Babysitter Solutions: Dollars and Sense: Paying Your Babysitter

A lot of us remember making $3 an hour when we were younger, legging it to babysitting jobs and pocketing hard-earned cash at the end of the night. But like all things, child care rates change. While today's rates might make you do a double take, they're the equivalent of yesterday's $3 an hour fast-forwarded into a world of $7 Starbucks lattes. Learning babysitter rates has traditionally been as hard as finding Versace models in rural Utah, but with new online child care resources and offline support services for working mothers, suddenly they're much clearer. Check out these basic guidelines to ensure selecting a wage that works for everyone.

Location, location, location
The largest factor in determining sitter fees is where you live. The standard national rate is $9 to $12 per hour. Rates rise in large cities '- as high as $15 per hour in New York City '- and drop in rural areas. They can be as low as $5 an hour in rural Wisconsin! The closer you are to a metro area, the more you should stick to the national average.

Why college sitters cost more
Once you've determined how your location affects rates, consider the age of the babysitter you're planning to hire. High-schoolers typically make less ($9 to $10 per hour) than college sitters, who are more mature, more likely to drive and more likely to know CPR and first aid than younger sitters. They often have more babysitting experience as well. So if you use a college sitter, prepare to pay about $2 more per hour.

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