All your babysitting questions answered.

Two questions I get asked a lot; “how much should I pay the babysitter” and “how did you find such a good one?”

My husband and I make a real effort to make sure that at least once every couple of months we take time out just for us.

Away from work and away from the kids, we can catch up properly with each other and make sure we’re still on the same wavelength. Plus, as adorable as our children can be, sometimes we need time out from them. Nothing like a little romantic dinner for two to help us relax… though that might have been what got us into this mess in the first place.

With two kids under 4, fairly obviously we need someone to sit with them. We’re very lucky that we have very involved grandparents close by who love hanging out with them when they can. But they’re young grandparents; they both work full time and live busy lives.

That means we’ve become big baby sitter people, and here’s what we’ve learnt.

Careful. It might have been romantic dinners that got us into this mess in the first place.

How do you find a babysitter?

Well, you can google, but if you’re like me you probably want to know something about the person coming to look after your babies beforehand. Use your networks. Who do your friends use? Do any of your friends have trustworthy teenagers – this is a good option if your children are a little older and you feel less uncomfortable about leaving an infant with them.

What do babysitters expect from parents?

Not much. Most babysitters come keen to make friends with your little people to ensure a smooth ride.

You might want to ask your babysitter to arrive a little early so you can show them where the tea and coffee is and explain what baby needs to settle down to sleep.


It’s nice to provide lunch or dinner if your babysitter is there over a meal time, but they will likely be quite happy with the spag bol you got out from the freezer.

Do I need to hide the booze?

Probably not! But if you’re having flashbacks to your misspent youth and would feel more comfortable, then who am I to stop you. Hopefully, since you got someone you can trust to look after your kids you can trust them not to drink your gin.

What’s the policy on visitors?

(Now I’m flashing back to my misspent youth.) It’s not unreasonable to have a strict no-visitors policy. Your babysitter is there to build wild structures from duplo with your son, not pash on the couch with the boyfriend.

What’s the going rate?

You should expect to pay around $15-$20 an hour.

If you get someone more qualified, or someone with a first aid certificate you should expect to pay $25-$30 an hour.

So, now that you’ve got that sorted, it’s time to book a fancy restaurant or check out the movie guide.

What do you pay your babysitter? Comment below so we can compare rates.

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