Reported by Liku Zelleke
Earning money by working as a babysitter used to be the domain of kids who wanted to make a few bucks or wanted to help other family members. Things have changed, and now parents looking for reliable and qualified sitters will have to shell out more money.
When the services of a babysitter are required in New York City, the going price can be as much as $33 an hour. Of course, many of the sitters are the epitome of professionalism: they are college-educated, arrive on time, help the kids with their homework, handle dinnertime, an art project is thrown in, they do house cleaning and there is even a report card on how the whole evening went.
Sitters Studio is a network with over 100 sitters in New York and Chicago. They charge $25 per hour for one child and the price goes up depending on the number of children in the house. They also charge a $20 booking fee and there is a four-hour minimum. That comes to a whopping $120 for a single child per session.
But, the price is well worth it as Sitters Studio’s CEO, Kristina Wilson explains. All the sitters are committed to arriving ten minutes early and bring along a bagful of “artistic toys” to stimulate the kids’ minds as there is a no-TV policy in place. They are also required to make sure that all the kids’ homework and other household chores are done.
Also, since the Sitters Studio doesn’t pay the sitters in cash, they are able to provide families with paperwork confirming the amounts that the families paid for their services. This, in turn, can be used to apply for Child and Dependent Care credit on federal tax returns.
But, although the prices might be a little high (avg. pay for preschool teachers = $15.11/hr, federal minimum wage = $7.25/hr), Chloe Laundrie a 22-year-old sitter with a degree in elementary education who works for Hamptons Babysitter, says that parents don’t seem to mind the cost.
“I hear moms say they can’t put a price on childcare,” she said. “Even though the [rates] are a little bit higher, they understand most of the time.”