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cost of babysitters, i am really out of touch

(124 Posts)
redblue Fri 28-Aug-09 12:39:41

i know i am totally out of touch here. Tonight hubby & I are going out tonight for the first time since daughter was born 10 months ago. Found a trusted person to babysit who tells me going rate is £6 per hour. We don't live in london and knowing nothing about this I was quite pleased when she first told me this hourly rate thinking it sounded cheap. But as I am about to go to the cash point now to get money to pay her I realised that our anticipated hours out of the house (about 4) are likely to cost us the same if not slightly less than the two main meals at the pub we are going to and so there is quite a good chance that we pay more to the babysitter than we spend whilst out. I know I know that that is not the point and it is quality time and the chance to go out etc and maybe it is our own fault for not blowing the budget and going the whole hog in the 4 hours we are away but that is not really our style. I guess it will be a learning curve to me conclusion of which is don't go out make your own fun at home! (No family members living nearby before anyone says it!!)Right, let the abuse start if you think i am totally out of touch and that is just the way things work!!

juneybean Fri 28-Aug-09 12:41:28

I'm in Tyne & Wear and charge £5 - £6 for a minimum of 2 hours

However depends what you're looking for obviously a younger teen would be cheaper but an experienced person who can cope in an emergency will cost a bit more.

dingdong05 Fri 28-Aug-09 12:45:10

UNBU to complain about the cost of things, but UABU to expect people to work for you for pennies.
hth! grin

bigstripeytiger Fri 28-Aug-09 12:47:17

£6 an hour is pretty typical. It does make going out very expensive.

LadyMuck Fri 28-Aug-09 12:49:35

I pay a teen £4.50 an hour, agency £5.50-£6.50 an hour depending on night of the week, 3 hour minimum booking.

The rate is possibly on the high side outside of London. Your trusted friend might have said £6, but what did the babysitter ask for?

Certainly you need to factor in the cost of a babysitter into a night out. I'd rarely bother with a sitter to go out to the cinema say, but for parties or even evening classes, then it gets factored in. In terms of going out together as a couple, I think it depends on a) how good you are at getting quality time at home, and b) how often you each go out, as to whether this is a priority or not. If you are already each going out once or twice a week then getting a sitter just to eat out might not be worth it on a frequent basis imo. On the other hand if you are stuck in with the kids most if the time, and rarely see other adults, then it could be a lifesaver.

redblue Fri 28-Aug-09 12:52:07

Would never suggest babysitter should work for pennies and of course it is work for which totally entitled to expect the going rate (although knowing my daughter will absolutely be asleep from 7pm till midnight as she has done since very small means i know it will be very easy work so to speak! NOT that this means that babysitter is not still entitled to going rate).
Just saying that unless your budget for expenditure when out is above a certain threshold then knowing the absolute minimum a simple one course pub meal out will cost you £50 + (£25 for babysitter £25 for the two of you) means you know not to do it very often (or at all)!! (till your budget expands big time via a lottery win or similar!)

elmofan Fri 28-Aug-09 12:55:55

hi redblue , same here , we are going out tonight for the first time in two years , we are just going to the cinema & my niece is minding dd (3) , dd is my niece's godchild ,
my dilemma is how much do i pay dn , she is 19 & her boyfriend is babysitting with her , ds (10) is allowed to stay up until i get home at 10pm ( to chaperon)grin
hope you have a fab night .

redblue Fri 28-Aug-09 13:30:57

have a great time elmofan, glad you have a neice to babysit. it makes you realise how much support family can give you if they are local and / or so minded. You are lucky! Have a fantastic night out too, I know I have been looking forward to our night out tonight for months and months!

LadyMuck Fri 28-Aug-09 13:34:48

You could join/set up a babysitting circle amongst other parents you know. This seem to work fairly successfully at one local school that I know.

FimbleHobbs Fri 28-Aug-09 13:36:17

Thats the same as we pay on the very rare occasions we get a babysitter. Usually to go to a parents evening or for work reasons as its expensive to justify 'just' for socialising.

We try and babysit for friends and then they babysit for us sometimes, its hard as my DH is often working nights so not easy to fit into our schedules, but if you can manage it, it saves a fortune.

You have my sympathies. Have a great night though!

milknosugarplease Fri 28-Aug-09 13:38:18

hiya,i live in north london and i babysit for 4 different families and charge £6 (one family pays £7 but this was her choive) per hour....for london this is dirt cheap...going rate seems to be £8+ then goes up after midnight (i dont bother doing that)

been babysittinf=g since i was 15 (im now 21) and used to get £4 per hour!

have a great night out! x

sweethoney Fri 28-Aug-09 13:57:32

Totally understand how you feel. Going out without having family around to babysit makes it an expensive night out, even if you're just having a local pub meal. But the going rate is what it is. My suggestions around this would be setting up a babysitting club where with local friends you take it in turns to babysit (even if you only babysit for each other once a month!).
As regards using a paid babysitter, to save money just restrict using them to special nights out such as birthdays, anniversaries, parties etc.
We tend to have friends round to ours a lot now for dinner. They bring the baby, put him/her to bed at ours (we put up a travel cot for them) and then have some nice food and enjoy ourselves. There is also no hassle about having to get back for the babysitter (because its late or will cost too much). Next time we go to there house for dinner and vice versa.
Paying for a babysitter is an expensive luxury (especially when baby is asleep!)

elmofan Fri 28-Aug-09 13:59:22

yes we are very lucky as my family would babysit for us at the drop of a hat if asked , smile but we just couldn't afford to go out very often , & being stuck in EVERY night is driving me mad at this stage , so we reckon giving dn £20 for babysitting tonight is worth it just to get a brake , dd will hopefully be asleep b4 we go & ill be home in two hours . i have bought in lots of goodies for niece & her boyfriend etc .
i know its a pain having to pay for babysitters but i really hope you have a fantastic night tonight smile

Firawla Fri 28-Aug-09 14:00:49

well thats not much more than minimum wage so i think yabu to expect it any cheaper really

Laquitar Fri 28-Aug-09 14:11:03

We pay £8-£10 in London. I guess £6 for other places is normal.

I understand how you feel but why starting the thread today? There is nothing you can do now, too late to negotiate and if you cancell you ll have to pay 4 hrs minimum.
If it is only a rant, again no good idea because if people post £5 ph it will only add to your misery grin

Just go and enjoy it

redblue Fri 28-Aug-09 14:25:17

Why start the thread? As per my first post i confess to being totally naieve when I said to hubby back in April that I really wanted to go out for our wedding anniversary at the end of August how much a babysitter would cost. You are right, there is no point to my thread apart from a first time parent who has learnt the cost of going out. As I say above, I am not in any way suggesting that babysitters should charge less nor that I want to negotiate or cancel the night out. I just know that on our budget it's going to be a one off. I appreciate very much the suggestions from other people about how they made saying in with friends etc work for them. Would love to start a babysitting circle, my mum used to be part of a circle where they swapped wine bottle corks for each hour they had babysat for each other so they could ensure everyone had sat for an equal time as other members of the circle. My personal experience since my baby was born is that i have not managed to get to know enough ladies in my sitution (having gone back to work myself for financial necessity reasons!) to start a babysitting circle. I sometimes have rediculous dreams about how much of a utopia being a mum in the 70's was, all that love and kindness and babysitting circles for the earth mothers my mum used to mix with (NB the last bit is a piss take of myself faod)!

milknosugarplease Fri 28-Aug-09 14:29:17

redblue-whereabouts do you live?

x

lljkk Fri 28-Aug-09 14:33:14

I have often seen people on MN posting about paying a lot less than 6/hour for a teenage babysitter, but typically for an older child. 10 months is a tricky age, you really want someone who knows what they're doing and just not next door's 16yo.

I think it's worth asking around in future to see if you can find someone you could trust who would work out a cheaper deal. It's even possible that the person coming tonite would be willing to charge less in future when it's going to be a for such a big block of time (so maybe #20 for the 4 hours instead of 24 quid, etc.)

I've tried and totally failed to ever get a babysitting circle going, easier said than done. And now I have too many DC for most sitters to cope with. What's worse DC4 doesn't settle with anybody but me or DH, so not the slightest chance of us having a sitter for years to come.

I hope you enjoy the night out

violethill Fri 28-Aug-09 14:40:11

OP - You say you're back at work yourself so you know that any form of childcare doesn't come cheap!!

I think you should just bite the bullet and enjoy your evening.
It's sad that as parents we fork out shed loads for childcare to enable us to work, and then feel guilty about paying a babysitter to have an evening out!! Go on - enjoy!

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 28-Aug-09 14:41:11

yes going out for meal etc and paying a babysitter is expensive - and yes often you do/can pay more for the babysitter then what the cinema/meal costs

i charge £10ph and have a minimum of 4hrs fee and I get lots of work, many times I have to say no to a family and try to get a nanny known by me to babysit for them

def try and set up a local babysitting circle with mums from NCT, M&T etc

Yep, I pay £6. But then my babysitter, despite being a teenager, has SN experience and that's worth its weight in gold. She doesn't expect a premium for that either.

As a result, her SN experience, her reliability, I look after her. Her going rate is £6 an hour, but if I have her on a Fri/Sat night I'll make it up to £30 (so that's usually an extra hour on top). Also if I can't get her home safely myself I will pre book and pay for her taxi home.

I also leave plenty of food and drink for her although she doesn't take advantage of that. She's a real find, we are limited to who we can have to babysit because of our kids' SN so she is worth it.

redblue Fri 28-Aug-09 14:48:40

north oxfordshire milk
I really wasn't looking for a magic answer to this, it was just a chance for other posters to laugh at the naieve nature of a first time mum!!! Day to day childcare is expensive but I have worked out something which means the small net amount I make above childcare costs does pay for some key bills on a day to day basis so is worth it in the end (or so my husband says!!)
i have learnt the lesson and will get creative about other ways (other than going out) to enjoy company of hubby / friends. Yes tonight will be really lovely in the light of all of this and I will enjoy!

milknosugarplease Fri 28-Aug-09 14:50:36

a bit of an off topic...but still the same topic!

how much extra would you be willing to pay on new years eve?

milk x

weegiemum Fri 28-Aug-09 14:52:17

In Glasgow, I pay the very very responsible 16yo across the road £5 per hour if the kids are asleep (the times they should be, that is!), £7 per hour for the times they are awake - there have been a couple of occasions when its been like 6-9 or something so its been 2 hours at £7 and an hour at £5.

I suppose the best thing about it (for me) is that her lovely Mum who is a friend of mine as well is just over the road if something goes wrong, and she appreciates us employing her daughter, so everyone benefits!

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 28-Aug-09 14:53:03

what childcare do you have?

could you ask them to see if they will bs?

rookiemater Fri 28-Aug-09 15:04:56

Hi there, why not set up a baby sitting circle on www.mynightoff.com with some friends. The site doesn't cost, which is a pity as I should be on commission for the amount of times I mention it on here and is a great way to get social life going with no cost.

Alternatively keep a look out for teens on your street, have just nabbed a 17 year old who lives next door and we give her £12 for about 3 hours and we know that her parents are there should any problems arise.

Mamulik Fri 28-Aug-09 15:06:07

we going to pay £45 per day, but I also can pay with childcare vauchers

redblue Fri 28-Aug-09 15:12:33

milk, never go out on new years eve (since i was 17 anyway) cannot afford it. always stay in and enjoy myself (i am guessing here) much more! sorry

MatthewBellamysMuse Fri 28-Aug-09 15:15:53

Do you not know even one other couple who you could babysit for in return for them babysitting for you? My children are 5 and 7 and we've never paid for a babysitter although we go out a lot. I have a babysitting circle and other trusted friends who are willing to do reciprocal babysitting. I also have my mother nearby, which helps.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Fri 28-Aug-09 15:19:59

Have you not got friends with kids? We used to swap babysitting (no such thing as a circle)
We don't go out now cos even friends couldn't look after dd and agencies charge £15 per hour.

MaryBS Fri 28-Aug-09 15:20:30

I'm unemployed atm, and every time I see how much babysitters get, I'm tempted to set myself up in business! OK, its not megabucks in some areas, but to my mind its a nice way of earning some money!

overthemill Fri 28-Aug-09 15:21:23

i think £6 an hour to look after a baby is good value. I charge £8 - 10 and more after midnight/special nights eg new years' eve etc. I know it massively adds to the cost of the night out (I'm so glad our eldest can now babysit for the younger 2) but I feel it's wirth it so you can get a night out.
As others have said there ar eother ways of reducing our cost: babysitting swaps with mates (ime not worked when they are young tho as mates also have young ones too) and using a teenager. Teens are great but I personally wouldn't have left mine when babies with a teen.

You could also ask at the school/preschool near you - sometimes workers there are happy to earn a bit extra and may charge less for a regular booking?
good luck, it does get easier!

MatthewBellamysMuse Fri 28-Aug-09 15:25:36

Overthemill, in our circle the dads get left at home with their own children while the mums do babysitting for each other.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 28-Aug-09 15:32:28

milk - I wont bs on NYE - prefer to spend it with dh/friends but I have been asked many times, and I always say I charge double time so £20ph and I get asked normally a few times by my regular familys i do

one family two years ago wanted 6pm - 2am and i said it would be £160 and they were fine with that - so I gave it to my Bf instead who didnt mind leaving her dh grin

SuzeMcG Fri 28-Aug-09 15:41:47

We pay £8-10 in London. It does make it an expensive night out so we usually only get a babysitter once a month. My brother and his girlfriend will babysit but by the time we pay £25 for a cab home and buy them a bottle of wine, it costs about the same as getting a babysitter. It is worth it to get a night out with my DH though.

milknosugarplease Fri 28-Aug-09 16:03:06

hmm thank you blonde

im really not a NYE person...though it seems at the age of 21 i should be...double priced drinks no way to get home REALLY appeals to me...not!!

was wondering how much demand there would be for a NYE babysitter!

milk

xx

abdnhiker Fri 28-Aug-09 16:07:54

I pay my sitter £8/hour, although that's on the high side. Other parents with older kids say they pay around £6/hour. But for £8 I expect my sitter to put my older son to bed and cuddle my younger son (14 months) when he invariably wakes up screaming. I know she works for her money! Plus I value my kids and want her to treat this job as more important than her other job(s). For everything else the salary goes up with responsibility. Babysitting is one of the most responsible jobs there is and it's often underpaid.

But i agree it's expensive! We go out about 6x a year because it ends up costing so much.

abdnhiker Fri 28-Aug-09 16:10:29

Reading this - I'm willing to babysit on NYE think about it! One night could finance a sitter for three or four other nights!

overthemill Fri 28-Aug-09 16:32:30

well i know that dads can stay at home while the mum goes to babyist for mates (and in fact this is often what happens while i go and sit) but in our family it dodn't work, nor for those of my friends' but that was for our first ones and after that we kind of gave up.,

I now run a babysitting directory and do some sitting myself to earn extra cash to bring in extra income while i retrain. It is great to have something i know i can do that helps other people too!

We pay £8 per hour plus a cab home, if needed. We're in London.

Sitters.co.uk charges less per hour, but you have to pay a booking fee. The one friend I know who uses them has never had a problem. And accd to her, they only send people who can make their own way via car or public transport.I think probably does work out cheaper.

I think you'd struggle to pay much under £6 per hour. I would be embarrassed to offer £6 in our area, but I sympathise with your need for a moan.

The idea of a babysitting circle fills me with horror - am I the only one? But I work full-time. The last thing I want to be doing is schlepping over to a neighbour's for the night shift.

TrainWillArriveTonight Fri 28-Aug-09 16:40:49

Message withdrawn

Purplepanettone Fri 28-Aug-09 16:49:30

It is expensive. I think because it is expensive we tend to spend more when we are out; it seems silly to spend £25 on a sitter and only go out for a drink.

Could you join a babysitting circle, or set one up with your friends? We are part of one sometimes and it is all managed on-line and very good.

sweethoney Fri 28-Aug-09 16:50:45

Have a great night tonight and don't stew on it otherwise you won't have the full value of a baby free evening!

PictureInTheAttic Fri 28-Aug-09 17:22:39

Excellent advice, Train. I used to babysit for Spaghetti and Meatballs!

rupertsabear Fri 28-Aug-09 17:28:17

Have you thought of advertising for someone who will do your cleaning or ironing in the evening while 'babysitting' for a sleeping child? I have and you get your moneysworth that way.

bronze Fri 28-Aug-09 17:34:59

Whats the going rate for a childminder as I dont think it should be more than that.

Not really used a babysitter except very regularly when dd was in scbu and Im sure they gave us mates rates/pity invoices.

ThingOne Fri 28-Aug-09 17:55:14

I think I pay £6 an hour. Out of London. The other thing you can do is agree in advance a fixed fee for 8pm-midnight, with any extra time at an hourly rate. Not that you'd be later anyway wink.

Sarasue Fri 28-Aug-09 18:01:41

I was getting £5 an hour when I was 16 and that was 15 years ago, I know I was the highest paid baby sitter of all my friend but I would happily pay 6-8 for a good sitter that I trusted. However we never go out.

Teddington Fri 28-Aug-09 18:07:34

I babysit with a 'putting to bed' service as well and it ranges from £30 to £30 per evening, depending on the length of time, lateness, number & ages of children etc.

I also have a babysitting group with ante-natal 'sisters' - we have vouchers and get paid 2 for a weekday evening and 3 for a weekend. It's an excellent way of working

Enjoy your evening!

shock at the prices of babysitters in the UK. 15 y ago I used to ask £1 in Belgium and now you can expect to pay 3 Euros, which nowadays is just under £3. I can't believe it's £6-8 here. Looks like we're lucky enough never to have had to pay for a babysitter yet.

Portofino Fri 28-Aug-09 18:19:16

We pay ours 50 euros for the night. She is a grown up though and bilingual English /French. I could probably get a local teen for less, but she's been coming for 3 years now, probably has a better idea of what to do in an emergency than i do and drives herself. She's become a family friend now.

My dd is happy to play and be put to bed by her, and I feel I can go out for 4-5 hours without having to worry. Also she's always happy to come. I don't begrudge the amount for those reasons, but probably go out less than I might have done. We always have a "proper" night out when she comes, never just pop to the local pub. If we fancied a quick drink out, we' take dd with us and get a takeway on the way home.

Oh and in Belgium it's sort of expected that the babysitter puts the dcs to bed + that they sleep over as evenings out in Belgium, because that way there's no clock watching or worrying about having to drive the babysitter home (and so not being able to drink much). So this put to bed service all sounds a bit strange to me. Actually, when I lived in the US, it was also expected that the babysitter put the dcs to bed.

scampadoodle Fri 28-Aug-09 18:40:03

Milknosugar, where in north London are you? I desperately need to expand my 'bank' of babysitters as I have only one, plus another who never seems to be available. We're in N5.

Claire2301 Fri 28-Aug-09 19:21:18

I'm a babysitter in Cambridge. Charge £5 per hour, which I know is cheaper than a lot of people around here but am more than happy with that. Two out of the 5 families I babysit pay well over that (we tend to have a too-ing and fro-ing of money at pay time!) 22 years old and have 3 years full time childcare experience. Started babysitting 8 years ago on £10 for the evening (4-5hours!)

Morloth Fri 28-Aug-09 19:25:56

We often spend more on the babysitter than the night out. It is just part of life really.

Going rate in London is 8-10/hour.

Jugglers Fri 28-Aug-09 19:33:38

D'oh.... blush £20-£30

dogofpoints Fri 28-Aug-09 19:35:23

I wouldn't pay a teen more than the minimum wage for babysitting. About £3.50 an hour. S'not really hard work, is it

indiechick Fri 28-Aug-09 19:58:09

We pay £7.50 an hour, don't go out much!

Portofino Fri 28-Aug-09 20:03:35

Surely min wage is more than 3.50 an hour though?

dogofpoints Fri 28-Aug-09 20:06:12

min wage for under 18 is £3.50ish an hour

abdnhiker Fri 28-Aug-09 20:10:35

dogofpoints it's responsible work though isn't it? If our babysitter screws up at her other job (checkout at the local Morrisons) then it's just money. The responsbility when she's in charge of my kids is much greater.

As for whether or not it's hard work - well that depends on the kids. If my youngest is teething, it's not exactly a bunch of laughs.

dogofpoints Fri 28-Aug-09 20:22:18

You have the trust the person natch. You wouldn't get any old teen in. But - and let's just be honest here - watching telly and mooching around getting snacks after packing children off to bed is not hard work.

And there's always a mobile number by the phone.

MarsLady Fri 28-Aug-09 20:23:53

I normally pay one of my local teens a fiver an hour to babysit, but when none are available I use a lovely N London agency that charge £7 p/hr and do the ironing. Fantastic. grin

baiyu Fri 28-Aug-09 20:37:17

It's got to be cheaper than marriage counselling! (that you might need if you never get to go out with your OH and say 'oh actually yes, I do still fancy you, you're great' etc.)

Laquitar Fri 28-Aug-09 20:42:14

Can i ask a question?
Only one poster mentioned tips and another one mentioned the word 'embarassement'.
Am i the only one who rounds up the total/tops up with a tip?

The way i see it is different than daytime childcare. Going out is not compulsory.I 'd rather go out less often than haggling like mad. When i go out i thank the waiter and tip. The same with the taxi driver. I don't say 'oh you are lucky, if you worked in tesco you wouldn't get this..'. So why not say 'thank you' and give a proper rate and a tip to the babysitter? If she 's lucky and the baby doesn't wake up, and she sits on the sofa eating that's great, good for her. After all if i had good time too i'm happy.

Claire2301 Fri 28-Aug-09 20:50:40

As mentioned above I babysit, I used to babysit two boys 5 and 8, parents both GP's. Babysitting would involve entertaining, getting them into pj's, brushing teeth, reading story, then popping upstairs for an hour- 90 mins telling them to go to sleep.

One night the parents came home, at that time I was charging £4 an hour, ended up that they worked out the owed me £18.50.

They had a twenty pound note, and a £5 note, they gave me the fiver along with £12 worth of change as they didn't have enough to add up to £18.50. I even offered to give them the £1-50 therfore meaning they could give me £20.

I have never been so cheesed off!Following time the boys spent the evening swearing and running outside to pee in the garden. Told the parents I would no longer be avaliable after that!!

Portofino Fri 28-Aug-09 20:53:28

Claire shock! What mean buggers!

scotagm Fri 28-Aug-09 20:54:06

Just because you pay a baby sitter/local teen more than the minimun wage doesn't mean they will be any better/more focused in a real emergency.

perapera Fri 28-Aug-09 21:31:54

How much would you pay for a childcare professional? (ie a staff member from a nursery?) I asked at my daughter's nursery (in Liverpool) and the manager said she does it and would charge £10/hr. So we've never done it! But now reading the posts here, maybe I should ask one of the girls - maybe they would charge less.

Claire2301 Fri 28-Aug-09 21:42:37

Indeed!! They called back a few months later asking if I'd come back (I didn't!)

overthemill Fri 28-Aug-09 21:54:49

babysitting is responsible work. Think back to when you had your pfb and you wouldn't even leave them with anyone (I nearly had an anxiety attack while having a nursing bra fitted with dh sitting with dd outside the cubicle in John Lewis!). My child is the most precious thing in my world and i need to completely feel confident with the person I leave her with.

I set up my directory so people with disabled children could get hold of people who could sit for their chidlren, wit the confidence of knowing they had sepcific experience.

When I start babysitting for a family I go round first to meet mum/dad taking id, passport, utility bill and crb. I produce refs if they want and I talk about routines, what they expect and what I want. Then I meet the children and then they decide if they want me to look after their little ones.

Teens can be great - I've used teens myself and they are great for older ones but i wouldnt want to stress them out caring for little ones.

I wish there was an answer to this age old conundrum but we do all need to go out!

dogofpoints Fri 28-Aug-09 22:17:08

the answer is having friends and family who will do it

milknosugarplease Fri 28-Aug-09 22:56:51

scampadoodle im in n19 but will travel

whereabouts are you?

milk

x

semi Sat 29-Aug-09 07:58:08

I've just had a thought, how about those with kids doing babysitting themselves - ok, you mught have to drag your little on ewith you but what a great way to earn some extra cash and then, save up to blow it all on a fab night for yourself sometime? worth considering no?

ssd Sat 29-Aug-09 08:02:30

family who BABYSIT??

don't make me laugh hmm, pigs will fly first

and usually friends have something on........

I agree OP, having a night out when you have to pay for a babysitter makes it really expensive, we go out about twice a year because of that

TheDMshouldbeRivened Sat 29-Aug-09 08:49:34

'I set up my directory so people with disabled children could get hold of people who could sit for their chidlren, wit the confidence of knowing they had sepcific experience.

I wish there was an answer to this age old conundrum but we do all need to go out! '

That would be a good idea here! We were offered 'Time for you' from social services but none of their sitters were trained for emergency epilepsy meds or could feed a quad or tube feed. Which was a bit daft as the service is aimed at those with disabled children (its free)
So we get a takeaway once a month. I eat at the table, dh eats with dd screaming over his shoulder (she hates being ignored). I'd love to go out one day!

bellavita Sat 29-Aug-09 09:07:10

We have a local teenage lad who babysits. He is usually here for around 3 hours or just over. We give him £20 and leave snacks.

elmofan Sat 29-Aug-09 09:15:12

i went out last night to the cinema , it was our first night out in two years almost , dn & her boyfriend babysat for us , i left in loads of goodies & nibbles for them , the dc's were already in bed & i got in a DVD that dn had wanted to see , the film wasn't very long so we were home within two hours ,
& i gave dn £ 20 , feel a bit ripped off now reading some of these posts ,

daisymaybe Sat 29-Aug-09 10:13:17

I'm in London and I charge around £5 for parents that I know (I'm a nanny). Usually their children are 3 at the youngest so it's never difficult. If they're more than a short walk from my house and come back later than about 11pm I would expect a taxi home to be paid for - I've never had to ask, it's always been a given.

nannynick Sat 29-Aug-09 13:43:18

For the past 3 years, having a qualified and experienced nanny babysit in the evening would typically cost £10 per hour in my area (Surrey/Berkshire).
A non childcare qualified teenager would cost a lot less but parents with baby may not feel happy leaving their baby in the care of someone without baby experience... thus why nannies like myself were in demand.
Things have changed over the past few months, I am doing a lot less babysitting than I did in the past. I've lowered my price by £2 per hour to encourage more bookings but time will tell if that actually makes any difference. It seems to me that a lot of parents can't afford to go out for the evening at all - paying a babysitter on top of the cost of going out just makes it even more costly. Families for whom I used to babysit a lot have started using relatives, arranging for their children (who are now school age, not babies) to go for sleep-overs with friends.

Back in my teens (a long time ago now), I recall charging £1.50 per hour, per child... over the years that cost has gone up... now £4 per hour per child - based on a family with 2 children - £2 per hour per child if the family has 4 children. That rise has occurred over a 18 year period, so about a 6% rise year on year. The cost of getting to babysitting jobs used to be minimal - as I cycled my push-bike. These days I drive... fuel is costing me around 10p per mile, then there are all the other car costs to add. Maybe I should start cycling again.

What is a reasonable cost for evening babysitting - I don't know. It will vary from family to family as to what they feel is reasonable. Some children are very demanding, others are easy. Some children sleep through the night, others do not. Some children go to bed easily, others do not. Some children wet the bed frequently, others do not. How should a babysitter price the service they provide... should it be a set amount... or should it be based on the amount of physical work involved?
I feel parents are paying for peace of mind... how do you put a cost on that?

Mtorun Sat 29-Aug-09 13:44:38

Redblue, If you were near me I honestly would babysit for you for nothing. And I`m an experienced nanny.

lynniep Sat 29-Aug-09 13:49:29

My babysitter is £6-£8 an hour (Cambridgeshire) and leaves it to the parent to decide total payment within those guidelines.

She works at DS's nursery and he loves her and I trust her - she is also mid-twenties and has vast experience with toddlers so I'm happy to pay her this rate.

Yes its a lot of money, which is why we go out no more than twice a year wink

lynniep Sat 29-Aug-09 13:53:54

Oh I should have said - I'm aware that folk around here have babysitting circles too - sort of a more formal arrangement between mums whereby everyone volunteers their time for a set number of hours for an evening.

That way everyone gets a free babysitter. Depends how many local mums you know though and it can get awkward I guess if there is a particular person in the group you dont feel comfortable with looking after your child/coming into your house.

I dont do it because all my close mum friends have their own free babysitters (we have no relatives anywhere close by)

Fruitbeard Sat 29-Aug-09 13:59:46

We get our niece to do it for £5 an hour. As she tidies up as well, I consider this a bargain.

When DD was about 12m old and I couldn't get a relative in, SIL asked her next door neighbour for me - she was a trainee nursery nurse working in the baby room (19) and very sensible. She charged £6.50 an hour (this was 3 years ago) and said this was what her nursery told them to charge.

redblue Sat 29-Aug-09 15:00:55

Reporting back, we had a fantastic time. Forgive me for telling you a bit I will be living off the memory for a while! We went out 7.45pm pub was lovely, nice beer garden, I had two courses (great quality homemade icecream for pudding!), hubby had three courses and a pint of local beer which he said was delicious (wild eh!! I only had mineral water sadly). Great conversation about non baby non work stuff and a few really good laughs - the type you don't get on a weekday night when you might otherwise turn on the TV!). Total bill was £38. Arrived home at 10.40pm.
The babysitter said (as I totally predicted) that my daughter did not stir once (she was already in bed when I arrived) infact she didn't even have to go upstairs whilst we were out because she could look at the monitor/camera/movemat/sound listener. She didn't eat any of the food I bought in for her. Although we arrived home early I did pay her £24 as she was expecting to be out for the 4 hours and my husband gave her a lift home.
In conclusion it was a very expensive night out for us but I loved every second of it. In a way the babysitter was worth the money - on the one hand it was money for nothing as she didnt have to do anything and I knew that would be the case. On the other hand she was worth the money because she is qualified and has years of experience in the baby room of the nursery where my daughter attends and the most valuable thing to me was that my daughter would have found her face very very familiar had she actually woken up and needed attending to. Again maybe I am a naieve first time parent but part of me thinks it might be unfair to expect a 10 month old baby to accept a total strangers face in her parents absence when she wakes one night.
In conclusion although we definitely won't be doing that again for a very long time (£62 is not far off our weekly shopping bill!) the only thing I would say is that if qualified nursery school workers/childcarers/nannies with years of experience under their belts especially experience with very young or vulnerable children wanted to, I think they could make some real money out of babysitting but ONLY if they offered a deal. By this I mean secure repeat work by saying I sell say 10 evenings worth of babysitting to you at a discount price. I totally accept that some children are a lot more work intensive to babysit for than other children but that is what the babysitter would have to accept in return for a potentially lucrative level of repeat work. Babysitters are paid in cash and so the tax free element must make it worthwhile (assuming they don't have to declare it on a tax return) especially if you can guarantee regular repeat work. Why don't qualified childcarers offer this?

I am guessing it is because everyone has their own solution to this whether it is a local teenager, family member or a babysitter they have paid a good price to for a long time and stick with because they trust that person. So there is no demand for it (or certainly not from people who are not new to this game first time parents!). But i for one would be interested in a deal from a reliable quality (i.e. experienced and works in childcare) babysitter at a discounted rate for a bulk buy. However I cannot see this ever being offered as there is plenty of demand for the going rate and babysitters do not appear to be particularly interested in repeat work (or not at less than the going rate).
So I will continue to enjoy the great evening I had last night in my memory and will work at other ways of having friends round at home etc! (No wonder the "dine in for £10" deals at various supermarkets are such a winner!!!)

nannynick Sat 29-Aug-09 15:22:09

Redblue - I like the repeat discount idea. Though a babysitter would not be able to offer that until they have babysat a few times for the family and thus have got to know the children well, as then they know how much work will be involved.
But what discounted price would you be looking at? £24 is already quite low (certainly in my area).

sweethoney Sat 29-Aug-09 15:33:35

Glad you had such a great time. A more expensive night out but worth the money. Try to do it as a special treat when you feel as though you need the pick me up!

gallery Sat 29-Aug-09 18:04:21

I pay a standard amount regardless of the total number of hours. I use a couple of girls I know - they are friends daughters. Occasionally I use a nursery helper from pre school. I pay £25 per night. If past midnight, I usually make it £30. I also leave some goodies and pay for taxi if needed. I prefer to give a set amount- the girls know what they will get and it is a guaranteed sume regardless of whether 2, 4 or 6 hours! Usually the earliest I ask them to come is 7 and usually back by 1130. If I am away with work, I might get them to come to let my husband out on badminton night- then it is usually 7-9ish. I still pay the £25. I think I am being fair to them- sometimes they do longer, sometimes shorter but it evens out over time. It is worth to me to have reliable, trustworthy and competent people in my house looking after my kids. I know they can respond sensibly in an emergency.

overthemill Sat 29-Aug-09 19:09:40

i love the repeat discount idea - and in fact that is kind of what i offer - i say £8 ph for regular slots and £10ph for one offs.

wonder how we could do this - nannynick any odeas? sorry your babysitting has dropped off

and so pleased you had a good night out - treasure the memory!

MissSunny Sat 29-Aug-09 19:53:24

Message withdrawn

MissSunny Sat 29-Aug-09 19:55:05

Message withdrawn

nannynick Sat 29-Aug-09 19:56:11

Not sure how you would organise it, overthemill. Maybe a buy 4 nights (in a 3 month period) and get a night free. That is then a discount if 5 nights in a 3 month period, but no discount if less than 4 nights booked.

overthemill Sat 29-Aug-09 20:30:46

i wouldnt want a teen with no experience looking after a baby - mine or others. Of course its a generalisation but most wouldnt have teh confidence or maturity - my 16 yo wouldnt feel confident and she has 4 younger siblings and is a regular sitter. If you are happy to use ateen then thats fine but i wouldnt and would expect other people to necessarily.

btw, we almost never go out together - v occasionally get a night off when all kids sleeping over elsewhere or when we can force 16 yo to sit for us but we went to theatre 2 x in march and not anything at all last year without kids!!!

MatthewBellamysMuse Sat 29-Aug-09 21:32:58

I agree Misssunny, I couldn't cope with going out once or twice a year. But I'm in the lucky position of having my mum 10 mins drive away, and lots of friends/aquaintances who are happy to baby sit for each other.

eekamoose Sat 29-Aug-09 21:37:42

Not everyone has a mum who can "usually" babysit MissSunny.

If your mum was NEVER available - how often do you think you would go out then?

MatthewBellamysMuse Sat 29-Aug-09 21:50:55

We'd go out together a lot less if my mum was never available. But we'd still go out a lot separately with friends. Life's too short to spend it stuck in front of the telly every night.

vjg13 Sat 29-Aug-09 21:53:42

We go out once a week and pay our babysitter £7 an hour. The babysitter is 29 and has experience of children with special needs which we need as my older daughter has learning difficulties. It is one of the few things that keep me sane!

Goober Sat 29-Aug-09 21:57:46

My DD does it for me for £1 an hour and all the skinny jeans she can wear! grin

chicaguapa Sat 29-Aug-09 23:05:23

Do you have friends you could set up a babysitting circle with? Where you pay in tokens they can then use to pay you when they want to go out? We live in an area with no family so I set one up so we could go out. It works really well.

kateGB Sat 29-Aug-09 23:11:01

We just dont go out.......grin

A microwave meal and an episode of the Wire is a treat!

TheDMshouldbeRivened Sun 30-Aug-09 06:37:24

'I'mamazed that some people hardly ever go out! How do you cope?' You just have too misssunny. Most people don't choose it that way, either they cant afford a babysitter or they have a child too ill for anyone to babysit. We fall into both categories and haven't been 'out' since she was born nearly 6 years ago.
I'm not sure what we'd do 'out' now. Stare at each other and glance at our watches I imagine!

turtle23 Sun 30-Aug-09 06:43:59

I'd love to go out. Unfortunately DS has turned into a problem sleeper and we never have any idea when he will go to sleep and if he will wake up. We haven't been out together in 6 months and then we only made it out three times in the 11 months before that.
Those of you who do get out ENJOY IT! Our parents either live abroad or are way too old. Very jealous.

ssd Sun 30-Aug-09 09:24:01

we never go out either, its driving me mad but feel its out of our control

mum is in her 80's, far too old for babysitting, so is MIL

no relatives nearby who would help (we have asked...trust me!!)

I earn minimum wage, dh not much more. paying a sitter £20-£25 on top of a few drinks is just too much for us

friends all have helpful mums who seems to come over and help out at the drop of a hat....envy

surely understanding why some of us can't get out as much as we'd really really like!! isn't too hard to understand

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 30-Aug-09 09:36:15

for those who cant afford a babysitter/dont have relatives etc

why dont you set up a baby sitting circle near you - either mums from nct, M&T , nursery/school if got older ones?

redblue - i am so glad that you and dh had a lovely night out and your comments are so true, yes it was a lot of money for you but you paid someone a good one INCASE your dd woke up/needed care etc

TheDMshouldbeRivened Sun 30-Aug-09 09:53:18

no-one will babysit a child like dd Blondes. And she needs me to get to bed with her between 8 and 9 to watch she keeps breathing (thats why I don't post after those times. Every night I go to bed just after 8pm. What a life I lead!)
Forgotten what 'out' looks like!

£10 p/h in SW London for a very experienced/trained nanny/childminder smile

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 30-Aug-09 10:48:57

i would riven - but you arent near me sad

thats if you would trust your dd with this mad -nutty lovely blonde nanny

your dd sounds a delight smile

but if you eveer move or come near me ........ let me know x

ssd Sun 30-Aug-09 10:49:32

blondes, everyone I know has family who babysit and don't need to be in a circle

we are the odd ones out

TheDMshouldbeRivened Sun 30-Aug-09 11:07:00

I'm packaging her up now grin

Dominique07 Sun 30-Aug-09 11:22:13

Agreed, it is expensive. I just can't afford it full stop.

We go out separately or as a family. Don't feel able to trust what family (Dp's brother and sister) we do have living nearby as they will feed DS fizzy drinks from a bottle/not watch him/not put him to bed.

DandyLioness Sun 30-Aug-09 11:23:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Sun 30-Aug-09 11:28:54

no we don't Dandy. SS offer a 'time for you' service but because dd had meds/tube feds in the evning then needs to be accompanied to bed it wont work for us. We did once try a 3 hour during the day slot - the rules are you must leave the house so no computing - and we wandered the streets eating chips waiting for time to go home! It wasn't long enough for the cinema and we couldn't afford a posh lunch. We did that 2 years ago.
Most of dd's carers aren't trained in tube feeds and none are allowed to give emergency seizure medication so we always need to be close by.
DD now has a hospice place so we are considering leaving her at the hospice for a few hours one day as they are all trained nurses.
With my teenagers, when they were little, friends babysat. Preferable as all our kids grew up together so they all knew each other.

disneystar1 Sun 30-Aug-09 12:28:57

id have no idea what out is either, we have 1 disabled child bit like your dd riven tube fed etc.....
the day is divided up into med times physio tec.
we havnt been out together in 10 years but we manage and make our own time together when we can
we had our little boy 13mths ago and he is very poorly and is terminal now we have his op very soon.....so hoping here,

id have a trust issue id trust no one with my special 2 let alone the other boys and to find one with the skills and that can admisnister the drugs....not a chance there.

i think there rates the op were fair tbh....

nannynick Sun 30-Aug-09 13:06:20

Riven - surprised that your DD's carers aren't permitted to give emergency seizure medication. My insurance permits me to do it, plus insures me for tube feeding (though I need retraining on that). Good to hear that your DD has a hospice place... hope that will give you an occasional break and once you have built up trust in their ability to care for your DD, maybe you will consider leaving DD there for longer periods, such as overnight - so you get an undisturbed nights sleep.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Sun 30-Aug-09 14:19:27

only trained ones can nick and the Agency doesn't have any trained ones. Partly because there's no epilepsy nurse here to provide the training! Apparently its not good enough if I show them hmm
Mind you, if we ever did go out I'd be on here agonising over what to wear as I have nothing smart! grin

masonicpixiesreadthedailymail Sun 30-Aug-09 16:29:35

dh and I went out for dinner t'other week and he asked if he could keep the menu as he was really interested in reading the blurb on the front page! What a fascinating date I am

Nah. Twas alright. Good to get out

riven - did you not have any luck with getting nurse to stay at yr home? We now have overnight care 2 nights a week. Through complex care

TheDMshouldbeRivened Sun 30-Aug-09 16:34:08

not yet pixie. SS wont do it but dd has been taken on by a charity for life limited kids. They don't have any money right now but will do a care plan in October.
Then we shall hit the town grin

masonicpixiesreadthedailymail Sun 30-Aug-09 16:41:23

pleased to hear that riven. Tho you'll prolly be timing yr first night out in aons with works christmas do's. Arrrrggghhhh!

overthemill Mon 31-Aug-09 11:52:36

does anybody on here know about coole2care?

It's a newish social enterprise set by a couple with adisabled child which arranges a carer for disabled kids. It looks really good but operates in only afew areas at the moment.
"Cool2Care is an organisation helping families look after disabled children and young adults. We are always looking for people who want to work with disabled young people, whether it’s working with them in their homes, or taking them out.

We believe working with disabled youngsters is fun! Many people say they find the work rewarding. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, experienced or starting a job for the first time. Maybe you are looking for temporary work or a permanent career. All you need is patience, a love of children and a positive attitude.

Whatever your background, if you’re thinking of working with disabled children then we would love to hear from you.

We are now recruiting carers and have places on the training courses running in Gloucestershire, Essex and the Isle of Wight."
but i think they also cover other areas:
Telephone : 0845-123-5484

Or click to email your nearest Cool2Care office:
Birmingham Office
Essex North Office
Essex South Office
Gloucester Office
Isle of Wight Office
Surrey Office (Guildford (Nick??)) and have bigs expansion plans.

it looks a brilliant idea - and they recruit carers all the time. Do take a look - and MN I have nothing to do with this org just a complete fan!

nannynick Mon 31-Aug-09 12:09:41

Not heard of them. Looks like they are an introduction agency (why can't social services / FIS just tell parents about local childcarers with suitable experience - FIS have a statutory duty to give that information for Free).

From the Cool2Care Carer Brochure:
~~~
Cool2Care acts as an introductory agency.
It doesn’t employ care-workers, each careworker contracts directly with a family.
The family is charged a placement fee.
This means 100% of the salary paid by the family goes to the care-worker.
Salaries will vary by area and by family, depending on the specific work required.
There are modest fees for the training to be paid by the care-worker.
~~~

So they are doing something that FIS should already be doing... that is taking enquiries from parents, giving parents a list of suitable childcarers, and helping childcarers get suitable training.

overthemill Mon 31-Aug-09 12:12:51

yes that is what they do but what they achieve is something the big org doesn't seem able to - and they attract people who might not be keen to be recruited by SSDs. Thye also provide appropriate training and because they are parents of a disabled child they seem to have better undertsanding than big impersonal orgs tend to.

I understand your frustration - but they do, imo, seem to fill a gap.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Mon 31-Aug-09 12:20:11

'We believe working with disabled youngsters is fun! ' hahahahahahahaha. They've not met my dd then.

claw3 Mon 31-Aug-09 12:29:06

A more realistic approach would be 'we know working with disabled youngsters is bloody hard work and tiring, but we are willing to do it for a price'!!!

AmeliaR Mon 31-Aug-09 12:36:36

I'm in Hampshire - and pay £8 per hour, so £6 seems pretty good to me!!

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