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I know most of us have husbands that are still in school so we can't afford to hire a babysitter consistently for a weekly date night. But now that my husband and I have 3 kids we decided this had to be a priority. When I actually got around to thinking about babysitters though I realized how clueless I am about what is appropriate. So I'm coming to you to see what you guys think and know about babysitting norms.

How much do you pay a babysitter? How many kids and what ages are appropriate for one babysitter to watch? How old do you think a babysitter needs to be to watch your kids? How long and how late is ok to have a babysitter over? How often can you use the same babysitter? What tasks are appropriate to expect of a babysitter (ex: feeding kids, bathing kids, getting kids in bed)? What do you look for in a good babysitter? Ok I know that's question overload but like I said... I'm clueless!

Our biggest dilemma right now is the baby. He's at an age where it would be hard to take him with us on a date but I hardly ever leave my husband alone with all three kids, let alone a teenage girl who hardly knows them! So how do you go on dates when you have a baby or multiple kids that you don't think a babysitter could handle?

So tell me what you think/know! :)


Mike, Anna, Mikelle and Kaylee said...

Good question!!!! My husband and I are hiring our first babysitter this weekend and have no idea what to pay. My sister (12) gets paid $5 an hour!! is that normal? I'm not sure I can afford to be gone very long! :) My girls go to bed at 7 so we toyed with the idea of having them in bed when the sitter comes, then I don't have to worry about her getting stressed and maybe I wouldn't have to pay as much?!? You could think about having 2 sisters come then it would be less stressful leaving your baby home. But I don't know this will be my first time hiring it done.

Cassi said...

$5 an hour? Is that per child? The one sitter we've hired before only charged $1 per child per hour... we paid her more than that but $5 sounds high for a 12 year old!?
After bedtime is a good idea... it seems like you should be able to cut the cost since all they are doing is hanging out!? I have no idea though.
My kids don't go to bed until at least 8... so we'd end up at a 10:00 movie and the sitter would be here until midnight... is that too late?
Anna, you'll have to let us know how it goes! I hope you have a fun date!!!

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molly and geoff archibald said...

This is a great question--we were so spoiled when we lived in the duplex downstairs from my sister-in-law Christine. We just gave them the monitor and said "We'll be back at midnight!" Quinn was so happy playing with her cousin Ian, she never even noticed we were gone! Now that we aren't in the duplex anymore, we do pay 5 dollars an hour for adds up pretty quickly. We usually try to have an easy dinner ready, like mac & cheese, or pizza. She goes to bed really well so we haven't run into any problems with that one yet... Sometimes we con my dad or my youngest sister and her husband to come over for free...on the pretense that they want to hang out with Quinn, of course!
We have 3 girls we rotate between. One girl is our neighbor, and it's really convenient to use her, because we don't have to drive her home. I think once we have more than one kid, we'll probably bump it up to 6 an hour but I cannot imagine paying more than that. We probably pay a sitter about once a month. Good luck!

s said...

Since we have moved I usually just ask a young couple in the ward to watch Ian. They love playing mom and dad for a few hours and rarely accept any payment, I remember we used to do that in the New Brighton Ward. We have very few Young Women in our ward to choose from and no young girls in the neighborhood.

I have heard of a few couples in my new ward that swap babysitting. It is usually two families that have the same number of kids and one couple goes out on Friday night and the other goes out on Sat night of the same weekend. There are two families that swap and "try" to do this every weekend! That ties up a lot of time but I think the idea is great. The New Brighton Ward would be perfect for this idea since there are so many families in the same situation living in close proximity.

I remember being a very regular babysitter to a few families in my neighborhood growing up. One family had 3 kids, the youngest was around 1 yr. I would get there in time to feed them dinner (it was already prepared) while the mom got ready. Then I would put them to bed, no baths. The parent's weren't too concerned about getting home early so I just fell asleep on the couch and they would wake me up to take me home. Back then I would get $5-6 per hour for all 3 kids. It does add up and I thought it was the best!

Speaking of paying kids, I just had a 9 yr old boy watch my cat when we were away for Christmas. We payed him $30 for the 11 days we were gone and his mother told us we paid him too much and had him return the $20 bill! I think we get too caught up in the payment way more then the kids do. They are just glad to be earning money!

Annie said...

The standard where we live is $5 for 1 kid. I pay $7 for 2 kids, but we rarely pay for a babysitter between family here and our amazing babysitting swap. We have five families and do it every Saturday from 4pm-8pm so it doesn't interrupt anyone's bedtime. There are 8 kids total from ages 18mos to 5. No babies under 12 months are allowed to be dropped, so unfortunately for 3 of us who have just had newborns, the baby has to come on our date. Four hours is enough time for us to go to the temple (barely) or dinner and a movie and although 8 kids is a little crazy, it's a good combination of kids and one night of babysitting is DEFINITELY worth our four "free" dates! I would skip asking people without kids to watch your kids for free - unless they are begging you for the opportunity!!

The Paynes said...

We regularly hire sitters, and yes, it does make the price of the date go up, so we try to cut back on what we do for our activity. I wouldn't pay less than $4 an hour for even just one kid, even asleep, cause seriously, who wants to tie up a Friday night for $8? I have four kids now and I talk to the girl's mom to see if she could handle all of them for 2 hours while we go to dinner. When you get used to a sitter, it's easier on everyone to be gone longer. I don't stay out past 9 on weeknights and if it's ok with them, midnight on weekends(if we can stay up that long). Always check with parents, and take care of all transportation. Type up a paper with all necessary phone numbers and emergency contacts, bedtimes, and your discipline routine. I always let them know it's just fine to call me whenever, no matter what. I actually pay our 13 yr old sitter about $6-7 an hour for all 4 kids. I would pay $5 for one. I have one sitter who always cleans my house(keeps it clean) and one who left a huge mess and I never had her back. Shop around and get established. Any other questions?! Sorry so long!

Bubbles said...

I happen to be a babysitter, and I did a job for one hour, watching a 1 1/2 year-old with a parent around. I didn't have to do anything, (like change diapers, put him down for a nap, ect.) and I got paid $7. I think this rate is a bit high, but the parents of the child considered $5 but said "No, that is too low." I have only had a little experience and are at a young age to babysit, so I think that that is a little unfair to them but they said it was ok.