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How to set a nanny or babysitter salary?

It’s time to leave Timmy with a new babysitter - but what is a fair rate these days?

You decide that you need a babysitter for the occasional evening out: it’s time to have a little time doing something for yourself, or with your spouse. You research the questions to ask on an interview and meet with several candidates. You think you’ve found the right person to help you take care of your little one when it dawns on you: How much am I supposed to pay them?

There are multiple factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding what to pay your babysitter. We’ll outline them here for you:

Consider the Caregiver

The fifteen-year-old kid from next door is going to be at a different pay rate from the twenty-year-old Early Childhood Education graduate. Age, experience and qualifications of your future babysitter are all factors in deciding a rate.

Age - While being an adult does not guarantee that a person will be more responsible, there is a reasonable correlation to be made between age and reliability. Your nine year old would probably be fine for the occasional evening with the kid from next door but your three months old might require more attention and care. Ultimately, you have to feel safe leaving your child with this person and for many, that means leaving their kids in the care of an adult.

Qualifications - Does your babysitter have a certificate from a babysitting course? Do they have CPR certification? Depending on the skills that you will want or need in your babysitter, you should expect to pay accordingly.

Experience - Depending on your needs, it could be enough to hire someone whose only experience is taking care of their younger siblings. On the other hand, if you have a special needs child, you will probably be looking for a babysitter with actual and credible experience with kids who have similar needs. The latter would definitely warrant a higher rate of pay than the former.

Think About Your Kids

Special Care Requirements - It’s not just special needs children that require a little extra care. If your child is affected by a severe allergy or requires the caregiver to administer medication, you will want to consider any additional responsibilities of this nature when deciding on a rate of pay for your babysitter.

How Many Kids? - A babysitter’s pay should reflect the number of children in their care, as well as the age of those kids. A nine-years-old and seven-years-old have different care requirements from a newborn and toddler. A good rule of thumb is: younger children = higher rate of pay. Another? More kids = higher rate of pay.

Other Non-Care Considerations

Tasks in Addition to Child Care - Does your babysitter need to prepare meals - as opposed to serving ready-made snacks? Do you expect them to wash the dishes and tidy up the common areas after the kids have gone to bed? The rate of pay should reflect additional tasks that aren’t necessarily part of the definition of “child care”.

Hours - How often you will need the babysitter to come over and for how long each time make a difference in the rate of pay. In other words, do you simply need the odd evening out or are you looking for someone to be consistently available during the day? One is an add on the type of work and the other is practically a full-time job.

Where You Live - If the babysitter has a long commute to your home, you should consider a premium for transportation, particularly for evenings that ends late or overnight care.

Most experienced babysitters will happily quote an hourly rate once they understand the nature of the duties you will want them to perform. Once you and your babysitter have agreed to a rate of pay, review it regularly - every six months or so - to make sure that it is still appropriate and none of the above factors have changed significantly. Factor in the minimum wage in your province as well, to ensure that the rate you are willing to pay is competitive.

Ultimately, you want your kids to be cared for by someone who is happy in their job and part of that satisfaction comes from being paid appropriately for the skills that they bring to the table. They are having a direct impact on the happiness and well-being of your kids, so it’s important to keep lines of communication lines open!

Paulina Podgorska

Founder of SOSsitter.ca

Like most women, Paulina wears many hats.  She is a mother, she is an entrepreneur, she is an at home child care expert.  This vocation manifested at an early age when she started being a full time nanny for her baby brother.  Later on, she used her experience to work as a babysitter while in college.  She then became a Mom and started to look for child care providers. Being a single mother, finding the right at home baby sitter was critical to her.  This quest for the perfect nanny gave her the opportunity to meet and work with numerous nannies and  babysitters and further develop her expertise. Realizing that finding the right nanny or babysitter turned too often into an obstacle course, Paulina created SOSsitter.ca, an on line service where parents and local in-home sitters connect, that’s fast, efficient and affordable. Through SOSsitter.ca, Paulina leverages her expertise to help families find the local help they need, when they need it.  The site gives parents the opportunity to use their own criteria to search through a large database of detailed profiles of local nannies and babysitters that have been reviewed by mothers. Paulina also has a blog where she shares advice to help families through the selection and hiring process of a babysitter or nanny.  She also describes on her blog her adventures as a mom entrepreneur and founder of SOSsitter.

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