a kid when babysitting. I babysat a LOT. We’re talking full time 40 hours a week in the summers and probably every weekend during the school year up until I was old enough to get a real job at 15. So I started babysitting 20 years ago, but I really don’t understand the rates people charge for babysitting these days. I was an interactive babysitter, cooked meals, and cleaned. Most kids are in bed by nine p.m., and most parents aren’t getting home until well after that. I was getting paid to sit at someone’s house who hopefully had satellite t.v. and some good snacks in the cupboard.

    Most babysitters around here are asking $10-$15/hour, and it just seems ridiculous to me. You are not working harder than the minimum wage worker at McDonald’s. We have a nanny who comes to our house and she charges less than $10/hour. A normally experienced babysitter should be charging in the $6 to $8/hour range. I live in a large metropolitan area, and I see people asking up to $20/hour! We had a babysitter when I first went back to work, a SAHM, who asked for $6/hour and she did all sorts of activities with my son, took him to the park, swimming, read to him, no t.v., she was amazing!

    • Andrew Cole

      I see you don’t understand how the free market works. Nobody cares how much you think they should charge. If people didn’t pay them, they would either stop doing it or charge less.

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