How Much to Pay a Teenager for Babysitting: The Complete Guide for Parents

Finding a trustworthy and responsible babysitter to care for your kids is no easy task. When hiring a teenager to babysit, determining how much to pay can be tricky. You want to be fair and offer a reasonable rate, but you also don’t want to overpay for services. This complete guide covers everything parents need to know about setting pay rates for teenage babysitters.

Factors That Impact Babysitter Pay

Many different factors come into play when deciding how much to pay your go-to teen babysitter. Here are some of the top considerations:

Experience Level

How much experience does the babysitter have? A total newbie should earn less than a teen who has several years of babysitting under their belt and great references. Experience level directly correlates with pay.

Number of Kids

The number of kids the sitter will be caring for is a huge factor. Babysitting for one or two easy-going kids is very different from wrangling three or four rowdy ones! Additional kids mean much more work and responsibility for the sitter, so pay should increase accordingly.

Ages of Kids

Along with number of kids, the ages of the children are also important. Older, more self-sufficient kids are easier than infants, toddlers, or young children who require constant supervision and hands-on care. Sitters who watch infants or challenging special needs kids should be paid more.

Hours and Timing

Does the sitting job cover just a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon or an extended overnight shift? Time of day also matters—late nights and weekends should earn sitters higher hourly rates than regular daytime hours. The total number of hours worked figures heavily into appropriate pay.

Sitting Location

Is the sitter coming to your home or will you drop kids off at the sitter’s place? Sitters hosting at their own home take on more responsibility and often extra tasks like providing meals or transportation. This should bump up their earnings.

Expectations and Duties

What exactly are the sitter’s expected duties? Basic child supervision earns less than a babysitter who is also expected to prepare meals, help with homework, do light housekeeping, or drive kids to activities and appointments. Additional duties require more effort and experience.

As you can see, there are many intersecting factors that determine a fair hourly rate for teenage babysitters. The next sections offer more guidance on setting pay.

Average National Rates for Teen Babysitters

While local rates vary, the national average for teenage babysitter pay typically falls between $10-$20 per hour depending on experience, duties and the many factors listed above. Here is a quick breakdown of standard pay rates:

  • Entry-level teens with minimal experience: $10-$12 per hour
  • Teens with 2+ years experience and good references: $13-$15 per hour
  • Very experienced sitters and those with specialized skills/certs (CPR, etc.): $16-$20+ per hour

Many parents also pay a slightly higher hourly rate for overtime, weekend, evening, and overnight sitting jobs. Teens who watch multiple children or infants/special needs kids command higher rates too.

Bonuses, tips, gas money for driving, and compensation for supplies purchased may be given in addition to hourly pay.

Establishing Pay Expectations Up Front

Before hiring a new teen sitter, have an open discussion about pay expectations. Explain the typical hourly rate you offer based on their unique level of skills and your specific childcare needs. Ask what they expect to earn to see if you are in alignment.

Compare rates with those of other teens in your area. If your rate is much lower, be prepared to increase pay to remain competitive. Don’t lowball great sitters—word will spread!

Clearly outline your exact duties, hours, and policies so there are no surprises. Establish whether you will pay extra for additional kids or certain duties. Agree on pay in advance so there is no awkward negotiation later.

Increasing Pay Rates Over Time

As a teen sitter gains more experience caring for your kids, it’s fair to gradually increase their pay. After 6-12 months, consider bumping up hourly pay by a dollar or two.

Schedule an annual compensation review and thank the sitter for their ongoing hard work and increasing skill level. A small raise and kind words can help retain a stellar sitter long-term.

If they take on more duties like cooking or transporting kids, discuss whether a pay boost makes sense. Extra effort deserves better pay.

Handling Pay for Overnight Jobs

Overnight babysitting jobs that span 10+ hours deserve special consideration. There are a few approaches to paying teens for extended overnights:

  • Hourly rate for all hours worked – Pay your regular hourly rate for all hours the sitter is on duty.
  • Flat overnight rate – Set a flat rate that covers the whole overnight, usually $80-$150.
  • Smaller hourly + flat rate – Pay hourly until kids are asleep then a lower flat rate for remaining overnight hours.
  • Premium hourly rate – Pay 1.5x your normal rate for late night and early morning hours.

No matter your approach, be clear upfront about overnight pay expectations. Make sure overnight rates are fair for the sitter’s time and lost sleep!

Paying for Additional Work and Expenses

Don’t take advantage of your teen sitter’s time and kindness. Here are some extra costs you should reimburse or pay for:

  • Gas money for transporting kids in their own car
  • Mileage for sitter’s vehicle use
  • Any arts supplies, activities, or food they purchase for kids
  • Late or last-minute cancellation fees
  • Cleaning or laundry costs if kids make a giant mess!
  • Damages or breakages caused by unruly kids

Confirm ahead of time what expenses you will cover—don’t surprise sitters by refusing reimbursement later. Be reasonable and appreciate their extra efforts.

Providing Overtime Pay

You should pay time-and-a-half rates for any overtime hours your sitter works beyond 40 hours in a single week. This shows respect for their time and exhaustion working extended hours.

Discuss overtime pay in advance and track hours carefully. Avoid unreasonable overtime situations that overwork and burn out good sitters.

Handling Pay for Multiple Children

When your sitter cares for additional kids, add on an extra $1-$3 per hour per extra kid. The younger the kids, the more you should pay per additional child. Adjust this per-child rate over time as your sitter gains experience managing groups of kids.

Be clear about pay bumps for multiples before asking your sitter to take on extra kids! Don’t guilt or pressure them.

Providing End-of-Year Bonuses

A thoughtful holiday or year-end cash bonus brings joy and encourages loyalty. Consider giving a $25-$100 bonus to sitters who work regularly for 6+ months.

Bring small holiday gifts too like gift cards, baked goods, or movie tickets to say thanks.

Surprise bonuses reward your babysitter’s hard work and dedication. Don’t forget bonuses and gifts for stellar teen sitters!

Avoid Underpaying with Lowball Rates

It’s unfair and unrealistic to offer a teenage sitter less than $10 per hour, especially for babies and multiple kids that require more skill and effort. Ultra-low wages show you don’t value their time or experience.

Don’t exaggerate what you can afford either. If $20/hour is totally doable, don’t say you can only swing $10. Be honest.

Underpaying leads to high sitter turnover and kids losing great caregivers. Spend within your budget to retain the best sitters.

Increase Pay Over Time

A common parental dilemma—when should you start paying your go-to sitter more? As kids get older and require less hands-on care, some parents try to lower pay rates. Don’t do this!

Gradually increase pay over time to reward loyalty and experience. Cost of living rises, so pay should too.

Sweeten pay with yearly bonuses. Small raises keep your fantastic sitter from seeking better-paying jobs elsewhere. Invest in keeping great childcare!

Use An Online Calculator

Many free online tools like’s babysitter pay calculator make it easy to estimate fair rates tailored to your specific situation. plug in factors like number of kids, ages, years of experience and location.

The calculator suggests a pay range based on real-world data. Use the numbers to guide the rate you offer your teen sitter.

Double check the rate makes sense by comparing with national averages and local prices. Adjust up or down if needed to be fair. Don’t rely solely on a calculator.

Talk to Other Parents

What do your parent friends pay their teen sitters? Ask around to compare your rate to local prices for babysitters. Maybe local teens expect higher pay than you budgeted for.

If your rate is far below those of neighbors, coworkers or other parents, consider adjusting your offer. You want it to be competitive, so good sitters pick you!

But don’t feel pressure to overpay just to keep up with high-rolling parents. Set reasonable rates you actually can afford.

Consider Benefits Beyond Pay

Aside from fair monetary compensation, also focus on providing other benefits to your teen sitter:

  • Give gas money or pay for transportation if they drive your kids
  • Provide dinner or snacks if sitting lasts over mealtimes
  • Offer small gifts, bonuses and appreciation at holidays
  • Pay on time without delays!
  • Provide glowing references for future jobs
  • Give consistent schedule and ample notice
  • Ensure safe workplace and polite kids
  • Communicate openly and listen to their needs

Small perks and intangibles help too, not just pay rates. Prioritize making sitters feel valued, respected, and supported.

Avoid nickel-and-diming

It’s quite annoying when employers try to nitpick every cent and minute to avoid paying fairly. Don’t clock watch or interrogate your sitter over small shifts in hours.

Similarly, don’t squabble over reasonable incidental expenses. If your kids cause $10 in damages or extra cleaning costs, just reimburse it. Don’t argue endlessly to avoid paying.

Track hours and provide payment reliably. Don’t invent reasons to trim pay. Fair pay leads to better care.

Review Rates Annually

Mark your calendar a year from each sitter’s start date as a reminder to review rates. Reassess if you need to increase pay based on changed needs, increased experience, higher cost of living, etc.

Think through if duties, expectations, or number of kids have changed. Adjust pay higher to reward loyalty if all is going well.

Annual reviews ensure you stay on track with fair pay. Don’t take advantage of a steady sitter who won’t ask for more. Offer increases proactively.

Discuss Raises Openly

If your stellar sitter asks for a pay bump after a year or when taking on new duties, have an open chat. Explain your rates are aligned with experience and local prices.

But if their request is reasonable, try your best to compromise. Outline what duties or skills gain increases over time.

Thank them for their great care for your kids! Ultimate goal: cooperate to make pay fair and retain trust.

Compare Pay to Minimum Wage

Review minimum wage for your state and locality. Using teens under 18, you can pay 85% of minimum wage. But don’t go below minimum rates for those 18+.

If minimum wage is $15, pay teens under 18 at least $12.75 per hour. For 18+ skilled sitters, meet or exceed minimum wage.

Local minimums ensure fair baseline pay. But experienced sitters often earn well above that threshold. Don’t default to bare minimums.

Address Pay Concerns Kindly But Firmly

What if your sitter demands way above your rate range or minimum wage? First hear them out calmly. Ask them to outline their experience and why they require premium pay.

Explain your rate reasoning kindly but firmly. Stick to fair rates aligned with their actual skills and local prices.

If they refuse to compromise on unreasonable overpayment, you may have to part ways. But first try to find workable common ground if possible.

Avoid Under the Table Pay

Always pay babysitters officially with taxable income. Even if your sitter asks for cash pay under the table, stick to official pay with a W-9 form.

You want to avoid risk and properly report their income. Payroll services like HomePay handle taxes easily and automatically.

Under the table pay puts you and your sitter at huge legal risk and tax liability. Do things by the book!

How Much are Babysitting Taxes?

To properly report sitter income, you must pay all applicable taxes. Here’s a quick primer on tax rates:

  • Federal income tax: 12.4%
  • Social Security: 6.2%
  • Medicare: 1.45%
  • State income tax: 0% – 10% depending on your state
  • Local taxes: Vary by location

Sitters owing under $1,150 in taxes can be claimed as household employees exempt from FICA. Talk to a tax pro to ensure proper tax handling.

Send Pay on Schedule

Nothing upsets sitters more than late or inconsistent pay. Set up a regular pay schedule, like weekly direct deposit or check. Pay every single period, no exceptions.

Use payroll services or apps that issue automated on-time payments. Manual reminders and cash pay are risky.

Prompt pay shows you value your sitter’s time and contribution. Don’t make them chase you to get earnings.

Provide W-2s at Year End

At the end of the tax year, issue your sitter an official W-2 wage statement before the January 31 deadline. You must report annual income if over $2,200.

Use a payroll provider to generate W-2s automatically. Keep good records of hours tracked and income. Don’t misclassify babysitters as contractors.

Follow all tax rules to avoid IRS penalties down the road. Your sitter needs that W-2 for filing taxes!

Pick Perks Over Pay Cuts

Prefer small perks over cutting base pay to save money. For example, offer gas cards rather than reducing their hourly rate.

Or provide occasional childcare or meal expenses instead of docking base pay.

Find simple ways to show appreciation without taking money out of their pocket. Small gestures go a long way.

Let Sitters Bill for Additional Hours

Your diligent sitter should never perform unpaid work. But if they occasionally stay late or handle extra tasks, have them track hours to invoice later.

Agree on clear rules for pre-approval before taking on off-schedule time. But don’t stiff them for hours already worked.

Quickly review and approve legitimate extra time billed. Unpaid work breeds resentment.

Avoid Guilt Trips About Pay

As parents, we want to pay as little as possible to save money. But don’t play games implying your sitter is greedy if they want fair pay.

Don’t guilt them by saying you can barely afford their rate. Plan ahead and set aside a babysitting budget.

Hire teens at rates you can actually sustain long-term. Then pay them reliably without making them feel guilty.

Let Sitters Go If You Can’t Afford Fair Pay

Sometimes you and a sitter can’t agree on fair pay aligned with their experience and your budget. If you’re unable to compromise, allow them to find a new family.

Part respectfully without guilt or bitterness. Then look for an alternative sitter within your lower price range.

Just don’t string along teens with empty promises of future raises. Be honest about what you can afford.

Remember Pay Sets the Tone

This bears repeating: Fair pay leads to better care! When you offer teens reasonable pay, you attract responsible and caring sitters dedicated to your kids.

A fair rate sets a positive tone from the start. It shows potential sitters you’ll value their time and efforts.

While pay shouldn’t be the only factor, it’s an incredibly important one for landing and keeping great sitters.

Questions to Ask About Pay:

Now you have a complete guide to paying your go-to teen babysitter. Use these final questions to nail down the perfect rate:

  • What’s the local range for teen sitters based on experience?
  • What hourly rate is affordable in my family budget?
  • How many kids will they be watching and what ages?
  • What exact duties am I expecting the sitter to handle?
  • How late will sitting hours extend on weekends/nights?
  • Can I provide small bonuses, gifts and mileage reimbursement?
  • Does my payroll method allow me to pay on time without hassles?
  • Will I give annual raises to reward experience and loyalty?

Get answers to these key questions when negotiating pay. Offer your fantastic teen sitter a rate that’s fair for both parties! Consistent and reliable income keeps great sitters caring for your kids long term.