How much would you pay your sister to watch your toddler?
For how long? How many hours? For a single babysitting job or continuing for several days a week?
For a single night out, 20 dollars.
For 3 to 5 days a week, anywhere between 15 and 25 per day, depending on the going rate in your area.
Remember that you get what you pay for, and that it's a good idea to take good care of those who take good care of you. If you pay her well she may be inspired to do an extra good job.
She comes at 6 am and is done by 2 the latest 3. I pay her whether or not she watches the child....
If she comes at 6am and leaves around 2pm, having spent 8 hours at your house, it makes sense to pay her. Even if you are still there. If she's not watching your kid (meaning ensuring safety) while you're gone, then why is she there?
It really depends on local conditions, and what you can afford.
Our friends pay about $10/hour to watch her 2 daughters, near Portland/Newburg, OR.
$20/night was the going rate almost 20 years ago in our area.
I earned about $7.50/hour (minimum wage) for a city job where I served sleeping guests overnight. We got about 5 hours' sleep on the job, and spent the rest of the time handling details and emergencies. We had first-aid training; and we got 1 or 2 meals on the job.
If you're paying more than you can afford for the service she offers, here's some ideas.
You could talk to her about an 'on-call' rate when you're there (think 1/2 price). She can sleep, read, watch TV, whatever. When you need her to be awake and 'on-duty', the rate goes up and so do your expectations.
Think about your 8-hour job, and what's fair pay.
Think about what she offers your kids, and if she's worth more or less than day-care.
Find out the going rate for babysitting, nanny, au pair, & day-care in your area (ask around). Don't rub it in her face, just know what you'd have to pay if she quits, and what you'd get for that money.
If you're concerned you can't pay what she's worth, talk to Sis about 'side benefits.' Is she happy working in the family, or does she feel like she's doing you a favor?
You could offer to pay for her training (food handler exam, First Aid/CPR, Early Learning, online classes, etc), or a membership at a local child-friendly attraction, so she gets better skills and your kids get better care.
Let's see. Your sister is a $150 an hour consultant who has clients that keep her busy. How much would YOU pay her?
Just think, even if your sister is not such a consultant, she has a life, also. If she does it willingly, fine. But if she is made to feel guilty, you are just using her. Maybe she doesn't want to baby-sit for any amount of money.
If you can't afford to pay someone to do the job you signed up for -- being a mother -- maybe you should have thought about that, say, a year ago.
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