I recently posted a “grinds my gears” thought on my Facebook and it got quite a bit of response from all perspectives so I thought I would share it on here too. It’s about the average cost of teenage babysitters these days. I’m talking your casual young teen sitters…not an experienced nanny, licensed daycares or ECE’s, etc who have made child care their careers. I’m talking “little-to-no-work-experience-and-still-too-young-to-qualify-for-a-regular-job-teen”.
$8+ per hour (I’ve heard as high as $12 if the teen is “experienced”). Maybe I am way behind the times, but I’m a numbers and stats girl…and to me, these numbers just don’t add up.
I’ll explain how I come to this conclusion: I made $3 an hour babysitting 1 child when I was a young teen around 13-14 years old (around 1998/1999). $5/hr for babysitting 2 kids. When I got my first “official job” as a cashier at 16 years old (so in about 2001) I made minimum wage at $8 per hour at that time. Now I realize the cost of things, wages, etc (even under-the-table wages like teen babysitting) increase and go up…I’m not against that when it’s fair all around. But if I am doing the math correctly…that means the BC minimum wage has increased by 30% in the last 15 years (just 15% for liquor servers) and the minimum babysitting wage has increased on average by 100% (200% increase for “experienced” teen sitters).
I personally feel an increase equal to what min wage has gone up would be fair. Min wage has gone up 30% from $8 to $10.45 per hour in the last 15 years. 15 years ago the average babysitter rate was $3-5 per hour for 1 kid…so let’s cut the difference and say $4 an hour 15 years ago. Increase that by 30% and realistically the babysitting wage for 1 kid nowadays should be about $5.25. That’s on par for what min wage in BC has gone up in the same time period.
I had a lot of pros and cons comments on this subject which I loved because 1. I love a good debate. 2. I am new to child-care costs these days, and 3. I am open to opinions on this subject…because sometimes it can be hard to view all sides in my bogged-down mommy brain, ya know!?
One person commented:“My opinion is if you want someone to truly, by truly I mean actually pay attention and look after your child, no distractions from tv, cell phones, etc and actually care for your child then paying them a decent wage ($8/hr) is reasonable.”
Another person added:“I now pay our evening babysitter $10 an hour. I feel she earns what she gets, and we feel completely safe leaving our 14 month old with her. I would pay a good wage as we are putting our children’s lives in their hands. I do feel it’s steep but totally pay it for the right person!”
At first glance, for a moment I completely changed my perspective. I thought “whoa, they have a point! I worry and check in already leaving my daughter with grandparents and family members – I would definitely be willing to pay more to get better care for her”.
…BUT then I thought about that a little bit. While I can see the idea some have behind paying more to get better care out of a babysitter (again, referring to young teen sitters, not experienced nanny’s, licensed daycares or ECE’s, etc) – I believe when it comes to young teenagers – essentially kids, they are either going to be attentive and engaging with kids or they aren’t – regardless of pay. Not many, if any, don’t have smart phones nowadays and I wouldn’t think $5 an hour or $10 an hour is going to stop them from being distracted on it if that is what they are into – and let’s be honest…chances are a teenagers top priority is going to be there social life. This is not to say that teenagers do not make good babysitters because they care about their social life – it just means I don’t expect the same level of engagement from young teens as I would, say, an adult nanny with experience and education.
|Higher price doesn’t always equal higher quality|
Another person added to my initial view on the teenage babysitter wage versus minimum wage and commented:
“People that want to give equal pay or just be fair seem to forget that these babysitters are getting paid straight across the board. There are no deductions being taken off. People making minimum wage, after deductions, usually end up bringing home somewhere around $7-$8. The babysitting rate nowadays makes it so a single mom on income assistant might as well stay on it. If she has to pay a babysitter $8.00 an hour, and she is making minimum wage, after deductions she would be going backwards.”
In my mind, casual babysitting, for the most part, is a stepping stone job for young teens aged 13-15 or so to earn a little bit of money and responsibility until they are old enough to apply for real jobs. Perhaps, for example, a 19 year old who has 6 years of experience babysitting throughout their teenage years and courses/first aid certifications under their belt does deserve $10-$12+ an hour…but I don’t see anything wrong with a 13 or 14 year old earning $5 an hour to watch 1 child for a few hours during an afternoon or evening.
What are you opinions on this subject? What do you think is a fair and reasonable wage for young teen babysitters to make an hour per child?