Is $5 an Hour Good for Babysitting?

Have you ever thought about picking up some babysitting work on the side to help make ends meet?

Maybe you are a student looking for some extra cash on the side, or a stay-at-home mom hoping to work while you watch your own children, and you’re wondering—is $5 an hour good for babysitting? 

Or, you might be on the other side of the equation: you’re looking for a babysitter and wonder what you should offer to pay them. 

Let’s dig in!

Is $5 an Hour Good for Babysitting?

No matter the circumstance, there are a few important things to consider when deciding an appropriate pay for babysitting work.

Aim for Minimum Wage 

Minimum wage varies from state to state, and even from city to city in some circumstances. 

If you are thinking about taking on babysitting as a full-time job, the person employing you may be legally obligated to pay you at least minimum wage in your jurisdiction. 

In most cases, $5 an hour would not be a legal hourly pay even if it is just a side gig.

Now, this isn’t always the case for minors, or if you come to an agreement about a set rate for a certain amount of time (e.g. a day rate or evening rate) instead of an hourly pay. 

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Consider the Number of Children 

While $5 an hour probably is not enough money to be worth your time, you may consider charging by the child. 

If the person has three children, you could offer a rate of $5 per hour per child, bringing your pay up to $15 an hour. 

You can adjust this rate based on the ages of the children, how much attention and energy it will require, and other varying factors such as whether or not you will be helping with homework and dinner. 

A family with more children who are in a younger age range should pay more than a family with only one child who is old enough to be mostly independent.

Charge More for Experience 

In general, the more experience you have doing something, the more you should charge for your time. 

$5 an hour for babysitting might be an okay source of side income for a very young teen who is just getting their foot in the door. 

However, if you have more expertise with childcare, then you can rightly charge more for your services. 

When it comes to people’s children, they are usually happy to pay a higher dollar amount for a babysitter that they can trust. You can negotiate a higher pay by providing references, getting a certification in CPR, and offering tutoring, cleaning, and cooking while you babysit. 

Remember, as a babysitter you are responsible for keeping children fed, safe, and happy. It may seem like an easy job but that’s not always the case. You are filling in for a parent in their absence, and that is a big responsibility. 

While childcare is barely affordable for some families and you may want to offer the best rates around, you also want to ensure that you are being compensated fairly for taking on the work of a parent. 

Similarly, if you are thinking about hiring a babysitter and want to know what to pay them, remember that you will get what you pay for. If you want someone with more experience who is trustworthy, be prepared to pay a little bit more. It will be worth it to have the peace of mind that your children are in good hands. 

So: is $5 an hour good for babysitting? The short answer is no. In most cases, a great babysitter will charge more than $5 an hour because they have the necessary skills to care for your children.

Beyond babysitting, check out these 100+ other side gigs to bring in extra cash!