Hire teens that are CPR certified, have a work ethic, and know what they are
doing. The ones that actually play with your kids and happily clean up after.
The ones capable of dealing with emergencies such as a child choking or getting
ill.And yes, having more kids means you have less expendable income
to spend on nights out. That does not mean teenagers should make the sacrifice
for YOUR FAMILY PLANNING. At the least, they should make minimum wage.We rarely
went out when our kids were younger because being in the Army, we simply did not
have the money, but when we did? We paid them well.
Times have changed and babysitting should reflect that. You cannot expect to pay
as a mother what you were paid 20 years ago as a babysitter!! Also I agree with
what some said that if this is what you think you are worth as a mother--$5 an
hour -that's rather telling... and Sad.To give you an idea, my
16 year old gets paid $11-13 here in Seattle suburbs (+more for more kids). She
turns down jobs all the time because she has waaaaay more intense of a homework
load with 4 college level IB classes as well as 2-3 hour swim practice ALL YEAR
long each night. With the pressure to get into competitive, high bar
universities? You need crazy high GPA's and a sport/extra curricular.Finding time to fit in driver's ed was so hard, but both she and my
current college sophomore got their license at 16. My son has his own brand new
car which he pays for all by himself as well as more than half his tuition.
Wow! I absolutely disagree with this author. $5 an hour to babysit is absurd. I
made that and more as a 16 year old...that was over 27 years ago!! Come on! Back
then in the 80's, movies were $4-5. If we use the "pay for a night at
the movie" scale? It was a movie with a date and popcorn and gas money to
get there. Minimum wage then was 3.75ish, candy bars were 15-20 cents, and gas
was 78 cents a gallon. So let's get real. Today's gasoline is easily
4x as much. Movies are double to triple. Popcorn and sodas are insane. There is something called inflation and this author is blithely ignoring it to
justify her miserly nature.And babysitting to save up for college??
College at Berkeley for me was $3.8k. Now it's 13.5k!! That's public.
My son had recruiters looking at him for NYU, but it cost 65k a year. No savings
from babysitting job could ever put a dent in that. He went to UW which still in
13k tuition. cont'd....
I totally agree. My daughter only charges $5. We live in a very nice area. She
has kept this price since she started at 12. Now she is 16. She gets tons of
babysitting jobs. She always has money. My friends really appreciate it. I
think she gets more work than any of her friends insisting on 10-20/hour. I
had a sitter do this for me and we are paying it forward. She gets paid extra
when the family can afford it. They want her to always come back. When she
learns to drive she may do something else but this has been very regular work
for her since she was 12. It's been awesome.
Although our children are our most precious gift in life, they generally are not
much work when being watched by a babysitter. It usually only last a few hours
so again, minimal work involved in most cases. I would most likely offer minimum
wage for their services these days, unless I've asked them to take the
child(ren) to the park where they have to prepare the child(ren) to go out, or
something else with that kind of preparation and then keeping a VERY close eye
on them. However having said that, when my daughter was tiny, way back in the
early 80's, I paid my regular sitter $5 an hour but only because I could
afford it then.
Kudos to the author! I think she has a fabulous system worked out. "Back
in my day...." the rate for sitter was 50 US CENTS an hour. I routinely
tended families with 4-6 kids....and for my 50cents, I got everyone ready for
bed, cleaned up the kitchen, held crying babies, etc. It was not uncommon for
me to have 50-75usd (in the early 1970's) in my "piggy bank".
That is a LOT of baby tending hours. My daughters both had a
"sliding scale" for payment, depending on the number of kids
involved...which worked well for them. But I trained them to do all the
"extras" as "routine", because then they would get rehired. FYI: I currently pay a professional lawn service 18usd per visit to
mow the front/back lawns of our rental property. Child-tending &
lawn mowing are great 1st jobs. Learning to save the money you earn isn't
a bad skill to develop either. The best things in life are worth working and
To "Publius nota bene" I would never put my kids in the hand of a
teenager that I didn't really know. The babysitters that I have paid have
been teens that I know. I have only left a toddler in with a babysitter a
couple of time, any other time I have left small children with a Grandparent or
with a neighbor that had offered to take my child.Are you children
so fragile that they cannot survive without you there? Is your child unable to
get out a box of cereal and milk if they are hungry? Is your child so out of
control that without a strong authority around they will get into trouble?If your child is normal, what do you expect out of a babysitter outside
of making sure things are clean and the kids are not fighting?
@ Redshirt1701 "'Publius nota bene' but typically you are not
paying a babysitter to keep your children alive."You put your
child into the hands of an adolescent - whom you don't really know because
outward appearances are not an indicator of inward demons - and you think the
"value" of that is less than the value of your or your spouse's
hourly rate?Tell yourself anything that makes you feel better.
The cheapness and eagerness to exploit one's fellow man, which I am seeing
in the letter and in many of the comments, is appalling. It is not the way life
is supposed to be. It is not what Christ taught. It explains how Utah's
wages are among the lowest in the nation. What a shame. It is a fulfillment of
the prophecy that "in the last days, the love of man shall wax cold."
Oh my goodness people. From all over the country you are comparing your
expectations to the expectations of the author who lives in a completely
different area with completely different customs, expectations, and costs of
living. I'm mostly sad that people can be so cruel to the author and to
each other without reflecting on these differences, even to the point of citing
scripture in a rhetorical display of religious superiority and condemnation of
those who disagree with them. I lived in Washington and we payed
about $8/hour for two kids. After moving to Idaho we tried to pay the kids the
same way. The first kid we hired, not the parents, told us that we were paying
too much, gave the money back, and would not accept more even though we
insisted. Each place if different.In addition, some people are
referring to after school jobs where they act as the parent, and others are
talking about watching kids every once in a while. It's apples and
oranges. Lets all just try to be nice.
Give me a break, please. I am not a teenager. I am 50. I don't have kids,
but believe me, my life has been filled with them. I was also once a kid and you
know what, it was good working on the farm every summer, but wow, too bad I
couldn't get those wages back then! I think that the parents are the
ones who feel like they are entitled! Think about it. They feel that they should
be able use teenagers as cheap labor. Who is kidding who? You don't think
these parents wouldn't have taken the higher wage? What, are kids suppose
to get used to getting low wages? We do live in a state that likes to squeeze as
much out of a person while paying the lowest wage possible. I think that these
kids are the smart ones! Like my dad always told me, " If you don't
stickup for yourself, nobody will! " It doesn't hurt them to accept
less when needed, but I would never teach a child to expect less. Go for it
I agree with this author. Back in the olden days, think about
how much kids had to work just to help out their families. Babysitting was
something that they did to help out their families. It was a break from the real
work. Even though I am too young to have a real job, I can babysit in a
month,(Because I will be twelve) so that's what I will do to get money. I
will do more than just sit around watching TV, I will clean as much as I can
while taking care of the kids, I will play with them , sing fun songs with them,
and COOK for them. Like I already do with my siblings.
I've been reading through the comments and I like the kids complaining that
life is hard. I graduated from high school in 2008. I worked as a student
custodian 2 hrs per day for $5.15/hr scrubbing nasty high school toilets. The
only raise I got was when minimum wage went to $6.25/hr. This was after band
practice early in the morning, school all day (including every AP class offered,
ex. I took 4 senior year), and 2-3 hrs of track/cross country practice. I then
went home to do homework until late at night when I would get up and do it all
again. I was happy to have a flexible job that made me enough money to pay for
school activities and to hang out with friends. I was busy but looking back it
was good prep for when I got to college, got married, had kids, and worked.
You'll live through it. Just wait until you're not living with mommy
and daddy and have your own bills to pay. Suddenly you'll remember when a
few dollars/hour was actually a lot of money.
I was under the impression that it was $3 per hour per kid. When I use to
babysit that is what I would ask. If they were regular customers or were asking
for me to stay longer hours I charged less. I mainly did it because it was fun
playing with the kids, but making some money was good too. If I was going to pay
a babysitter to watch my 3 kids I would probably pay a lot more than that right
now because my 2 year old is potty training and my twins are 6 months.
That's quite the handful! Luckily grandma and grandpa live close and so do
I'm confused by everyone saying that they had too much schoolwork to
babysit or get a job. I know there is a lot of pressure in HS, but I took all
offered AP classes, played three varsity sports, worked two jobs(not at the same
time) and babysit regularly for a family. I'm nothing special, many of my
friends did the same if not more! I really don't remember feeling like it
was too much, I think I just watched WAY less television. I made
minimum wage at my jobs. I made $7.50 an hour as a babysitter, before I got a
raise after about 6 months of regular babysitting (sweetest family). This was in
2001-2004 so I get that we need to adjust for inflation, but $15 for a teenager
with no jobs skills and a non-existent resume sounds completely reasonable to
me. I might push it to $18 here in NYC but seriously, $20+ bucks for a
teenager??? I might as well hire someone who's older and has a fully
developed temporal lobe.
I agree that setting the pay in advance is a good idea. My girls negotiate
their pay in advance. Here is what I told my girls though. It was the norm in
my day that you played with the kids, not just watch a movie... unless that is
what they want to do. But have ideas and activities planned. Also, it is
expected that you will clean up any mess you make, leave the house looking
better than when you go there. Do the dishes, straighten up the living room..
My girls are usually paid more than what was agreed upon because they do these
To "Publius nota bene" but typically you are not paying a babysitter to
keep your children alive. I pay Doctors and Hospitals a lot of money to do
that. I am paying a babysitter to maintain order, not kill my kids, not
kidname, and sometimes to tell the kids to go to bed. If my child's life
was that fragile, a babysitter would be the last thing I would trust with my
child.A babysitter is little more than a teenage cat wrangler.
I don't know if paying someone $5/hour to keep your children alive is
really putting a value on the service. How much does your husband earn an hour
to do something far less life-critical?Perhaps your children are
really worth $15/hour to keep them safe.
The question isn't "How much should you pay the baby sitter?" The
question is "How much valuable are my children to me and how much is my free
time worth?"I have heard all sorts of crazy stories with baby
sitters.I would rather fork out the extra cash to someone with some
smart and experienced with children than to save a few bucks and get someone
random.What you pay is what you get.
Plenty of Mormons moms pay good for babysitting. I think they should want the
best qualified person to tend their children when they go off to the see Batman
at the movies.
I'm currently working in a hospital system with a professional medical
license as a resident and getting paid an hourly rate of about 7 dollars an
hour. I also have over a quarter million in debt as a result of my
training...So, I don't feel bad paying someone $5/hr for
babysitting. Nor do I think it is irrational, nor do I expect any of my
children (when they are the appropriate age) to be paid more. Nor am I bitter
about my current rate. I appreciate the work I have and what I am learning
through my employment. I was paid far less in past employment as a teenager
(moving pipe in southern idaho for about $3/hr) and I look back on those times
with enjoyment. I don't get a babysitter based on how safe
they are going to be with my kids, nor should the price correlate with safety
for such a position. I get the best possible one I can find and as the author
advocates, spell out how much I will pay prior to leaving. Take it or leave it.
They've always taken it so far.
I am 50 years old. I have cared for children my entire life -- helping my
mother, babysitting at (0.25 an hour). Eventually, I graduated to better and
better paying jobs, finally at the age of 30 earning a wage of 500 a week (20
years ago) with a boatload of benefits.You get what you pay for. 5$
an hour is below minimum wage. It is Illegal to pay below minimum wage in most
states. Personally, I pay more than 15$ each time I get my car washed. It takes
the car wash about 20 minutes to wash my car and they do a good job,
additionally, I pay a 20% or more tip. To say you can only afford to
have a babysitter twice a year, means you are probably spending your money on
other things you feel are more important. That is your choice. Copping out and
saying you can't afford more than 15$ for a sitter? Bogus. If you
can't afford a sitter, barter for their services.How much is the
safety of your children worth? A good childcare provider is worth their weight
Because I am 3 years two young to get a real job, I have to settle for baby
sitting. And even then I hardly ever get offers, and I'm OK with that. When
I get a baby sitting job, I don't expect 10+ dollars. I want to be paid for
how effect I was. I see many Young women who get paid to "Babysit" when
what they are really doing is watching TV. I am the oldest out of 5 siblings,
and because of that, I have to babysit, a lot! But then I see many of the other
girls I know that are the youngest or only child, They don't know how to do
it right yet the get paid $35! I think that if I don't work, I don't
get paid. If I want to became a Zoologist, it will take me 7-12 years of school.
If I can't work hard, then I can't get my dream job. Many don't
understand if you want it, work for it!
We always asked what the sitter charged per hour, per child. If we could afford
it, we hired them. If we couldn't, we didn't go out.
I relate with the author. I would love to get a babysitter more often, but
can't afford the $8-10/hour for our one child (which is the going rate in
the affluent area where we live). I feel like the wealthy families who pay a
lot make it difficult for those of us who live on "the other side of the
tracks." Since we don't live close to family, we trade with friends
when we can. Needless to say, my husband and I aren't able to go on weekly
dates like my parents did.
It is unfair to categorize all of teens as unmotivated. My two oldest children
started looking for jobs at age 16. However, they were often told that since a
lot of adults were out of work, the employer would rather hire adults because
adults would be more reliable, etc... Also, hiring adults meant the employer
didn't have to deal with child labor laws (such as not being able to work
past a certain hour, use a slicer for meat, etc...) Both of my children
didn't actually get a job until nearly age 18 though they constantly
applied for jobs. Also, the whole "apply online" process doesn't
help youth have a chance to give a good impression. When I was a teen, you
could easily find a job at any fast food place. It is not that way now. The
"balanced school calendar" also hurts teens by giving an 8-week summer.
Most employers don't want to bother for that short of time. Consequently,
neither of my children had much money saved to start college, which then either
hurts mom and dad's budget, or causes the kids to take on more debt or not
go to college.
I do tend to agree with the gal in this article. My daughter babysat for my SIL
recently for one 18 month old (3 hours max) and was paid over $30. I thought
this was too much and expressed that to both my daughter and SIL. She said that
was very typical and she was happy to pay it. After my daughter gets that kind
of pay, she really struggles to happily do the small chores I offer to pay her
$5 for. (i.e. chores above and beyond regular chores -things like oiling my
kitchen cupboards or sweeping out the garage)Why would she do those dirty and
sweaty chores for $5 when she can play with a cute baby for much, much more?
Kids do need a proper expectation of what they will be paid in life or that
first job where they make $7.50 (minus taxes) an hour is going to be really very
@Laura BilingtonTrue, but if you hire an overqualified person, and end up
no paying them enough, you will have problems. Also this is baby
sitting, not the workforce, a bit of a difference. If you are hiring a person
out of a list of applications to sit your children, you don't want the
"cheapest" person. Trust is the primary job requirement.
Pay a good babysitter exactly what a Mom is worth on an hourly basis when she is
home with the kids. Pay the kid who mows your lawn exactly how much you would
want to mow your neighbor's lawn. Follow the Golden Rule. The question is
not what the teenager is worth or what lesson you think you are teaching. The
duty is to treat the teen as you yourself want to be treated.
I read the comments with fascination. When we first had kids we were in
college, we never thought of paying a sitter. The funds simply weren't
there. We either took the kids with us when we went somewhere or swapped with
friends. As time went on and our economic situation improved my wife did some
research after timidly being asked for a raise by our sitter. Turns out we were
vastly underpaying what the market was demanding. We were just clueless to the
going rate. It turns out a that the way to pay a sitter a decade ago was a $1
per hour per kid. I'm so glad that sitter spoke up and asked for a raise.
She was AWESOME and we continued to pay her until she grew up, graduated high
school and went off to college. We paid attention to the market price after
that. If we encountered a sitter who wasn't good we didn't ask her
back.We have encouraged our daughters to donate their time when
babysitting for a temple trip or a church event. In our experience most parents
really appreciate that and pay them anyway.
I don't understand when we started having to pay per child. I used to
babysit. I made quite a good amount of money with babysitting before I was
fifteen and old enough to work at a fast food place. That was in the 90's.
But I made $3/hr, and it didn't matter whether it was one kid or five
kids. I agree with what the author has said. The pay for these
neighborhood jobs that kids should be able to do is highly inflated. It's
ridiculously out of control. As for some of the teens commenting,
especially Bingham Student, I went to Bingham. I took three AP classes, was in
cheerleading and choir, and I had a part-time job. I also graduated with a
3.97. I don't think school was easier back then. In fact, I believe it
was harder. I've seen some of the things high school students are expected
to learn now and it's been dumbed down quite a bit since I was there 20
years ago. Parents make things way too easy for their kids.
If relatives aren't on hand, a neighborhood co-op is the next best option.
Sorry, kids.I did, though, pay a girl who walked my dog while I was
pregnant and couldn't do it myself, but I paid her in-kind with piano
Midvaliean wrote, "You get what you pay for". No, you
don't.I am an employer. If I advertise a job for $10 an hour,
I will get about 12 responses. Some will be good workers and some will be
awful. If I advertise the same job for $15 an hour, I will get about 40
responses--including the 12 who would have responded to the $10 offer. And some
of the 28 "new" responders will be mediocre to downright awful as well.
I have had applicants offer to work a day without any commitment to
be paid because they were confident that I would keep them on after seeing how
diligently they worked. They did, and I hired them on the spot. Most of them
turned out great. If you prefer making zero dollars an hour sitting
home, that's your choice. Your parents got what they raised.
I just ran a search and the going rate in Utah for a babysitter with 2-5 years
experience for 3 children is $14/hour, not per evening.You are
underpaying your sitters by 280%. Quit pontificating about "lazy teens"
and start paying the market rate or stay home.
When I was 14, in 1973, I babysat all the time. The author is correct in that
it's good to set the price up-front, as well as spell out the expectations.
But I don't like the tone that it's up to the parents of the babysat
children to establish a work ethic for someone else's teenagers.
Babysitting is a capitalist exchange, period. You have kids, they have time.
This is your price, it's their perogative to accept or reject it. I made
50 cents/hour. I think that was pure exploitation, but I have to say, the minute
I turned 16 I had the motivation to find a job that at least paid minimum wage.
I don't know why the author had to quote a kid who brought up
what non-Mormons pay, but as long as it's out there I'll tell my
story. I once asked a matron to pay me 75 cents/hour. She had four kids
(4,3,2,1). She only asked me on Tuesday and Wednesday nights (Mutual night!)
when the LDS girls were unavailable. She paid me my increased fee, but never
Quit being so cheap and pay someone to watch your kids. If you don't think
your kids are worth $15, then you don't really value them very much do
you?You probably complain about your property taxes because you
don't think Utah teachers should make very much, since your kids'
education probably is worth much to you either.If you can't
afford to pay a competitive wage for babysitting, then you can't afford to
go out. Don't wag your finger at greedy teens who want to be compensated
for their time and effort watching your offspring. They have better things to
do than wipe your kids' noses and clean up their toys. If you don't
value your own children, why should they be expected to volunteer to care for
I nannied and was paid $12, and that included driving the kids to activities,
tutoring them, cleaning, etc. I think $5 for watching a movie and putting the
kids to bed is PLENTY. Oh and I would be considered a youth by the commenters -
I'm a recent college graduate. I agree 100% with the author - my peers
expect a lifestyle equivalent to their parents, but aren't willing to put
in the work for it. That's why credit card debt is so high in my generation
- people aren't living within their means. They'd rather have a giant
TV instead of a savings account.
Article quote: "After the babysitter took my offer, because we are friends
and I was interested, she and her brother started talking about what they get
paid for other jobs. He said that he usually earns $30-40 each time he mows
someone’s lawn. He was bewildered when a man in our ward said $20 was too
much to pay for just mowing his lawn. Then he said that regular, non-LDS people
pay $50 per time that he mows their lawn! FIFTY DOLLARS."Stick
to your guns! $50 for mowing a lawn is insanity. So is $30 for 2 or 3 hours of
babysitting when, like the author said, they're not doing hardly anything
more than what they'd do at home anyway, ie, sit and watch TV or a
movie.No, not every teenager has an entitlement mentality but a
whopping lot of them do.I had a teenage girl in my ward in Tucson
ask for a raise for babysitting about 15 yrs ago. I think I paid her $5 an hour
and she wanted $6 and I immediately told her no. She never babysat for us
again. Her loss and our gain. She spilled Kool-aid on the carpet and was
Here is the interesting thing about paying a kid $5/hr for babysitting. If you
consider that after taxes a $7.25/hr job turns into about $5.50. If you are
paying kids $10 for babysitting you better be getting a very good babysitter
like a few that have posted here. You better be feeding them, getting them
ready for bed, cleaning up the messes, and maybe changing poopy diapers.Most babysitters are too young to be employed, so the fact that somebody
is willing to pay them to do something is quite good.
The bottom line is this: When you want to go out and have a good time and not
worry about your kids, how much is it worth to you? If you want the
cheapest baby sitter, than you will get what you pay for. TIME is the most
expensive of all commodities, which is why most people dont' want to waste
theirs with your kids, unless you make it worth it, or unless they want to see
your kids. I have a brother with kids, we trade when we need to take
our wives on a date. Its free, I just have to reciprocate.
Back in the 70's when I was getting paid $1 an hour to babysit -- gas was
36 cents per gallon, a movie ticket was around $1.50 and a record album cost
$3. So 1 hour of babysitting bought you 3 gallons of gas, an hour and a half
bought you a movie ticket and two hours bought you a record album. Kind of puts
current pay in perspective.
rational: It's not character, it's economics. Making this about
character excuses lowballing. When I hunt for a job, if I get a
better offer--even if I told someone else I'd take their offer--I take the
best offer. That's the real world. This article implies that
paying a babysitter little keeps them from becoming selfentitled brats in the
real world. Well... in the REAL WORLD, I've been laid off
nearly half a dozen times. When I started in the "real world" I thought
my employers had my best interests at heart. I learned in the "real
world" that most employers treat you like a resource and that's it. So... I'm saying if you're doing a job for the money, you
should do it for the money. My kids will actually donate babysitting
for Temple trips, and there are some kids they've grown very fond of, but
when it comes down to money, I find it interesting that the nonLDS parents pay a
lot more for their services. I think it's because they actually know the
value of childcare better and LDS take it for granted.
Babysitters are not getting taxes deducted? A babysitter would get the money
back at tax time. An employer would be matching SS withholding. An employer
would be fined for not paying minimum wage besides. Gas to mow the
law is up. If they bag it and pay for the pick up those prices are higher too
than the good old days. Maintenance of the mower, not unlike mileage for work if
you get it for travel. Mowing the lawn has costs attached.
raybiesLayton, UTIf you pay a cheaprate expect to have last
priority. You may even be told that the babysitter had a better offer and
canceled on in the last second. -----That's a
character issue, not a price issue. If you make a commitment, keep it.
Jeanie, Yes that is how much a daycare provider receive....actually more
then that 3-4 an hour. I know I pay it...per kid. So that is not some
unrealistic expectations because in the adult would they will be making that. I
pay 600 a month for 32 hours a week so 128 hours. And the same for every child
on top of that.
The usual rate is around $5 an hour but per kid. So 3 kids 15 an hour. If you
don't want to pay it that is fine but they are the ones helping you. It
doesn't seem fair to be penalized for you having a ton of kids so you get
free service after one. Just like any daycare as well its per kid per hour. Its
not fair to use the child because they have no other option for buisness.
Couldn't disagree more!!! I have teenage daughters now but I remember the
days of finding babysitters. Is the justification for not paying them fair
wages because they are underage and you can't afford it? I own a business
and would love to use that argument. I'd also love not to pay min wage
because the job isn't that difficult.My oldest (17f)
didn't want to babysit anymore because too many people didn't want to
pay the going rate. So...she went and got a job that would pay her. I have
instilled in my children the value of paying their own way. Because of the
opportunity they have had to earn money and save money they buy the items I
don't think fall in the parents responsibility. (i.e. video games and
clothing accessories)The mormon culture in Utah especially make
people think service should be expected from others. The kids watching your
kids should be paid at least the minimum wage. $15 for 3 hours? To watch 3
kids? As a parent I'm shocked you think that doesn't require a lot of
energy. You should be ashamed for being so cheap and selfish.
First of all, I totally agree with the author. Second, the people who are
comparing it to a job at Burger King either don't have kids or have never
worked fast food...not the same. Playing for a couple of hours and watching
movies with my kids is hardly like working 8 hours dealing with ornery customers
in a gross fast food environment. Not only that, but many of my sitters bring
their homework/phones to do if they have free time after getting the kids to
bed. Couldn't do that at a regular job. Third, if you get a job at a fast
food chain, you have a W2 and are taxed on your income whereas a babysitter gets
to keep everything that they make tax free. If someone has a legitimate job
doing day care for a living and have been trained/licensed then that is a
different story...but a teen looking for a few extra bucks should not make
minimum wage in my opinion.
I pay our babysitter 10 bucks per hour :)
I am amazed by how much "historical" talk there is of the price of
babysitting, but only a FEW comments about how much it is NOW. The author did
not hint at whether she checked the going rate with others in her
neighborhood.I babysat plenty as a teenager in a Mormon community
outside of Utah. I was glad to get the opportunity to earn money and build
references that came in handy later when I went for real, paying jobs.As an adult, I try to be very fair with youth and not talk down to them or
about them without knowing what I am talking about. There is a lot of
entitlement in society today (I see it a lot in younger people in professional
environments, but I have met a few elderly folks who act entitled also - but
very few.) However, not all the youth are like that. Many of them are being
raised right and are striving hard in many areas.Let's not bash
the youth or the author. Let's do market research and be fair to those we
hire as the Bible urges.
If you pay a cheaprate expect to have last priority. You may even be told that
the babysitter had a better offer and canceled on in the last second. And
I'd be okay with that. If we're going to pretend that my kid is
learning a valuable life lesson by you lowballing her, then let's up the
ante. In the real world, you don't own the babysitter, and if someone
offers a better rate you can bet they're going to take the higher paying
job, unless there are distinct benefits.
I can honestly say that I never in my life had a babysitter, that my mother was
at home when we got back from school; when we were pre-schoolers she or Dad were
always with us. On Saturdays Dad stayed at home with us while mother went
shopping. So we never paid a penny in babysitting and never suffered from the
absence of parents but had a happy family life.
If a baby sitter ever leaves you place with less than $20.00 in their pocket you
should be ashamed.
@JeanieUmm, $2/hr X 5hrs X 30kids is not $300/hr, it is $60/hr. Still
point taken, and I think that some teachers should definitely be paid more, but
since some teachers only make kids do book work, and no fun learning activities,
not all teachers deserve to be paid moreOn to another topic...If I
were paid $15 to babysit for 3 hours with 2 kids, I would definitely take it,
because I would love to earn the money. Yet at the same time, I would rather be
paid between $20-$30, hence the eye-rolling that the kid gave the mom. More
than $30 for that amount of work is, in my opinion, very generous, but i would
still accept it all, because I am motivated to earn money when I need to be.
I have worked at fast-food restaurants and I have baby sat. Believe me, the
fast-food jobs are much more strenuous and demanding! Occasionally, you will
run into a family with a strong-willed child who might drive you crazy. Then
you have the option of never sitting there again or trying to relate to the mom
who has to put up with it 24/7. For the most part, though, you watch tv with
the children for awhile, get them off to bed (and wow, do kids go to bed much
more easily for sitters than they do moms), then the rest of the evening is
yours to do homework or, otherwise, entertain yourself.Restaurant
work, on the other hand, is simply exhausting if you're doing a good job.
I thought the author made some good points, and I wish she could hire a sitter
more than twice a year. If I lived close, I would be glad to help her out.
Amazing how well the responses to this article illustrate the problems discussed
in the article.First off, if you are old enough to need to pay for
gas and insurance...get a real job, not babysitting.If you live in a
place where your cost of living is ridiculous, like say California, then
babysitting is obviously going to cost more. Get over it, or better yet, quit
feeding the cycle of inflation and skewed unreal expectations.And
lastly, the author wasn't saying all kids are lazy no-goods, just that many
seem to expect a LOT more for their service, than many of us got back in the
day, even after adjusting for inflation. When minimum wage was $3.35, we
didn't get $3 an hour for babysitting, so now when min. wage is $7+, you
shouldn't expect $10.Its obvious, isn't it?
I think, in this conversation, it would be helpful to distinguish between paying
a teen who is essentially a family friend to do the job and paying a
stranger.If we are talking about a family friend, then I think the
onus is on that teen to offer a fairly reasonable (read: cheap) rate. If we are
talking about a hired babysitter that is either a stranger or an acquaintance,
and possibly around college freshman age, then I think it would be unwise--and
potentially unsafe--to offer wages that are below the industry standard, even if
the babysitter is a teenager.
My daughters did this as older teens and were in constant demand. They never
set a "wage" but the folks who kept them busy were willing to pay them
nicely because they appreciated a responsible teen.I am not sure I
would be willing to leave an infant or several young children in the charge of a
12 year old. If so, they would have to be somewhat remarkable (hence worth a
bit more than their peers).Babysitting is mostly easy and usually
without incident. But who do you want watching your child should there be a
problem? How much is that person worth?
The author is absolutely right about the inflation of babysitting wages.
Babysitting is a usually a job for younger teens who are too young to work at
Burger King. Paying them less than minimum wage is not saying your children are
not important. When teens get a "real" job where they have the expenses
of better clothing, car & gas to get to work, and are working the entire 4
or 8 hour shift, that's when they can expect minimum wage. Much of
babysitting time is spent in down time after the children are in bed. If the
sitting is done entirely during the day when the children are busy the entire
time, then a little more pay would be in order. I put myself through my first
year of college (1972) on the 50 cents per hour I had made babysitting for the
previous 6 years. Oh, and, if a teen thinks a person is not paying enough, they
can say no to the job and stay home and earn $0.
I started babysitting when I was 10 (60+ yrs. ago)and I earned 25cents/hr. and
35 cents/hr after midnight. Didn't matter how many kids. I was just glad
to earn some money. I suppose that was a lot of money for people then.
Perhaps the employer should take out the taxes, FICA, a fee for tax paperwork
processing and subtract all that from the wage and it would give the kids an
idea what is in store for them when they get the job they are "entitled"
to. There are some "lessons" that they are being shielded from
learning!Paying someone $50 to cut the lawn is ridiculous and I
doubt it. Now, if they haul away the grass clipping, edge it, trim the hedge,
clean the drive way, etc, etc, maybe $30 but not $50.And, BTW,
taking AP classes and sports PLUS chores WAS the rule in the "old days!"
Not complaining; just stating what it was like.
If you play sports the only employer you find who will work around your schedule
is mom and dad. And that is what they do. Clean houses or work on some project
for x hours a week around practice and games. As it is a child is in seminary,
school, sports, church activity. If they don't do sports but work they can
maybe get 3-4 hours after school. I don't know how anyone could find an
employer to schedule them for 79 hours a week around just the school hours. If
just school and seminary you could possibly do 20 hours a week. The adults
looking for work will likely take priority over teens. You could take home after
taxes about $6,000. Even less if you tithe. That will not pay for college,
mission, clothes, car insurance, gas, car, fees related to car. It will pay for
a lot but not all of it. The good old hardworking days are over. Gas is at least
three times as high as the 80's and cars are twice as high, and college is
6 times as high.
Listen, I'm 16 years old and I babysit for a family every Friday night. I
get paid $10 an hour. There are 3 kids age 7,4 and 2. I make dinner, I feed them
dinner (and trust me, they're picky eaters), I bathe them, I get them ready
for bed, I put them to bed (which usually includes reading stories and
snuggling), after they're asleep I clean the kitchen, I clean up from bath
time, I clean up all their toys (most are from before I even got there, and I
ALWAYS make sure I do the dishes and run the dishwasher. I think $10 and hour
for that is definitely deserved. I mean, I would probably do it for less but
they set the rates. I absolutely love those kids and I would do anything for
them. I even see them at church and talk to them then. It isn't just a once
a week thing. I have serious relationships with these kids. Heck, the 7 year old
who was learning about marriage, asked if I would marry him because we marry the
people we love. I think I deserve the $10.
The sense of entitlement is not where the author thinks it is. She expects to
find cheap labor - AND labor who would be more than willing to be underpaid ?
Knowing the value of your work is not being entitled. I babysat a lot in my day,
and I regularly asked for raises. Parents may not know how their kids behave
when they are not home. They underestimate the responsibility involved. And does
that mean that the jobs of stay-at-home-mothers is worth less than the minimum
wage (over 7 dollars an hour) ? What kind of signal does that send ? OF COURSE
you need to set the price beforehand, it's not as if you were giving a gift
or something, it's paid work. The fact that teenagers are concerned does
not make their work and time any less valuable. That's the excuse given for
the exploitation of illegal migrants, children in England in the Dickens era,
etc. Look at history, you haven't invented anything new.
Lets look at state tuition and fees. It was $1,190 in 1987. In 2013/14 $6,708
per year. Minimum wage didn't increase by a multiple of 5 or 6. It is very
fine and good to say I worked and is paid for a car or I worked and paid for
college. The pay and cost ratio is not level. Or expectations. Likely you
didn't bother with car insurance. No employer would hire a kid 30 or 40
hours a week. There are people with kids needing minimum wage jobs. People who
have a hard time getting 40 hours of it. $5 an hour isn't an
hourly rate for an adult even. That is lower than minimum wage. Perhaps she can
solve the problem by doing babysitting swaps. She watch another's kids
while they get couple time, and they watch her kids another time so she can get
couple time. If she checks out the cost of infant care in her area at a center
she would probably faint.
Wow. I have a really hard time reading this because I agree with the author (to
a point...I would probably pay a little more)..but when it comes to the people
saying "You get what you pay for"...really?? So, because I won't
pay you $7 a hour PER CHILD to watch my kids (who really only want you to play
cars with them)...you aren't willing to do CPR on them? Or protect them
from harm? You are only getting $5 a hour after all. When you are 12/13
years old, $5 a hour is a score. You can't get a job at Burger King. I
always pay a little more for a babysitter who is older and has more
experience...but you are babysitting. This isn't your career. This should
be supplemental. Yes. Prices have risen since "back in the day"...but
you can't expect for all adults to compensate for that...that is what a
"real" job is for. :) Can parents step in and talk about what is
appropriate? Or do the parents feel like $50 to mow lawns or $10 an hour per
child is okay?
I like the author's suggestion that you let the potential babysitter know
upfront, before acceptance, what they will be paid, along with what they are
expected, and what they can do to earn extra money. I think that's the best
advice to take from this article. Also, as a 26-year-old single, childless
woman, I would happily earn $15 for the chance to play with kids for a few
hours.That being said, I think kids have a lot more going on these
days that weigh out to be more important than cash, especially when college
tuition and board is often so expensive that a kid physically CAN'T work
enough to pay for even the first semester of college. So many parents and kids
often find that academic and extracurricular pursuits are more important than
saving money. I received a full ride scholarship in 2005 because I dedicated
myself to school and activities, rather than working. I did have a part-time job
one summer just for experience, which I quit when school started. But I
don't regret having a full activities resume when I applied to colleges.
6 hours per Saturday date night$5 an hour50 Saturdays a year$1500And that doesn't include the occasional mid-week
job.I'd say not bad for a 12 year old.
I could get car insurance for $50 a month. I could put gas in the tank for $1.20
a gallon. That was the late 80's. Check the rates to get car insurance for
a teenage boy. It's insane. It costs too much to have teen drivers.
It's not lack of ambition. Most countries don't have kids with DL at
all. Or jobs. They study for 15 hours a day. When you look for a job
wouldn't you expect the going rate. Would you go to an employer who paid
the last worker 30K and be mad that they want to try and get you to work for
20K? Why is this different or babysitters? Or lawn care?
Is the Deseret News a church news and views publication not the daily newspaper
for the general public I had assumed it was? Why pray tell motivates this
question to be a "Mormon Mom" question as opposed to an issue for all
mothers who need to hire a baby sitter? On one hand we get the drivel from the
position on let's say church beliefs such as the Noah's Ark and the
Flood 4,000 years ago that killed all living things, then it's an article
on a human like skull found that is 1.8 million years old. Just how does that
fit in with the creation 7,000 years ago? Then we have the daily anti gay
articles, and the equally preachy porn warnings, making it hard to figure out
what this paper really is, a ordinary daily news publication or a church only
publication filled with all the do's and don'ts?
If you don't want kids to be "soft", then PAY them when they do
work.(And yes, I believe there's more value in the AP classes,
the accelerated academics, and the college prep work than working some deadbeat
job. College scholarships pay more than making $20 a week babysitting.)
I think it's great that youth are finally standing up and getting more
money for watching kids. It's a thankless job."First, I
get a babysitter twice a year." Why are you even complaining? Twice a year
you can't pay an extra $10? This is like the tipping at restaurants
argument - if you can't afford to do it, don't go.My wife
and I always paid $4 per hour per kid, and rounded up to the next $5 increment.
Back when I was a babysitter, it was not unusual for people to try to get out of
paying entirely. They'd come home from dinner and a movie and say casually
"Oh, I'll pay you tomorrow". Tomorrow would turn into a week and
nice little Utah girls (like me at the time) aren't always taught
assertiveness. Then there was the one neighbor that would always call and ask
me to babysit on Sunday while they went to their pre-church meetings, but would
call somebody else for paying jobs during the week. I don't know why it
was assumed that I would always happily babysit for free on Sunday, but I guess
it was. I found these things to be way more problematic than getting paid
a dollar or two an hour. Again, babysitters aren't getting taxes
deducted. Based on the types I had to deal with (managers, customers,
coworkers, etc.) when I was working my first minimum wage jobs as a teen,
I'd much rather have babysat for a little less money.
I tend to hire younger babysitters. They can't make minimum wage because
they're not 16 and they're usually more excited to do it anyway. A 13
or 14 year old is usually perfectly capable of holding down the fort for a
couple hours. 20 some odd years ago, I made a dollar an hour so $5 now
doesn't seem too shabby. But I also usually round up to $10 or $15 or $20
or whatever. No need to be a tight wad. When I was in junior high a woman in
the ward begged me to sit all Saturday so she could go skiing. She was gone 7
hours and when she returned, she handed me a $10 and told me I owed her three
hours of sitting. I wish to death I had had $3 to hand her at that moment. Not
worth my Saturday. In the past, I've paid more to have my lawn mowed. But
honestly, an hour of manual labor in the hot sun is worth more than an hour of
watching TV with my kids. Unless it's Dora. That deserves a bump.
Came to this article to see if "Mormon Mom" would follow the typical
Utah family "cheapskate" stereotype.Was not disappointed.
In order to avoid this entitlement mentality I helped my 3 teenage sons start up
a lawn mowing business. By 2005 they were charging $25 per standard yard. They
were doing a professional job, buying their own gasoline, purchasing and paying
for equipment repairs.The adult professionals were charging about
$40 per typical yard. Why I should pay an unprofessional kid $40 to $50 to
cut my grass? AS for baby sitting, why should I pay more than $7.25 per hour
when those working at the pizza place are paid $7.25 per hour and have FICA
taxes deducted and the baby sitters don't? I pay the 16 year
old boy that sometimes helps me, $8 per hour because he is a good worker and he
is glad to get it. If he decided that was not enough he could say no and I
could easily find someone else. There are unskilled adults that are paid less
than $10 per hour. The good teenage workers are glad to get a job
and experience, even at minimum wage. The minimum wage is often below the
dignity of many of the entitled teenagers, and they complain that they
can't find a job.
WOW! Hey, I have lots of training and even work with special needs and I'd
babysit for $5 @ hour. But then I use to babysit for 25 cents per hour and that
included cleaning the house and fixing meals! Yeah, that was a long time ago,
early 60's. However, I still work and not that long ago I was pushing
grocery carts and cleaning the toilets at a grocery store making minimum wages.
I totally agree with this article. Hmmmm, I think I'll go on Craigslist and
see if I can make some "extra" money babysitting.
I live in California and read the DNews on a regular basis...your article is
further evidence of the "bubble" of Utah and how its not even close to
the "real world". Five dollars is very low. $10/hour is the going rate
in California amongst LDS members. My daughter babysits for a neighbor for
$15/hour. They are willing to pay it because she is very good. She didn't
tell them that was her rate, that is just what they wanted to pay. You take for
granted the plethora of babysitters you have at your disposal because of your
involvement in your church. People that don't have that option are willing
to pay much more. Quit your whining and be grateful you have someone who will
do it for $5 bucks. My girls never tell anyone what their rate is. If the
family doesn't pay well, good luck trying to get a baby-sitter. Word gets
Again, an article that generally panders to the more affluent neighborhoods.
Let me say that a good deal of our children and teens are far from entitled.
They scrap for everything they can in an economy that unlike generations of the
past in which I belong, offered more opportunity. I love these pieces. They
are so white suburbia that they make me nauseous.
"First, I get a babysitter twice a year."Then maybe pay the
prevailing rate?We always paid the prevailing rate for babysitters
in our area. The one(s) who spent time talking on the phone rather than
watching/playing with the kids, we didn't use again. I was hiring them to
take care of the kids--which includes cleaning up after them if they make a mess
etc, but not to wash the dirty dishes or clean my house better than I left it.
For several years while I helped support our family, we spent a lot of money on
babysitters. We did not have the "luxury" of living near extended
family. Entertainment--simply going to a movie became expensive because we had
to hire a babysitter. But we managed. I was happy to see the babysitters we
used grow up, and make something of themselves. When my oldest was 8 yrs our
household income was such that we no longer needed my income and I became a
stay-at-home mom.Every generation since the beginning of of
civilization has lamented how hard they had it compared to the current
generation. But each generation faces different challenges.
Jan Francisco sounds like a cheapskate... and bitter for some reason. My
daughters babysitter is responsible for her health and safety. What if something
happened? I want my sitter to be able to handle it, give first aid if need be
and call 911. What is THAT worth to you Ms. Francisco?Lawn mowing? $40
easy. The kid has buy buy gas for his mower.
Prejudice against teenagers? Let's look at it this way. If a
teenager gets 2$ an hour for each kid they babysit, not a bad rate, what should
we pay an adult with 30+ kids for 5 hours that went to college for four years
and regularly attends drug awareness meetings, suicide prevention, physical
safety, and participates in intruder, fire and earthquake drills? Let's say
this adult has 5 years experience and is also trained to educate these kids. 2$
an hour x 5 hours x 30 kids. That would be $300 an hour. When we set
expectations so high when kids are young where can they go to but to feel
cheated when the adult world presents a different reality? It is not prejudice
against teens, it is kindness in expecting them to work and be paid
I have teenagers. It is much better to talk about how much to pay beforehand.
Both for the babysitter and for the parent. Sometimes my kids come home with
next to nothing because the parents tell them, "it was easy, they were
asleep most of the time". I don't think it matters whether the kids are
awake, asleep, bratty, etc. The teens should be valued for the job they are
doing. Look at the pressures you are putting on these kids. It is a HUGE
responsibility. Kids need to be valued. I don't think that my children will
grow up to be lazy because I insist they get paid a certain rate for
babysitting. My teenager will not do your dishes, she will not do your laundry.
But she will sit on the floor and play with your child. She loves children and
your children will love her. Your children will be safe, cared for, fed, wiped,
diaper rashes averted, prayed for, worried over.......and the list goes on.
Value the 'help'. If you don't like how things are happening
while you are gone, get somebody else. There is no shortage of babysitters out
What is even more horrifying than the incredible greed demonstrated in the
article (and in many of the reader comments, both here and at the original blog)
is the ability of some to rationalize that such greed is morally supportable.
For example, employers pretend to be concerned about reinforcing an
"entitlement mentality" among teenagers (i.e., teenagers thinking they
actually are entitled to a fair wage for their faithful labors) when in truth,
the "entitlement mentality" really lay with the greedy employers, who
have convinced themselves they are "entitled" to cheap labor (and to
illegal-alien labor, child labor, and good-old fashioned 18th-Century slavery,
etc., in ALL labor sectors, if it were possible). Is the desire to
build confidence and maturity in young people more than mere lip service? Okay
then, pay the young person a fair compensation for his diligent labors.
Don't rationalize "It only is a training ground," or, "He
should be grateful to be paid a few pennies; after all, a few pennies is better
than no pennies." The Greed of today explains why the gap
between rich and poor is greater than ever and why home ownership has become
unthinkable for most.
Over the years I have hired lots of teen-agers. I am a retired golf course
superintendent. I have seen good employees and bad. Most teens vacillate between
good and bad. Since retiring I have continued to have personal projects for
which I hire help. I estimate the work to be done and what it is worth based on
my experience and what contractors I know charge and then hire people to help. I
tell them their hourly wage is up to them because I am paying X for the project.
I have sent kids home with too much hourly pay and had parents tell me it was to
much. I have sent kids home with less hourly pay and had parents tell me it was
not enough. My answer is always the same. The project is worth this much and
your kid decided how much hourly wage they got by how hard and/or efficiently
they worked. Some kids don't get hired a second time. A couple have taken
to asking me if I have any projects. Some kids won't accept my deals
because they know they are going to have to work "too hard". Everybody
This isn't about what we pay a babysitter. It's about what we pay our
16-year-old yard boy. He started with us a few years ago--only yard jobs not
covered by our regular lawn care people, tree and shrub maintenance people.
He's moved from $4.75 to $12.00 an hour in those few years, knowing all
along that we'd raise his hourly pay based upon two things: success of
his efforts and speed. The last "raise" was to $12.00 for 10 hours
maximum from $8.00 for 15 hours maximum. By the time he graduates
from high school and goes on his mission, he will have put away all the money
he'll need for the mission, maybe a bit more for college. What is more,
he's gained tremendous self-confidence with his ability to work hard
because the hard work has been rewarded not on the basis of "going rate"
( as little as possible in other words) but on the basis of performance. Tell me that shouldn't be the American Way.
Teens hiring out as baby sitters, and families wanting to hire them, should
realize that baby sitting is a business, and the teens should tell up front what
they charge. Similarly, families should tell up front what they expect the teens
to do. If the two parties agree with each other, then the teens get the jobs. If
not, the teens and families can negotiate the price, or the families can look
elsewhere. It doesn't really matter whether teens think the families are
paying too little and the families think the teens are charging too much. They
are doing a business transaction.
REMEBER...you usually get what you pay for. If you want to get a sitter on
short notice or have a sitter that leaves the house clean, pay more than anyone
else in the neighborhood. The word will get around and you will have many to
This prejudice against the young is grotesque. No, the kids today do not live
the life that those of us who are older did, just as we did not get the
privileges and trials of our parents' day. "Sufficient unto the day is
the evil thereof." Presuming to cut the wage of a hireling "for their
own good," is self-serving propaganda. I have a suggestion for
the author. Let the kids name their own price so that the author can learn the
value of her children and the job of caring for them. She seems to have
entitlement issues. Then she could blog her new life lessons for another group
of people that she can presume to prejudge.When our children were
young, we were rarely able to afford a babysitter. We always tried our best to
make babysitting our children a fun place to be and worth the work. As a
result, the young people we hired were always glad to be at our house and our
children enjoyed their happy caregivers. We need to respect the work of all
people, young and old. That's part of the "do unto others" golden
I don't think you guys realize how hard it is to get a job right now. I
have an Associate's Degree and I still can't get a job. When I was a
teenager, the only job I could get was babysitting. I only worked for 5 dollars
and hour once. The other times I got paid in-between 8 and 10 dollars. This
seems like a lot, but when you're having to buy college textbooks college
class, it isn't that much. I bought textbooks because I was in Running
Start where high school kids get to go to college for *free*. The state paid
the tuition. That was it. I paid for the rest. I was unable to get a real job
then. Babysitting was my only source of income. Paying 5 dollars for three
kids is ridiculous. You may think that it's just t.v. and dinner, but
there is a lot more effort that goes into it. I played with them, I did
homework with them, I took care of them, and I did everything that their mom
would've done except clean the house. Any babysitter worth their salt is
worth at least minimum wage.
Utemiguel,Wow, applying the Sherman antitrust act?. I doubt the
author has "market power" and can control pricing.While I
have not hired a babysitter in years, $5/hr for 2 kids is not unreasonable. I
have teanagers and they would gladly do it if the kids aren't brats. You
are simply there make sure things do not spin out of control.I do
agree with the sense of entitlement. Yes you may study hard but that does not
mean you work hard. Most of my emploees have college degrees and many have
graduate degrees. Some work hard, many don't. Many who do not work hard
are the first to complain about their compensation. They want top pay but want
to show up at 9 and leave at 5. They are unwilling to do anything beyond the
minimum, but begrudge the owners of the company who have taken on the risk and
spent thousands of unpaid hours building the business.I once hired a
secretary who had moved to my city and immediately took a job at McDonalds while
looking for a secretarial position at 2.5 times the pay. I knew she was
willing to work.
Great article. I support the author. I have babysat in my teens, and am a
male. I mowed lawns in high school for money, and worked at least 20 hours a
week all but one semester of all my college career. Work is
different from activities. All the sports and AP classes and extra curricular
events are nice but they are not work, as defined in pay for services.
Activities are scripted, usually paid for by a third party, and cater to the
student because the student is the source of the provider's income. Work
is not play, that is why the call it work.I feel that work provides
a laboratory for the person to develop the ability to overcome difficulties in
management, the acquisition of needed skill sets and how to deal with all the
problems of life, i.e., rotten work hours, less than desired pay, unpleasant
co-workers, demanding situations, fatigue etc.. I agree that by in
large the youth of today are raised with a sense of entitlement, are emotionally
unprepared to deal with the world and are due for a rude reality check.
I tell my kids they are NOT professionals but still apprentices learning how to
do a job. There's no reason for them to earn even minimum wage. If someone
pays them more than $3/hour for babysitting or mowing a lawn, they give some of
it back. (Yes, everyone in the neighborhood calls my kids because
they do a good job without robbing the parents of their hard-earned money.)
So you sold lemonade and operated a "restaurant" in your front yard?
Really? Where on earth did you grow up? Apparently out in the sticks
somewhere--in modern suburban America, where most of us live, you would be in
serious trouble with the law if you tried that. My kids can't even bring
homemade treats to school for birthdays anymore. The truth is, there are few
jobs for teenagers these days. The fast-food jobs of yesteryear are mostly taken
by under-employed adults, grateful to have a job and easier for the manager to
schedule because they don't go to school 6+ hours a day. Look around the
next time you go into McDonalds--if your area is like mine, most of the workers
are well over 18. You are 31, as is my oldest and he had no trouble
finding jobs as a teenager. His younger siblings, especially the two that are
still teens, have not had the same experience (we have not moved). I think your
suggestion is unrealistic. And unless you live in Utah, where your neighborhood
is your ward, it is completely impractical.
This was an excellent article. I am making a copy of it to use in teaching
Family Consumer Science classes in jr/high schools. I can't agree with
this author more. By paying babysitters too much money for inferior work we are
adding to the entitlement culture. There are some young teenagers who are very
willing to work hard, however they do not need to receive almost minimum wage to
make it worth their while. In 1969, at 11 years old, I began to
babysit for 25 cents per hour. I babysat every Friday night for the same family.
I played with their four children, put them to bed, and then I did their dinner
dishes (which they ate on before I arrived). Then I cleaned up the toys, etc.
I loved this job and I did it for the joy of autonomy, accomplishment, and a
little spending money. To me it was a right of passage to prove how grown up I
was becoming. I knew I was underpaid, but loved the job anyway because it was
consistent and I loved the kids. The entitlement culture we live in now is
detrimental to a child's emerging hard work ethic.
If you wish to observe what has happened to our nation, just do a quick glance
through the comments to this article.What once was a unified and
great nation (1941-46) has since become a seriously divided nation which can not
agree on the cause of changes which have creeped into our once peaceful and
content life styles.While many things have collectively wrought havoc on
our nation, the TV, Credit cards and computers have been MAJOR game changers in
what family life used to be.When we all grew victory gardens for the war
effort there was unity with the nation being of one mind and purpose and we
prospered as a self sufficient nation.We are fast approaching a time when
everyone will need to use those skills to raise food, which most have no clue
Wow. I'm sorry for harsh comments people have made here. I thought your
article was great and I was surprised how people can twist your good intent.
:(. I hope a day might come when we can all work together and support each
other and communicate kindly when we have a difference. All this is why I
don't blog. Life's hard enough without all the venom.
How much should you pay? Whatever the market can support. Sure you can pay $15
for three hours for two kids. But you get what you pay for.
Well gee, maybe the babysitter should be paying the mother for such a fantastic
"training opportunity," instead of the mother paying the babysitter.
What a disgusting spate of rationalizations. This is about greed, cheapness,
and taking advantage of another. $2 extra if you clean the house, WOW. What is
it about Utah and Greed so frequently seem to go together? "Work ethic" works both ways. It is not just about hard labor for the
convenience of the employer. It also is about the dignity and justice of proper
compensation. The notion that work for someone else is its own reward is pure
sophistry.So just stop it, please, with the, "but they're
only teenagers; it only is supposed to be a stepping stone for them"
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).
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
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.
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?
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....
Generally speaking the rule of thumb is:The parents with the
brattiest kids pay the least.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
@Bingham studentCongrats 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.
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.
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.
Isn't that what grandparents are for?
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.
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.
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.