Comments about ‘How much should you pay the baby sitter?’

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Published: Monday, Oct. 21 2013 9:00 a.m. MDT

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Bingham Student
South Jordan, UT

The argument that teenagers don't have enough motivation to chase after things is not true. I am a teenager, and don't have a job. So does this mean I am not motivated?
No, not at all. I take 3 AP classes and do a sport at school. I barely have enough time to finish my homework and housework. If I could afford time for a job, I would completely use it, but I can't fit it in my schedule. I borrow money from my parents, but I do not get paid any allowance, so they give me money when I need it or so I can go out and have fun, which is only maybe 3 or 4 hours a month. On the weekends I still mow my neighbor's lawns for whatever price they are willing to pay me, and I am trying to save up for a mission, so half of the money I earn goes to a bank account. All of my friends either have jobs or are in a similar situation as me. I don't know many people who only mooch money off their parents without being attached to activities that they are motivated towards.

Third try screen name
Mapleton, UT

Year ago I had a friend who paid his babysitters minimum wage, by the hour. That was his moral guidance.
He didn't take out taxes or create a 1099. He just paid the going rate for youth labor.

Logan, UT

I don't think the author understands economics. If you're going to pay half of what other customers are paying for the same service, you aren't likely to get far, regardless of what you think is fair. The opportunity cost of babysitting your kids for 3 hours is a lot more than $15 for most teenagers. Most of them could make $22 in the same amount of time at Burger King, which is arguably less difficult than caring for someone else's two snot-nosed kids.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

Isn't that what grandparents are for?

Whittier, CA

When my kiddos were little, my parents generally watched but on the rare occasion we had to hire someone, we did pay a littler more because our reasoning is that our kids were the most important things to us, so we want someone who will keep them safe, happy, and entertained (and the house reasonably clean when we got home). I think it is fair to let the babysitter know ahead of time what you will be paying then it is up to them to say yes or no--but the babysitters should also be willing to say "I charge $$ per hour, or $$per hour/per child--then the employer knows what to expect.

On the other hand, where do you live that the teenagers are getting paid $5o a week to mow 1 lawn? In our neighborhood, the mowing companies charge about $80 for the month and they come every week.

Whittier, CA

and on the issue of licenses...it isn't that kids are content to let their parents cart them around.
1)..the rates of car insurance for teenagers is astronomical--ours DOUBLED when we added our first teen driver.
2)..in our district, there is no longer driver's ed, so you have to come up with the fee to pay for driver's ed or wait until you are 18 and then take the test WITHOUT (yikes!!)
3)..a lot of states have graduated licenses which prevent teenagers from driving friends for the 1st year of licensure, so many think they might as well have a parent drive so they can go with friends instead of everyone taking separate cars.

Provo, UT

@Bingham student
Congrats on taking 3 AP classes. As my father always said, "work for your grades and they'll work for you." I found that to be true when getting to college and securing scholarships. In fact, that's one of the things that allowed me to graduate from graduate school without any debt. So, keep it up and do good work.

That being said, the fact that you can ask your parents for $ anytime and they give it to you should be a sign that perhaps you and the author don't live in the same world. If you can get money anytime by asking for it, then you fall into the author's description of being unmotivated to get money through employment.

3AP classes and sports + a job is more in-line with my experience growing up. Sometimes our parents shield us from getting a job in fear that our grades and athletics will falter. My father did that one year and my grades lagged. I found I was more focused when I was working in addition to those other activities. Parents mean the best, but our actions don't always succeed.

Messenger and Advocate
Provo, UT

I have to disagree to some extent. I taught students who went to Hillcrest High School. They have an IB program there where it is like taking undergraduate classes at an ivy league school(Hours of Homework/Study to do well on there test at the end of the year). These same students were involved in sports, music(instrumental and choir), and drama, at the same time. I think there is a lot more stress to do well in school, then back in the day.

I do believe that paying $50 dollars is way too much for mowing a lawn unless it is a couple of acres. I pay my babysitters $2 dollars/hour per kid. I have Five, and my kids are very easy to take care of. I can't wait until my oldest can babysit. Money for his college fund.

Laura M

Are all the commenters on this site teenagers? I TOTALLY agree with the author. Kids of this generation have a sense of entitlement. They think jobs should just be handed to them and that they should get paid a ton of money for very little work. If they can't find a cushy job, they aren't willing to work at all. The prices for babysitters have gotten WAY out of hand. We need to teach our teenagers to work and to work hard. We need to teach them to be willing to take whatever job they can get. And I think the author's policy of letting the babysitter know before hand what she expects from them and how much she will pay is great. The babysitter is free to accept or reject the job knowing exactly what is involved. Great article!


In the 80s I babysat for one dollar per hour regardless of how many kids. Sometimes six. And that included making a simple meal and putting the kids to bed. Five dollars per hour seems more than fair. I do believe that kids nowadays feel entitled to more than they earn.
Unfortunately our society promotes entitlement. Sad.

kaysville, UT

The problem with today's kids is this they want everything that there parents have worked all there life's for and they expect them to get it for them.

Newbury Park, CA

I have a college degree and am in school for my teaching credential, I have previously been a full-time and part-time nanny as well as an occasional babysitter. I started babysitting when I was 12/13 and would have never babysat for $5/hr. In my opinion your children should be the most important thing in the world and therefore worth the investment of a good babysitter... you say you just want someone to watch a movie with your child.. if there was a fire, earthquake or other natural disaster I am guessing in that situation you would want someone who would do what they had to to protect your child. A burglar? I would home they wouldn't simply just keep watching a movie. Your child choking? Sick? Throwing up? Just watch a movie? I'm going to guess not.... so although it may seem like a mundane task most of the time, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with the job.

I Choose Freedom
Atlanta, GA

Most of today's teenagers are soft. My parents never bought a single item of clothing for me after I turned 14. I purchased my own car when I was 17. When I was a high school senior I worked two jobs for a total of 76 hours per week and I still pulled good enough grades to get into BYU.

I think that many parents today shield their kids from having to grow up, making them soft and weak. I think this explains why today's kids are marrying later and later, they are unprepared and therefore unwilling to take on that responsibility.

Don't get me wrong, I think we have great kids today. They are just soft. And I think it is primarily their parent's that are at fault for not preparing them.


Generally speaking the rule of thumb is:

The parents with the brattiest kids pay the least.

Salt Lake, UT

Bottom line to all those who think 2 bucks an hour for a baby sitter is a good thing. Remember you get what you pay for. If a 2 dollar an hour sitter is sufficient for your child's safety well then....

Hays, KS

There is a very simple reason, if you ask me, why many young people are not motivated to join the workforce today. Look at the average wage as a percentage of GDP. It's abysmal compared to "way back when", and it's worstening. If you go work at McDonalds today, you will barely make enough to live in a cardboard box behind your place of employment. The real money is in becoming famous, which is rewarded with millions (while "honest work" is paid a mere $20k or so per year). Income inequality breeds laziness, crime, and greed (among the *truly* entitled who abuse the workforce for profit). Besides, many teenagers are so overschedualed that they don't have time for a job (and summer work is hard to get because businesses don't want to train someone who will quit in 3 months). For several months every year in HS, I was at school from 8am until 8pm every day. When was I supposed to hold a job? Was I supposed to give up sleep? Homework? Orchestra? Volleyball? Speech? Academic Bowl? Drama? AP College Credit Algebra? Which of these was so unworthy that I should have been flipping burgers instead?




I agree with what has been said earlier. You get what you pay for. So go ahead and be cheapskates and lowball for a babysitter. We can all talk about how much things cost when we were young. If you think a babysitter should be paid exactly or similar to your experience back in the day, Sounds like living in the past is more important than your own kids.

Same goes for mowing the lawn. A kid shows up with possibly their own lawnmower, gas, and the risk of getting injured. And you are only going to pay $5.00 an hour? Get off your duff and mow the lawn yourself.

orem, UT

With so many comments on this article, as well as on the blog the article was first posted on, calling the author cheap, accusing her of not valuing her kids enough to pay exorbitant adult hourly rates, bad mouthing teens, etc. it is no wonder we have so many young adults living at home and parents complaining about how expensive kids are these days.

I believe our current culture values good grades, impressive academic classes that accelerate the college process, and sports more than old fashion work. Those things take hard work, but the kind I am talking about is different and comes with the feeling of healthy independence, not just personal achievement.

A teenager who knows the real value of money and buys much of their stuff on their own is in a strong position to enter the adult world competently and confidently. Money is the engine of the adult world and when we do not give kids a realistic view of it we weaken them.

Go Utes, CA

In the real world, it would be a violation of antitrust laws to encourage other employers to collude with you to drive down wages. The author should be ashamed (if not criminally charged).

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