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What do most babysitters get paid?

Babysitting rates can vary widely depending on factors like location, number of children, and babysitter experience. However, most casual babysitters in the U.S. today charge between $15-$25 per hour on average. This rate is up from around $10-$15 per hour a decade ago.

Average babysitting rates

According to various surveys and reports, the average babysitting rate in 2023 is around $16-$20 per hour. This national average masks a pretty big range though across different cities, ages of sitters, and number of kids. Babysitting for one infant may pay $15 per hour in a small town, while managing 3 kids on a Saturday night could pay over $30 per hour in NYC.

Here’s a breakdown of typical current babysitting rates:

Location Average Rate per Hour
Small town $11 – $15
Mid-sized city $15 – $18
Major metro area $18 – $25

As you can see, rates trend higher in bigger, more expensive cities. The average is around $15/hour in rural areas and smaller towns, up to $22/hour or more in places like NYC and the Bay Area.

Babysitter Experience Average Rate per Hour
Teenager $10 – $15
College student $15 – $20
Professional nanny $18 – $25

Teenage babysitters charge on the lower end, usually under $15 per hour. College-aged sitters or those in their early 20s can command $15-$20/hour. Professional nannies with years of childcare experience and training can earn upwards of $25 per hour in major cities.

Factors affecting babysitting pay

Many different factors can influence how much babysitters get paid per hour. The main ones are:


As mentioned earlier, babysitting rates are markedly higher in major metro areas and expensive coastal cities. Sitters in places like San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles often earn 50-100% more than their counterparts in smaller inland cities. The local cost of living is a major factor.

Sitters experience & qualifications

Teenage babysitters generally earn less than college-aged or mature adult sitters. Additionally, sitters with formal training in childcare, CPR certification, teaching credentials, or years of professional childcare experience can command upwards of $22 per hour or more.

Number of children

The more children a sitter has to care for, the more they can justify charging per hour. Sitting for an only child may only pay $12-15 per hour. But managing 3 or 4 kids at once could easily earn $22 per hour or more.

Children’s ages

Babysitting infants and toddlers is more demanding than sitting for independent school-aged kids. Expect to pay a premium for sitters willing to change diapers and chase crawling babies. Sitting for well-behaved kids who can entertain themselves typically pays a bit less per hour.

Special needs

Babysitting children with special medical, developmental, or behavioral needs if often more demanding. Sitters caring for kids with special needs tend to charge $3-$5 more per hour.

Overnight & weekend

Late night and weekend babysitting is less convenient, so sitters often charge a premium for it. Weeknight sitting may pay $15 per hour, while overnight care could cost $20 per hour. Weekend rates also tend to run about 20% higher than weekday rates.

Negotiating babysitting pay

Babysitting rates are mainly determined by supply and demand, as well as what parents are willing/able to pay in your area. As the babysitter, you have the right to set your own rates. Here are some tips for negotiating fair babysitting pay:

  • Research typical rates in your city and neighborhood.
  • Take into account your experience, qualifications, and how many kids you’ll watch.
  • Be confident stating your rates – don’t undercharge yourself!
  • Consider offering family discounts if sitting for the same family regularly.
  • Be open to give and take – a little flexibility helps.

If parents try to negotiate down, emphasize why your time and services are worth a fair rate. Politely stand firm on what you need to be paid. But also be reasonable – you may lose the job if your rates are double the norm in your area.

Babysitting expenses & extra fees

On top of hourly pay, some additional fees or reimbursements to bring up when negotiating babysitting pay include:


If you use your own car and gas to drive to a job, consider asking for mileage reimbursement at the standard IRS rate of around $0.60/mile.

Food & expenses

For overnight jobs, the family should provide food or money to order food. You may need to buy diapers, wipes, toys or other supplies, which should be reimbursed.


Watching kids for over 8 hours a day may qualify for overtime pay. Aim for time and a half rates for excess hours.

Late fees

If parents are late coming home, determine whether you’ll charge a late pickup fee like $10-20 for every 30 minutes past the agreed end time.

Taxes on babysitting income

One complicated aspect of babysitting pay is taxes. All income, including informal babysitting and nanny jobs, is technically taxable. But most casual babysitters do not report their earnings, for a few reasons:

  • Babysitting income is often under the filing threshold for reporting.
  • Babysitters are usually claimed as independent contractors, so taxes are not withheld.
  • It’s impractical for most families to issue sitters a 1099 form.
  • Enforcement would be extremely difficult for the IRS.

That said, if you regularly earn over $600 per year from any one family, best practice is to report your earnings and pay applicable income taxes. For incomes under $15,000 a year, your tax rate as an independent contractor will be about 14.5% in most states.

Tax tips for babysitters

To make tax reporting easier, be sure to:

  • Track your income and save receipts for job-related expenses.
  • Deduct any eligible mileage, supplies, and other babysitting expenses.
  • Take advantage of all available tax deductions and credits.
  • Consider forming an LLC if babysitting is your full-time job.

Apps like HomePay and others will track pay and even file taxes for you. But if in doubt, consult an accountant for advice on reporting babysitting income and minimizing your tax obligations.


Most babysitters today earn between $15-$25 per hour, with rates rising in big cities and for highly qualified sitters. Babysitting income is technically taxable, but enforcement is difficult. With the right experience and professionalism, babysitting can be a lucrative side job or full-time career. Tracking your income carefully makes tax reporting easier if your earnings exceed filing thresholds.