Babysitting in the City

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dr. Susan Fox, founder of the Park Slope Parents Community, talks about her recent survey about babysitting costs and how much parents pay per hour. Listeners, how much do you pay for a babysitter? Call 212-433-WNYC and fill out the survey below. 


Dr. Susan Fox

Comments [28]

See Below from NYC

@ Shelley, when I wrote that our sitter watches t.v., does homework or is on the phone with a friend it is because our kids go to sleep at 8:30-9:00, the time we leave to go out. That or, depending on when we leave the house, they might play with them for an hour tops before the kids head for bed. They're certainly not going to keep the kids up till we get home. Having clarified that, and depending when we get home, most of the time we're out our kids are sleeping. Not a whole heck of a lot of work for the sitter to do.

Apr. 20 2012 10:34 AM
shelley from brooklyn

i called the show (but didn't get on) to say that i think teenagers should be paid the same wage for babysitting as older people. my 16 year old doesn't watch tv or text, etc. when babysitting, she plays with and engages the children in activities that often parents are too busy to do.

sure enough, the last person on the show mentioned that she pays teenagers less.

they have exactly the same responsibility for small children as older sitters do and should be paid an equal wage for equal work. (cal from manhattan - i'm considering speaking with the families that hire my daughter and point them to this forum).

Apr. 19 2012 03:38 PM
Capper from NYC

I personally don't feel "cheap" has any reason to be in this discussion, unless we're talking about parents who are making a great deal of money and don't share their wealth where and when they can. Does one, who wishes sitting expenses could be less and affordable, have to think they are "cheap" if they want to go out to dinner with their significant other on the rare occasion? So, what you're saying is to wish you can pay a sitter less than most means that they are automatically a cheap person. What you're really saying is that people who don't make enough money to hire a sitter shouldn't have the right to go out at all then, at the risk of being perceived as being "cheap" to pay someone less.

Apr. 19 2012 12:29 PM
anonymous from New York

Here's a link to the babysitter survey on the Park Slope site :

Apr. 19 2012 12:19 PM

bob from brooklyn ~

...has got a point, too!!

Apr. 19 2012 12:14 PM

cal from Manhattan ~


Apr. 19 2012 12:12 PM

fuva from Harlemworld ~

...has got a point!!

Apr. 19 2012 12:08 PM

Housekeepers AND babysitters...

The Park Slope Princess Association.


Apr. 19 2012 12:06 PM

To caller Wendy: You are not even paying your cleaning person/babysitter a living wage - something you and every other homeowner who brings in extra help should consider. If you are not paying payroll taxes and employment insurance - you should always pay household workers AT LEAST $15 per hour.
You are taking advantage of the desperation of those competing for the the few jobs available that actually pay a living wage.

Apr. 19 2012 12:06 PM
fuva from Harlemworld

Hey, Brian, that mother caller, Wendy, who pays $10-12 for dual housekeeping and babysitting duties is not "getting a great deal". She's being exploitative. And we're obliged to call her out.

Apr. 19 2012 12:00 PM
Jon from Astoria

I am amazed that pay is so low. These are your kids.

Apr. 19 2012 12:00 PM

I love the stay-at-home moms with housekeepers AND babysitters!!!

This is a demographic that we are just so financially far away from.

Seems like there are still plenty of Bankers™ out there!


Apr. 19 2012 11:59 AM
cal from Manhattan

Any advise please for babysitters on negotiating for fair pay. My daughter sits regularly for 3 small children, all very active & a ultra high demand maintenance parent. She's being given 8 an hour & is afraid to ask for more.

Apr. 19 2012 11:58 AM
Susan from Upper West Side

Never so happy that I had a very independent responsible child as when he proved competent at being able to walk home from school and stay home by himself WITHOUT a babysitter. I attribute it to his breastfeeding for a long time. No, we did NOT want to pay for a cheap babysitter, but even some of the expensive ones weren't that great. We used to pay $10/hour, but that has gone up to $15-$20 in our neighborhood.

Apr. 19 2012 11:58 AM
Patricia from NYC

I think it's outrageous what we have to pay for a sitter. This kind of expense doesn't exist in other parts of the world, even in Europe. Our sitter primarily watches t.v., reads, does homework or gets on their phones while our kids sleep. Sitters should make in more affordable and perhaps they'd make more money in the long run.

If it was more affordable parents could go out more and spread the spending around.

Agree or disagree, but when I was growing up it was an experience of first time work and it wasn't great pay at all. I was happy to take the work regardless, for references and as a first-time job in HighSchool. Gone are those days and that's too bad. I'm more likely to look for another parent for even "free" exchange.

Apr. 19 2012 11:56 AM

We do the "parent exchange" method on occasion.

Apr. 19 2012 11:56 AM
bob from brooklyn

I am really tired of having traditionally adult environments--bars, brew pubs, etc.--invaded by couples with toddlers and babies because they refuse to get a babysitter.
Your little kids don't belong there, guys! It almost makes me wish they would allow smoking again in bars and restaurant. It might succeed in driving the stroller Mafia away.

Apr. 19 2012 11:56 AM
Christine Schwartz Hartley from Boerum Hill

We hardly ever pay for a babysitter -- we have a loose barter system with friends and neighbors. Very cool; idea came from husband who grew up with this in Sydney, Aus., in the 70s. Kids love it, adults love it, we're constantly seeing each other and returning favors. our boys are 7 and 10.

Apr. 19 2012 11:55 AM
julbkny from Brooklyn 11215

The babysitting issue is so incredibly expensive and out of my price range that I have NEVER hired a babysitter. The only time I get a "date" night is when a family member is visiting.

I do live in Park Slope, but am obviously not in the "Park Slope Parent" demographic.

Apr. 19 2012 11:54 AM
Jeanne from Cobble Hill

I use high school students to babysit, and they charge $10 p.h and have for several years.
I find that high school students in NYC are very mature and sensible. Much more so than I felt about myself at that age!
Also, our sitters help with homework and are very engaging with the children.

Apr. 19 2012 11:53 AM

We can't afford it!!!

A movie and pizza, a cab ride and babysitter costs us a minimum of $150.

Dates? Pffft! Too expensive!!

On the other hand, would you really want to pay less for your kid's caregiver??

A "cheap" babysitter does't sound like a really good idea.

The fact is, a good babysitter is worth every penny and deserves much more.

We just can't afford it.

Apr. 19 2012 11:51 AM
Debbie from Bay Ridge

I'm curious how many parents barter with other parents on a babysitting exchange? We are expecting and hope to do that. We are close friends with two other sets of parents in our neighborhood.

Apr. 19 2012 11:50 AM
Helen from nyc

Since when did babysitting entail laundry folding and dishwasher unloading? That sounds more like a nanny position.

Apr. 19 2012 11:49 AM
Thomas Carlyle from Brooklyn Heights

Just a PS...This was in the mid-1960s in Grand Rapids.

Tom Carlyle

Apr. 19 2012 11:31 AM
Melissa Draper from Brooklyn Heights

I live in Brooklyn Heights and pay my babysitter $450 per week/almost $17 per hour for 3 days a week for one child. She's scheduled for 9 hours a day but we're often home before her scheduled end time. She runs errands e.g., grocery store and farmers market, does laundry and light housekeeping. She also prepares my daughter's lunch and dinner. We consider ourselves very lucky and will increase her pay later this year.

Apr. 19 2012 11:25 AM
Thomas Carlyle from Brooklyn Heights

When I was a teenager growing up in Michigan I babysat 8 kids (ages 1-13) who lived next door to me. I was paid 50 cents an hour for all 8..not 50 cents an hour per kid. Do it came down to a little over 6 cents per hour per kid. And the parents were out sometimes until 4AM...I really loved doing it.

Apr. 19 2012 11:23 AM
Anna Pivarnik Walker from Hoboken NJ

Here in Hoboken NJ (the sixth borough!) I pay $15 an hour & that seems to be the going rate. That does not include light chores; loading unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, or sweeping, etc. while my child is napping or sleeping for the night. And I usually provide food or give them extra money for meals. Rates for 2 children start at $20-25 per hour. When my husband & I plan an evening out, we try to cap it at 4hours.

Apr. 19 2012 11:10 AM
oscar from ny

The only baby sitter I know is the mayor of ny...
ps:Itll be so ironic if hell was full of fire nd smokeee...

Apr. 19 2012 10:49 AM

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