to think £25 for babysitting 3 children until 3am on New Years Day is disgustingly stingy.

(241 Posts)
TaggieCampbellBlack Tue 01-Jan-13 16:03:09

DD and her friend. Both 14.
Parents said they'd be back shortly after midnight. Finally rolled in at 3am.

DD and friend slept over but were expecting them home before 3.

Stingy bastards handed over £25 this morning.


And also more than a little surprised. That isn't the done thing really is it? Getting in 3 hours late.

Meglet Tue 01-Jan-13 16:04:20


I pay the nursery staff £15 for 2 hours on a normal evening.

Greythorne Tue 01-Jan-13 16:04:30

What time did they begin babysitting?

I pay a neighbour's dd €5 an hour before midnight, €10 thereafter.

vintageviolets Tue 01-Jan-13 16:04:37

Is that £12.50 each?

Earlybird Tue 01-Jan-13 16:04:37

Sounds stingy.

What, do you think, would have been fair payment?

NilentSight Tue 01-Jan-13 16:05:38

£25 each or to be split? What payment was arranged beforehand?

Lueji Tue 01-Jan-13 16:05:48

Tell your DD to charge overtime.

At least double rate.

Next time she'll be more careful with the arrangements.

I think £25 for babysitting is good actually - I wouldn't expect it to be an hourly rate. However, 3 hours late is very rude and they should at least have checked that the girls were okay and didn't mind them being late.

penguinplease Tue 01-Jan-13 16:06:34

that is rude, I'd have to say something to those parents if I were you, what is the connection between them and the people they babysat for?
At the very least it should have been £25 each though I pay £9 per hour for a sitter for my 3 kids and £11 after midnight.. and we are always home early and leave nice things for her.. trust her though 100% so worth it for peace of mind..

ohfunnyhoneyface Tue 01-Jan-13 16:06:46

So stingy!

Get them to agree a price in future.

HecatePropolos Tue 01-Jan-13 16:07:02

No. It's not right.

But were they really expecting to arrive home just after midnight? Isn't that when the celebrations start?

I wouldn't be happy either.

I think it's a lesson for your daughter to arrange fees in advance, including extra for if they're late.

Poor thing. £12.50 each?

They have really been taken advantage of and I'd be telling those parents so.

ratbagcatbag Tue 01-Jan-13 16:07:11

Hmmmm, tough one, I used to babysit and get around a tenner which also involved an overnight stay and hae no idea wht time the parents came back as I was asleep. However I used to also get left money for takeaway and be able to use the Internet when it was first around and a really clunky novelty.

That said i would expect the going rate to be around 10 to 20 fir a normal night, then I'd probably give around 30 for nye and leave takeaway money.

Lueji Tue 01-Jan-13 16:08:06

It should definitely be hourly, or provide a bed and breakfast.

Earlybird Tue 01-Jan-13 16:08:28

Another question: if the parents got home at 3AM, how did your dd/her friend get home?

yohohoho Tue 01-Jan-13 16:08:40

Depends on alot of things.

Firstly you can't compare it to nursery staff. They are trained people, of course they cost more.

what rate was agreed. And why were there 2 of them. I wouldn't pay both to babysit.

I pay ours £7 per hour. But she works at as nursery. If I was paying a teenager I would pay that much. Prob £5-6. I certainly wouldn't pay £5-6 per person.

Sirzy Tue 01-Jan-13 16:08:48


yohohoho Tue 01-Jan-13 16:09:32

Oh and who were they babysitting for?

RobotLover68 Tue 01-Jan-13 16:09:52

I gave my 15 y/o £20 the other night for less than 4 hours - I'd have given them £25 each

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 01-Jan-13 16:10:16

They need to negotiate rates and times before the event next time.
Yes, if the parents said they'd be back shortly after midnight, I'd take that to mean before 12.30am. They took advantage and paid poorly.

TaggieCampbellBlack Tue 01-Jan-13 16:10:24

£25 between them. Started at 8pm.

Was arranged by friend so I don't know them, otherwise I may be forced to have wirds.

I've told her next time they need to do an hourly rate with double after midnight.

But what on earth were the parents thinking? Stupid? Stingy? Or deliberately taking advantage? Gits.

Greythorne Tue 01-Jan-13 16:11:02

Nursery staff and 14 year olds can't expect to be paid the same!

MrsMelons Tue 01-Jan-13 16:11:29

£25 is good for normal babysitting but not on NYE and not when you are responsible for children until 3am!

I pay my babysitter £5 an hour roughly and often give an extra fiver if after midnight so never less than £20 for an evening really.

When I babysat on NYE when I was 14 (so 19 years ago) I was paid £60!

Ihatemytoes Tue 01-Jan-13 16:11:37

Earlybird, read the OP.

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 16:11:48

Did they not arrange a rate before hand? i charge £8.50 per hour babysitting, would expect about £12-15 per hour NYE. Though i am qualified in childcare.
Have you had a word with the parents? Maybe because of their age they thought the children wouldn't be doing anything anyway and that as there were 2 of them it wasn't really much of a hassle for them to spend the evening together?

pictish Tue 01-Jan-13 16:12:38

Tbh I think getting £25 for an evening's babysitting (even till 3 am) at the age of 14 is pretty bloody good going!

I wouldn't pay out double for two sitters either. I'd only actually need onbe, so that's all I'd pay for. If the sitter wanted to bring a friend and split the takings then that would be up to them. I wouldn't pay twice!!

£25 for an evening's sitting till 3am is quite enough.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 01-Jan-13 16:14:07

£25 from 8 til midnight would seem ok, just over £6 per hour. Maybe if they were asleep after that the parents didn't think they paid for the sleeping part. I'm assuming the parents wanted one babysitter but were happy for a friend to tag along for company.

How many kids were they sitting for?

akaemmafrost Tue 01-Jan-13 16:15:10

That is really bad.

I used to get £20 for NYE just for me over 20 years ago.

catgirl1976geesealaying Tue 01-Jan-13 16:15:15


£25 each would have been more like it IMO

ravenAK Tue 01-Jan-13 16:15:48

For comparison, we pay our usual babysitter - admittedly a final year medical student - £60 if we're rolling in at silly o'clock & she's staying over. £70 if she has our mates' 2 dc as well as our 3!

We've also used a friend's teenage dd - she got £40 & a lift home.

So yes, £25 on NYE is v stingy IMO. Although I'd only expect to pay one sitter - ours sometimes brings a mate to keep her company, which is fine, but it's up to them how & if they split the fee.

Yes - agree absolutely that they shouldn't be paying twice because one girl chose to take her friend with her.

So basically, they were paid £25 for spending the evening with a friend - and they could have gone to bed, so didn't HAVE to stay up until 3? How old are the children and what time did they go to bed?

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 01-Jan-13 16:16:09

I wouldn't pay a 14yo the same as trained nursery staff. Nor would I pay both if the 14yo decided to bring a friend.

But £25 sounds low for nye around her I would expect to pay £40 for nye and it would be a given that you wouldn't be back before 2ish so the parents were daft to think they would be back just after 12.

WeAreEternal Tue 01-Jan-13 16:17:20

I pay our babysitter (she's 16) £5 per hour. If I came back late I would always pay extra.

That is the going rate around here apparently.

Meglet Tue 01-Jan-13 16:19:08

I realise you can't exactly compare nursery staff with teenagers, but it was to give a rough idea of payment.

Lueji Tue 01-Jan-13 16:19:13

£25 for 7 hours is much less than minimum wage.

And I don't see why teenagers should be paid less for the same amount of work.
Ok if just sitting around when children are asleep.

Still, the children could easily have awoken or been ill.

And the parents should definitely have given something extra for being over 2 hours late.
The girls could he still gone out to party at 12:30.

How did they get home?

5madthings Tue 01-Jan-13 16:19:17

£25 for a teen to babysit for nye is fine. Why were there two teens? If the patents requested bith of them.then they should pay both of them. If the teens chose to both go to.keep each other company then that was theit choice and they cant both expect to be paid imo.

cathers Tue 01-Jan-13 16:22:06

Ridiculously tight.
I pay £5 per hour for a 14 yr old to babysit, so from 8-3am would be be £35 minimum and i probably would round it up to £40 as it was NYE. But, I would not pay for the 2 girls - either one takes £40 or they half it! Their choice.

Earlybird Tue 01-Jan-13 16:22:35

Oh - I didn't understand that the dd/her friend slept over at the home of the dc.

OP - what do you think would have been reasonable payment?

I disagree - I don't think baby sitting aged 14 has anything to do with minimum wage.

If people are really paying up to £70 to a babysitter, how on earth do you ever afford to go out? That's insane!

DoIgetastickerforthat Tue 01-Jan-13 16:23:13

Stingy - mind you I once got totally shafted as a teenager. I would babysit for three different couples who all knew each other but one night 2 of the couples were let down so I agreed to have all 8 kids at one house and to sleep over. Adults rolled in after 3am and do you know how much they paid me? A FIVER... in total.

Safe to say I never babysat for any of them again.

SantasENormaSnob Tue 01-Jan-13 16:23:16

I wouldn't pay twice because the babysitter took a friend.

Catsdontcare Tue 01-Jan-13 16:23:36

Like others have said who's idea to have two girls babysitting? If the parents requested to sitters they should have paid more if it was the girls idea to go together then they have to accept sharing the profits.

TheMonster Tue 01-Jan-13 16:23:49

We're the parents expecting two girls?

TheMonster Tue 01-Jan-13 16:24:14

*were (bloody iPad autocorrect)

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 01-Jan-13 16:24:51

Sorry, you said in the title there were three kids blush

We pay our 17 year old neighbour £5 per hour and our nursery worker double that. TBH I'm not sure I would expect a new year's eve premium for a 14 year old as I wouldn't expect them to be giving up a party/pub trip like someone older. I'd probably give extra for goodwill anyway and I definitely wouldn't be 3 hours late, that's just awful.

TaggieCampbellBlack Tue 01-Jan-13 16:25:24

They didn't expect double for both of them being there.

I'd have thought about £30 for a normal pre-midnight babysitting. This being NY and til 3am a smidgen more was called for.

She's planning a price list for next time.

blueemerald Tue 01-Jan-13 16:25:51

Minimum wage under 18 is £3.86. If the more was meant for one that would be £3.57 which is okish if the kids were in bed. I do think it is stingy as a harsh early lesson for your daughter about laying down your terms before you start.

NatashaBee Tue 01-Jan-13 16:26:37

Very stingy. My cousin did babysitting last year as she was going to be at home with her own kids anyway on NYE. She had the kIds stay over at hers all night and charged 60 quid a child, people were biting her arm off to take her up on it.

KittyFane1 Tue 01-Jan-13 16:28:18

£3.57 per hour? I would say £5.00 per hour is reasonable for a 14 year old.
So £35.00. so yes, a bit stingy.
If it was your DD's friend's job YABU to expect them to be paid separately.

I babysat for £1.00 an hour in 1990 shock !

pictish Tue 01-Jan-13 16:28:26

I agree Remus.

We are talking about teens getting paid to watch telly while the kids are in bed here. They are not 'earning' - they are doing a wee job cash in hand...but way to go to teach your kids to expect something for nothing. £25 is well sufficient.

If you are expected to pay out £50 plus before you've even left the house, then most of us can forget going out at all. Most of us don't have that sort of money for teens watching tv and texting their friends.

Thank God for teens with realistic expectations.

BelleDameSousMistletoe Tue 01-Jan-13 16:28:55

Outrageous, frankly. And taking advantage, IMO. Even if they didn't want to pay two sitters surely a minimum of £50 for NYE? I pay sitters £10 per hour or an agreed rate. I'd expect to pay well over £50 for NYE really though.

Good plan re price list!

So basically, they were paid £25 for spending the evening with a friend - and they could have gone to bed, so didn't HAVE to stay up until 3?

That's not the point, and in my babysitting days i wouldn't have gone to bed when i was on duty.

It's a ridiculously low amount and taking the piss for NYE.

KobayashiMaru Tue 01-Jan-13 16:31:11

You let your 14 year old stay over, babysitting for people you don't know at all, & your concern is that they were underpaid? hmm

Thanks Pictish. I was beginning to think I was the only one thinking this way!

My dds are 15 and 17 and both would be quite happy to babysit for a tenner, if they had no other plans, NYE or not.

BellaVita Tue 01-Jan-13 16:32:23

Very stingy.

We don't need a referee babysitter now but I paid £5 an hour. We usually asked them to be here for about 7.15pm and more an likely we would be home just before 11pm. I still paid them £20, if we were after 11pm say 11.30 then they would get £25.

I would have thought £25 each would be more like it on New Years Eve if parents rolling in at 3.00am.

Mrsrudolphduvall Tue 01-Jan-13 16:33:48

Dd gets paid £7 an hour for babysitting..,she's 16.
If she did NYE, which she didn't as she went to a party, I would expect her to get 8-1 £50.

So yes YANBU. However 2 girls babysitting together should expect to share that and not be paid any more. let's face it, they do it to keep each other company. We never allowed our babysitter to have a friend with her.

TartyMcTart Tue 01-Jan-13 16:34:00

Good God, I'm glad we have friends we can ask to babysit!

£25 for a nights babysitting is good going in my book for a 14 year old. Surely most of the night would just be sat watching tv which is pretty easy money.

ravenAK Tue 01-Jan-13 16:34:08

Well, to be fair I'm the poster with the £60-70 babysitter, & that's if I go with dh when his band are playing a gig, so it's all the night costs me - also it's from 5pm or earlier. So ten hours at least, & cost often shared with the guitarist & his dw as sitter will look after their two at our house as well.

Didn't mention all that as it wasn't particularly relevant to the thread, but yeah, it wouldn't be do-able for a quick pint in the local!

That's different then Raven. I assume sitter has to feed them etc as well? It's not just making sure they sleep/stay in bed then, which is what I mostly used to do when babysitting aged 14.

pictish Tue 01-Jan-13 16:36:30

Yup Remus - that's what I think as well.
I used to babysit for the neighbours cash in hand in my teens. I didn't have an hourly rate, or expect big bucks.
The only way they were able to go out at all, was because of girls like me accepting a tenner for sitting in someone's house watching telly. Even till the wee smalls. It's a tenner I wouldn't have had if I'd stayed at home!

ravenAK Tue 01-Jan-13 16:38:54

Yes Remus - I usually leave a lasagne in the oven or something, & they're of an age to get themselves to bed & stay there, so it's not exactly onerous for babysitter, but it's a long night!

pictish Tue 01-Jan-13 16:39:48

Raven - that is different. That's fair dos.

I used to earn enough in an evening's babysitting to buy myself a couple of pints of lager and black in the pub the next evening. And I'd get more revision done when babysitting than at home. Win win!

OhMyGlob Tue 01-Jan-13 16:41:58

I think £25 for a 14 yo is good. It's not their fault there was 2 of them.

Lueji Tue 01-Jan-13 16:43:55

If people are really paying up to £70 to a babysitter, how on earth do you ever afford to go out? That's insane!

Maybe I should get a teenager to clean my flat for £3, otherwise how will I have free time?

Paying teenagers a pittance is not on.
And I cry out for parents who can't afford to go out on NYE due to childminding fees.
Really not.

Going out is not a right.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Tue 01-Jan-13 16:46:26

I'd do a nights babysitting for £25 and I'm 32!

I babysat a friends 4 dc a little while ago at their house for free. Although I got a nice bottle of wine smile

At 14 I think £25 to babysit is fine.

It's nothing to do with paying teenagers a pittance. Teenagers are not trained and not qualified - to be paid £25 to sit with their friend whilst some children are asleep upstairs really isn't worthy of £7 an hour aged 14. Imho - and my dds would agree.

I suppose it depends as well if it's for a family friend/neighbour - imo that then isn't about it being a business transaction.

I think the fact there were 2 of them is clouding the issue. Actually, I would have been less happy with 2 teenagers, especially if they were staying over and I had double bedlinen to wash.

The major fault on behalf of the parents is how late they were back, though am a bit hmm that they said they would be back before midnight on NYE!

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Tue 01-Jan-13 16:49:13

Going out isn't a right, but it's nice! If people don't go out because a sitter is too expensive, then the sitters are the ones missing out.

£25 for a nights babysitting at 14 is better than £0 because the parents can't afford more than that so stay in.

pictish Tue 01-Jan-13 16:50:58

Some adults don't make £70 from a day's work!!
£70 for a teen babysitter is ludicrous!

CaHoHoHootz Tue 01-Jan-13 16:53:09

Very, very stingy indeed. I would phone them up, or get one ofthe girls to phone them up and let them know that they were expecting to be paid more than £25. This would give the tightwads a chance to give the girls a little more money. It could be that they just hasn't thought it through when they got home.

If you can't afford babysitters don't go out. smile

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Tue 01-Jan-13 16:53:26

Pricing yourself out of the market is the phrase I was thinking of but couldn't remember!

HannahsSister40 Tue 01-Jan-13 16:53:32

There are people on Mumsnet who won't leave their 14 year olds home alone in the daytime never mind in the evening, in charge of someone else's kids! I'm surprised noone has mentioned the issue of 14 yr olds being left home alone in the middle of the night???!

FlipFlopFloss Tue 01-Jan-13 16:54:39

I didnt realise 14yos could get employment other than babysitting and paper rounds. I know our local shops ask for 16yo these days which surprised me as I had a Saturday job at 15 but that is yonks ago now. So what is the minimum wage for 14yos these days then?

I must be really out of touch or considerably more poor than I realised before reading this thread because if I had to cough up more than £25 for a night out before even getting out the door I would never be able to afford to go out. £25 is about what I would spend on a night out (pub meal and a drink or 2). Obviously alot more of you on here are alot more high brow than me.

Have just asked my 14yo if she would be miffed at £25 babysitting fees for 7 hours on NYE and she is now asking if I know anyone she could babysit for - she would be over the moon to get that much, but then again I have just realised she comes from a skint flint poor family.

Really - How do you lot afford it???

I also agree a qualified nursery worker should get a minimum wage/higher rate of pay compared to a teen.

penguinplease Tue 01-Jan-13 16:54:40

Just to clarify my point too, I pay a lot but I use a babysitting agency and get CRB, first aid trained older than 18 girls/women to come. I joined this agency after my usual young girl let me down continuously with her behaviour and her language in front of my dcs.. the ones I get now are often childcare workers or training teachers topping up their income. I just would not let a 14 year old or 2 of them look after my kids.

CaHoHoHootz Tue 01-Jan-13 16:54:54

I agree that the pay should be as though there was only one babysitter.

RyleDup Tue 01-Jan-13 16:55:42

The going rate is £15 per hour round here on NYE. I wouldn't pay that, but then I wouldn't pay anything because I don't like going out on NYE. I probably would have paid between £40 and £50 to a teenager for NYE though. Normal night I'd pay £25, but would be back by 12.30 at the latest. So I do think its a bit tight on NYE for all those hours.

toobreathless Tue 01-Jan-13 16:55:43

We advertised for a babysitter over the age of 16 recently (DD is 20 months) we offered £5-£7 per hour depending on experience.

I would have paid £5 an hour to one sitter but probably not doubled that so say £8 an hour to be split?

So 8x 6= £48 plus I'd have added on a bit for after midnight/NYE so probably £60 split between them.

£30 each? Would you have been happy with that OP?

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Tue 01-Jan-13 16:56:01

If they didn't arrange a price before babysitting then they haven't got a leg to stand on in regards to asking for more money. There's a lesson to be learned!

If they had prearranged £25 to babysit until midnight then they could ask for more for the extra 3 hours based on how much an hour the £25 worked out at.

Lueji Tue 01-Jan-13 16:56:13

I find some attitudes here very exploitative.

So, it is ok to pay someone a pittance because otherwise they'd get nothing?
And it's ok to expect them to work longer hours without warning for the same amount of money?

When you choose teenagers they are expected to do the same work I the children wake up. And what if they are ill?
It's quite a responsibility.

flow4 Tue 01-Jan-13 16:58:35

No-one has mentioned this yet, but surely where you live is relevant?

I grew up in North London and when I was a 14yo babysitter myself, 30+ years ago, I would often be paid £20 for a night. When I grew up and moved to Yorkshire and had my own children who needed a sitter, I was quite surprised to find the going rate was just a tenner, 25 years on!

Rates also inevitably depend on incomes in the area or social group. There are lots of families round here living on under £200/week, so £25 is a sizeable chunk of their income. Teenagers in such families often don't get any allowance/pocket money, so £25 is a significant sum to earn. Just for comparison, a paper round pays £12 per week. And remember there is no minimum wage for under 16s, and they don't need to pay tax.

OP, since this was your daughter's friend's 'job', not your daughter's, it's hard to know whether any of these factors might have applied. It might not be stinginess at all smile

FlipFlopFloss Tue 01-Jan-13 17:00:29

Can anyone tell me what the nationakl minimum wage is for 14yos please??

i can only find a 16plus rate.

V good post, Flow.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Tue 01-Jan-13 17:01:17

"So, it is ok to pay someone a pittance because otherwise they'd get nothing?"

It's a fact. If babysitting rates were too high nobody would go out.

HannahsSister40 Tue 01-Jan-13 17:01:37

So nobody cares about 14 yr olds alone in a house in the middle of the night in charge of other children?

I'd say for NYE it was pretty stingy. I have no idea what they charge around here but would have thought £40 + would be more like it.

We pay ds1 £20 and the price of a take away pizza and he's sitting in his own house.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Tue 01-Jan-13 17:03:23

Also if the children were ill, or there were another problem, surely the babysitter would call the parents and they would come home?

shewhowines Tue 01-Jan-13 17:05:06

£25 for being in your own space, with a friend doing your own thing, while the kids sleep - probably with snacks thrown in.


Staying in on NYE with your parents?

I'd have been happy to pay £25 as a teenager for that privilege let alone earn £25.

YABU it was easy money and their choice to split it.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Tue 01-Jan-13 17:05:18

I used to babysit at 14 Hannah. If the 14 year old is sensible enough I have no problem with it. An adult would be at the other end of the phone surely?

blueemerald Tue 01-Jan-13 17:05:30

Surely the point is that, yes 99.9% of the time you end up paying for a babysitter to watch tv while your children sleep but what you are really paying for is someone to deal with any and all crises that come up- injury and house fire are two examples that spring to mind. I would expect someone I considered sensible enough to trust with my children's lives to also be sensible enough to charge a decent rate per hour/evening.

I babysit for 2 families who have a child with severe SEN and I get £9/10 an hour and a cab after 12 if need be.

blueemerald Tue 01-Jan-13 17:07:17
Pinot Tue 01-Jan-13 17:08:14

I am boggling at the rates being mentioned on here.

£50-£70 a night?

God job I'm a home-body.

pictish Tue 01-Jan-13 17:08:49

The 14 yr old me would rather get a tenner for watching tv, that not get a tenner for watching tv.

Lueji I don't think you and I move in the same circles at all.
You are sitting in your ivory tower there declaring poor people shouldn't go out, because paying £70 for a teen babysitter is perfectly reasonable, and if you can't afford it tough shit. This is madness.

Away and wipe your bum on a fiver or something will you? grin

toobreathless Tue 01-Jan-13 17:09:20

Hannah if I knew the babysitter I would have no problem with this. I wouldn't leave a very young child or baby with a 14 year old it would leave a child over 3 or 4 (depending on the child.) I was babysitting at 14 years.

Viviennemary Tue 01-Jan-13 17:11:17

It is definitely on the low side. But they are only 14. And a lot of people wouldn't leave their children with 14 year olds. And they were out of order to come home at 3 am if they were expected earlier.

I've just asked dd2 what she thinks she should be paid for an evening's babysitting (she's 15).

She said a fiver! smile

FlipFlopFloss Tue 01-Jan-13 17:11:45

Thanks flow - thats what I cant find a minimum wage for U16s.

I also dont think a 14yo can be expected to provide the same level of care as a qualified sitter/qualified child care worker.

There is only so much anyone can do with an ill child but a 14yo is unlikely (depending on experience/having younger siblings) to deal with an emergency ill child situation in perhaps the same way a qualified nursery nurse or even another adult mum might. If I left a 14yo in charge of my young kids I would expect a phonecall and their efforts to console my child - another mum or qualified nursery nurse would be able to guage if that child needed emergency care or OOH Drs etc etc, perhaps even taking the initiative in a serious emergency.

I am not dissing 14yos and some/many may cope extremely well and take the full initiative in an emergency situation but I suspect many would panic and probably call on their own mums for assistance whilst waiting for the parents to return/ambulance etc etc.

Rare that emergency situations are - they can and do arise. I think the level of pay to qualified sitters should be higher because of how they would be xpected to deal with an emergency situation - I would expect them to take control and deal with it where as with a 14yo -I would expect them to do the best they could and contact me and perhaps follow my intructions over the phone whilst I headed home.

HannahsSister40 Tue 01-Jan-13 17:11:58

Head first, I'm basing it on the fact that I have a 13 year old who wouldn't be allowed to babysit late evenings and definitely not be left alone in a house till 3am. And she's very mature! But I'd hate to give her that level of responsibility at the moment. I was thinking 15/16 we can let her babysit her younger siblings?

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 17:13:04

^ I don't think baby sitting aged 14 has anything to do with minimum wage.

Agree with this completely. Babysitting isn't working; it's sitting and watching telly while helping yourself to nice drinks and snacks.

The parents shouldn't have been late and as they were out so long they should have paid more. But they shouldn't pay twice unless they specifically requested two sitters.

FlipFlopFloss Tue 01-Jan-13 17:17:41

According to the Minimum Wage Scale that blueemerald posted I calculate that for 7 hours work she was underpaid by 76pence.

I do think its wrong the parents took the piss and stayed out longer than agreed and perhaps an extra fiver may have been a kind gesture to make up for this but not obligatory.

I also think that because there was 2 of them they should not expect double or increase in payment unless the parents asked for 2 sitters. It was a "bonus" imo that the sitter was allowed to take along a friend for company.

KobayashiMaru Tue 01-Jan-13 17:20:29

Babysitting isn't working; it's sitting and watching telly while helping yourself to nice drinks and snacks.

True, in theory. But what about all the other possibilities, from the simple baby waking up to the rarer events like sick or injured children? Thats what you pay babysitters for, and there is no way I would leave my children with 14 year olds, especially that I didn't know.

80sMum Tue 01-Jan-13 17:20:48

The minimum wage is £3.68 so it's not far off that. Would have been due £25.76 if employed on minimum wage for the number of hours the parents were absent.

Calabria Tue 01-Jan-13 17:23:11

I only babysat for money a couple of times when I was a teenager.

The one that sticks in my memory was when I was waitressing for the summer. I was asked if I could look after the owners' eight year old daughter for the afternoon and evening as I had the evening off. I didn't mind as I was away from home and didn't really know anyone to go out and about with. So when I finished the lunch shift I went to the owners' house and met the child. I took her swimming (free as in a friend's home pool), kept her entertained, safe, fed and read her two bedtime stories. I went back to my digs when her teenaged brother got home at ten o'clock.

The next evening I was paid by her mother for those seven hours. One pound.

That was 34 years ago and I'm still astonished at their stinginess.

pictish Tue 01-Jan-13 17:24:35

No no no - give the precious darlings double in fact, make it triple!

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 17:26:14

No, I wouldn't use a 14 year-old sitter either, KobayashiMaru, and certainly not until 3 am. Would feel very uncomfortable about having someone I didn't know whose parents I'd never met in my house. I have a couple of older teenagers (nice families, mum and dad in a few streets away etc) that I pay £3 an hour to and they are under strict instructions to check on my son regularly and ring me immediately if anything is amiss, which they do because they are nice sensible people. And one girl who charges £5 an hour but I don't use her much because she's too expensive. I certainly wouldn't swan in at 3 am having left a couple of teenagers, one of whom I didn't know, in charge of my kids.

toobreathless Tue 01-Jan-13 17:26:53

Hannah your 13 year old may not be mature enough but I can assure you I was.

I was babysitting my younger siblings at 12 yrs for short periods.
Babysitting for other children I knew (parents friends/family) by 14
Fully qualified lifeguard by 16 yrs.
Started medical school - one of the youngest in my year at 17
Qualified Dr at 22.

Some kids are mature enough, you know your daughter, why don't you start letting her mind the younger kids for an hour? Or just while your friend comes round for coffee so you can chat in peace? (if she wants to.)

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 17:27:34

Sorry that should say "a couple of young teenagers". Although tbh I wouldn't stay out till 3 am even if it was one of my lovely sensible regular girls.

Lueji Tue 01-Jan-13 17:30:15

Pictish I wish I had an ivory tower.

I mostly rely on relatives if I want to go out in the evening. Or stay in.
Particularly on NYE

The times I have used a baby sitter, even a cat sitter, I have paid normal hourly rates.
If I want the privilege I feel I should pay fair wages.

MargeySimpson Tue 01-Jan-13 17:31:34

that is really stingy. I'd pay a lot more to get a baby sitter on new years eve. Glad my parents cancelled their plans last minute smile

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 17:31:35

I don't. They're not employees and they aren't working.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 01-Jan-13 17:32:38

Anybody under school leaving age is exempt from minimum wage so a under 16 is exempt.

Quick answer
National Minimum Wage rates
Not what you're looking for? ↓
The National Minimum Wage rate per hour depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice - you must be at least school leaving age to get it.

Taen from the top of the minimum wage rates table on that was posted earlier.

A under 16 ( or 16 yo if still formally registered at school) is even exempt from receiving apprentice rates.

5madthings Tue 01-Jan-13 17:33:26

But minimum wage would only have given them an extra 76p as someone has already said.

£25 is perfectly reasonable.

Well 'fair wages' can be negotiated though, surely? My dd has just said that she thinks a fiver for an evening's babysitting is 'fair' but OP's dd thinks £25 is 'unfair.' So long as it's agreed and both parties are content, then I think it's entirely negotiable.

flow4 Tue 01-Jan-13 17:34:51

FlipFlop, the scale points out that the NMW only applies after kids have reached school leaving age.

If parents had to pay a NMW to babysitters, baby sitters would also become liable for tax, and their income from babysitting could be counted as part of the family's income for benefit purposes, which would cause no end of trouble... confused

Also for comparison, note that the JSA rate for a 16-25 year old is £50.95, and that the new 'workfare' schemes require claimants to work 30 hours for that. So... Is everyone who says that 14 year olds should be paid £50 for 7 hours babysitting in favour of a minimum £200 JSA for those on workfare? Remember, some of these claimants have children themselves, so would be excluded from ever going out, since they would have to pay their babysitter more for an evening than they get themselves for a week. hmm

northerngirl41 Tue 01-Jan-13 17:37:21

It depends - did they actually do any childcare or were the kids in bed/capable of putting themselves to bed?

Realistically they didn't need two babysitters, the other one was just keeping the babysitter company and they had the house to themselves to watch what they wanted on TV and to gossip without adult waggling ears for a good few hours, and could go to bed when they wanted if they were staying over.

If, god forbid, something had happened they would most likely have phoned the parents to come back rather than having to deal with it themselves so they weren't being asked to do anything outrageously difficult or skillful.

£25 + TV + presumably they got fed, for essentially being a human baby monitor for a few hours? A good deal.

ravenAK Tue 01-Jan-13 17:42:39

I think a lot depends on the level of responsibility - age/independence of kids, where the parents are, how late, that sort of thing.

I'd happily leave mine with a 14 yo for a few hours whilst I was having a meal/drink locally, & maybe bung them £20-25, fine. (Not on NYE & rolling in at 3am though, that's totally taking the piss IMO.)

But we're often miles away & would be unable to get back in a rush, & it's usually a very late night, so I'm more comfortable paying a sensible wage to an adult. Our usual lass is finishing a medical degree this year & volunteers in a Peruvian orphanage in the holidays - frankly in an emergency she's a damn sight more qualified to cope than me or dh! grin.

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Tue 01-Jan-13 17:47:34

I got more than that 20 odd years ago. I expected a big premium for NYE and an increased rate after midnight.

^Babysitting isn't working; it's sitting and watching telly while helping yourself to nice drinks and snacks.

True, in theory. But what about all the other possibilities, from the simple baby waking up to the rarer events like sick or injured children? Thats what you pay babysitters for, and there is no way I would leave my children with 14 year olds, especially that I didn't know.^

This ^. It's not about what happens. You're paying for what ^could happen. People give babysitters crap money because they can. And i'm a long-time babysitter, did it for years. and i'm poor. But I can still see that you don't take advantage of people just because of their age.

Don't know wtf happened to my bolding, italicing etc there hmm

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Tue 01-Jan-13 17:49:55

it is £5 per hour here for bbysitting
we went to a Christmas party a few weeks ago, babysitter 7.30 till midnight and we gave her £25

if we had been out till 3am we would have given her £50 (a bit more than £5 per hour to cover the lateness of the hour)

hermioneweasley Tue 01-Jan-13 17:58:28

I think it depends on whether they had to do any work putting kids to bed and whether they asked for 2 babysitters.

If the kids were in bed and she just had her mate around then I think it's an easy £25.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 18:11:10

The DDs babysat from the age of 12, until all hours, and with multiple children. They normally came home with at least a tenner an hour and that was no matter how many children there were. One family they looked after (they passed the job on down through my family) had 6 children (5 when DD1 started babysitting for them). I would like to add here that feeding, entertaining and wrangling 5 or 6 children into bed is work. The DDs kept going because those parents were out a lot and the income was steady, plus they knew masses of other parents thanks to having children in every class in the school almost, and the DDs often got referrals to other jobs through them. They looked on that job as an investment.

Other families tended to have 3 at the most. Majority of families had 2 children. People paid the going rate for the area rather than negotiating a rate with my DDs based on number of children, years of experience, etc. If parents were going out they knew how much to factor in for the babysitter and planned accordingly. The DDs knew what the going rate was as their friends were all babysitting too.

The way to tell parents that they pay too little is to not be available when they next call. OP your DD was taken advantage of.

shewhowines Tue 01-Jan-13 18:15:07

And we wonder why the work ethic is deteriorating in this country. They are children being given an opportunity to earn a few quid.

They are not adults.
They are not being asked to do any ACTUAL work - (different if they did have to entertain/put to bed young kids)

Is there outrage at kids not being given minimum wage for earning their pocket money? No, because they are children.

This is another example of entitlement to "what is right". What's wrong with teenagers being happy to be given the opportunity to earn a few quid for basically doing nothing.

Let's hope that these kids with such a sense of entitlement never have to actually earn their money by calling an ambulance/fire brigade/stopping child from choking etc. That's what you're actually paying them for.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 18:23:22

The work ethic depends partly on teens being able to see an actual return on their work. My DDs made a small fortune babysitting and it whetted their appetite for more work. None of them has been out of a job during school or on school holidays since they were 12. From 12 to 16 they did mother's helping in summer and babysitting throughout the year. From 16 on they did office jobs in summer plus babysitting all year. They know what money is. I don't pay pocket money. What they earn is all they have to spend on themselves, or save.

If you want your children taken care of for the night then you need to pay the right rate. If you hired professional adults to do it then you would pay the professional adult rate. Just because it's teens doesn't mean you can pay a comedy figure. The children were taken care of; services were delivered. Pay up or you won't find the teens available next time. Teens can expect to learn more from the babysitting experience than just how to be grateful for a few quid thrown at them, including how the market for a given service works. There's more to work than work ethic. There's knowing when you are being taken for a ride and evaluating if it is worth it. Great skill to acquire, valuing your services accurately.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 18:23:36

It's pretty damn unlikely though, isn't it? Or are you saying that, as with all insurance arrangements, it's right that it's a rip-off?

how the hell is it a rip off? Don't be so ridiculous.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 18:27:13

Well, mathanxiety, I must be doing something right because the babysitters I use are more than happy to come here for what I pay them. And the one who put her fees up to £5 an hour has fewer parents asking for her now, as do other ones who raised their rates similarly. Round here a qualified childminder gets £3.50 per hour. I think that for a teenager to ask for more than that, especially when usually the kids are already in bed and settled by the time they start 'work' (ie watching telly) is a bit of a piss-take.

zipzap Tue 01-Jan-13 18:28:03

For me the big issue would be that they came back 3 hours later than they saId they would. 10 minutes is neither here nor there, 30 mins is beginning to push it, 3 hours is not on. You haven't said if the parents rang to let them know they were going to be late which would have made a bit of a difference. You also Didn't mention how they were supposed to get home.

If they rang up at 10 past midnight and said we're going to be home in3 hours so go to bed that's very different to them not calling and leaving them hanging waiting, not knowing if they were late or had been in an accident. And also it can have knock on effects if the parents of the 14 year olds' were waiting up for them to return or to pick them up etc. Also one thing if you are siting waiting for parents to stay awake to just past midnight - much more difficult to stay awake indefinitely if you don't know where the parents are and are expecting them back any moment. And unfair too as most people can cope the next day having been awake to midnight, but if the 14 year old's were supposed to be doing things with their families or friends on new years day, they would be sruggling to be awake in time or stay awake during the day...

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 18:29:50

Oh yes and the girl who now charges £5 an hour was sitting for a friend of mine and the friend came home (at around 10.30 so not particularly late) to find her asleep on the frigging sofa. Work ethic my arse.

blueemerald Tue 01-Jan-13 18:32:17

With all services (babysitting, cleaning, ironing etc) I really believe you get what you pay for. No one worth their salt is going back to a family that pays £3/4 an hour. They (in London at least) can get babysitting jobs that pay £7-10 an hour easily if they have any sort of experience.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 18:34:56

I think as another poster pointed out up-thread, the going rate varies considerably on where you are. Here, £3 an hour is more than acceptable - one of the girls who sits for me earns less than that with at least one of the families she sits for.

Also, I kind of resent your implication that I hire crap babysitters!

blueemerald Tue 01-Jan-13 18:36:52

That's why I said "in London at least".... I assumed it could be taken as read that it depends on area.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 18:39:41

You said 'no one worth their salt' would accept what I pay my babysitters, and explicitly gave as your example what I paid them.

JustFabulous Tue 01-Jan-13 18:41:05

Did you daughter ask for £25 or did they decide how much to pay her?

McNewPants2013 Tue 01-Jan-13 18:44:11

At 14 if i got paid £25 babysitting i would have thought i won the lottery.

I used to get paid £10 for 3 kids, but they was in bed and the women would cook me a lovely dinner and she had sky tv smile

Nancy66 Tue 01-Jan-13 18:45:28

for 7 hours babysitting it's not enough - regardlesss of age or location.

MerylStrop Tue 01-Jan-13 18:46:17

I'd have thought £30 would have been fine
£25 is a bit tight
Were there any perks? - pizza? chocolate?
But yep, should have been agreed in advance

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 18:49:18

Wallison, those fiver an hour wannabes are no doubt learning to value their services accurately. The going rate for any given area is usually what the lowest paid but still responsible babysitter accepts. However, there will always be parents who are willing to pay a bit more for various reasons. If the higher priced teens are still in business they are getting their fiver an hour somewhere. Someone is willing to pay that.

Blueemerald -- yes, you do get what you pay for, and teens who are good and conscientious, leave everything clean and tidy, get everyone to bed and tucked in happily, with teeth brushed and bottoms wiped and bathroom left fit for the next person to use earn both repeat business and a decent rate. Teens who know they can count on a reasonable rate for what they do and want more business are inclined to go the extra mile.

Seven hours for £12.50 works out at very little per hour, and it's not 'being paid to do nothing' either -- if you are in someone's house and bound to stay there until someone returns from a night out then you can't be anywhere else, either doing nothing or earning more elsewhere. It is understood that with babysitting you are being paid for your time and an professional adult caregiver on New Years Eve would make that clear to parents.

blueemerald Tue 01-Jan-13 18:49:41

Ok, Wallison, to me it is obvious that's not what I meant, I was quoting the rate the OP's dd was paid, as that's what this thread is about, not your arrangement. I live/grew up in London so can only speak for the situation I see there.

nannyof3 Tue 01-Jan-13 18:50:10

Tight bastards !!!! They knew they had a good deal...

Dont understand how anyone can leave children with a child..
Would they know what to do if the child started vomiting?
Stopped breathing?
High temp?
Night terrors?
Sleep walking?
If the electric went out?
If there was a fire?
Someone broke in?
A gas leak?
A burst water pipe?

exoticfruits Tue 01-Jan-13 18:57:44

In future they need to negotiate the money before they sit.

cocoachannel Tue 01-Jan-13 18:57:47

I suppose it's dependent on how far away they, or another adult was. DSis and I used to babysit at this age, but in our road so our parents were moments away.

I think £25 is only acceptable if the children were asleep on their arrival, they were provided party food or pizza, and they had the option of going to bed as staying over. Afterall, all being well they would have had a fun night together seeing in the new year.

Presumably the couple know your DD's friend's parents well - what do they think?

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 19:03:12

^Wallison, those fiver an hour wannabes are no doubt learning to value their services accurately.

Well, they aren't, because there are fewer and fewer people who want to book them now. Especially now word has got out about the 'falling asleep on the sofa' incident. Meanwhile, the other girls that I use are in demand. And they are good sitters - I wouldn't leave my child with anyone who wasn't.

It's just not right for this area; if a qualified childminder with say 10 years' experience looking after children gets £3.50 an hour, it stands to reason that a teenager shouldn't be getting £1.50 an hour more than that.

ssd Tue 01-Jan-13 19:03:44

am I the only one here who wouldnt dream of asking a 14 yr old to babysit till 3am???

to me a 14 yr old needs a babysitter, what if something goes wrong....

actually sorry nannyof3, just read you feel the same as me

and BTW I have a 14 yr old and I work as a babysitter, so I do know exactly what I'm talking about

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 19:07:31

Mine all would have. They regularly mopped up vomit and accidents, changed nappies, changed bedding, found clean pajamas and sheets, rinsed puke out of bedding so parents wouldn't find it all dried in in the morning, comforted children with night terrors and redirected sleepwalkers back to bed. They took temperatures, and administered ABs if asked to give a dose. They did Red Cross first aid courses and had certs for various emergencies including choking babies and small children, fire evacuation, gas leaks. They knew how to deal with household emergencies and all the parents who hired them know the DDs would call me immediately if they had an emergency that was too much for them. They have all had their own phones from an early age. I never let them babysit unless I was going to be home and available for the duration when they were 12 - 14ish. After that I felt they could handle whatever the night threw at them and so did all their customers.

yousmell Tue 01-Jan-13 19:10:49

Should be about 5 per hour but a little more on new years eve. Maybe 6 per hour.

When did the kids go to bed? If they had to do any baths/stories/tea etc then both girls should be paid hourly.

I take it one girl was there to just keep the other girl company?

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 19:14:13

Wallison, are you able to get a qualified CM for night babysitting for £3.50 an hour? If yes then the teens will have to trim their sails. If no, then the exigencies of the situation may well make a higher rate necessary one day. A given area will have its own acceptable rate but that rate tends to rise even if the rise is small or gradual. I suspect once it gets out that teens are asking £5 an hour the CMs are going to start looking for more.

ChristmasJubilee Tue 01-Jan-13 19:14:44

I wouldn't leave a 14 year old to babysit. I have left ds's (16, 14 and 5) whilst I went to a friends house for a meal but I would not leave them past 11.30 and the 5 year old was sleeping before I went out.

I think £25 is perfectly fine.

ssd Tue 01-Jan-13 19:15:38

sure they would mathanxiety, sure they would

they sound the most perfect 14 yr olds ever


mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 19:19:52

Piss off Ssd.
You don't know them.

My four DDs are fantastic babysitters. They have made small fortunes babysitting at least three times a week, year round, for families who have called them for years (and have passed down certain families as they moved on to university). They have bought laptops, clothes, shoes, paid for school trips to France and concerts all over the place, without me shelling out a penny.

I make them do chores at home and take responsibility there so it is not difficult for them to do the same and get paid for it elsewhere.

TaggieCampbellBlack Tue 01-Jan-13 19:22:32

If I had known it was till 3am I'd have stopped her doing it. The plan was untill 12.30 then pick up be friends mother. The parents changed the plan during the night.
Both DD and friend have done babysitting course at school (with first aid) and are sensible but shouldn't have been left for such a length. Had I known at the time I'd have worried even more. As it is I need to lay out more rules for future babysitting duties.
Still think it's stingy.

pigletmania Tue 01-Jan-13 19:23:23

Pcish no it's not, it's rubbish fr NYE, it's pretty dame stingy. Are you that woman that op dd babysit for!

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 01-Jan-13 19:23:29

I live in two areas the going rate for registered child minders in one area is £3.50 an hour for the first child and significant sibling discounts for other children. The other area is about 2.25 an hour for each child with a sibling discount for third and subsequent siblings.

pigletmania Tue 01-Jan-13 19:24:21

They took the piss, next time your dd has to agree a price beforehand

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 01-Jan-13 19:28:00

Posted to soon but in both areas I have used a cm for overnighters.

But I compleatly agree that its taking the piss to come back so late without prior agreement.

LovesBeingAtHomeForChristmas Tue 01-Jan-13 19:29:42

A hard first lesson in business - always agree a price first!

Northernlebkuchen Tue 01-Jan-13 19:29:47

My 14 yr old very competently babysits. She is an oldest child raised by us to be independant, capable and responsible. Like Mathanxiety we are always in and available if she should need advice.

I agree with the OP £25 is stingy for two babysitters doing 7 hours each!

MsElleTow Tue 01-Jan-13 19:29:51

DS2(16) just said he would have done it for £25!

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 19:30:53

Gosh, your Dd's babysitting days were full of incidents, weren't they? I wonder that the parents managed to get out of the house at all with all of their pukey incontinent unwell medicated-up children. hmm

Anyway, it definitely isn't the case that you get what you pay for. Neither of my £3 an hour babysitters has ever fallen asleep on the sofa. I think maybe parents want to lull themselves into a false sense of security by paying more and thinking they're getting more.

Kudos to you math for preparing your DC so well. We pay our teenager sitter about 25quid for an evening 6.30-10.30ish, if we are closer to midnight we'll up it to 35quid. Also provide snacks and drinks and a pizza if they haven't had dinner yet. We used to have 3 sisters who came together they had to split the money, we now have a sensible 14yo whose parents live quite nearby and I'm pleased to see is taking a first aid course this weekend.

For NYE we would definitely pay more, it's a one off special. Although we don't stay out past midnight as our DC are small. We had a work party a couple of weeks ago and managed to wrangle adult friends of ours to stay overnight with them, I would not have left a teenager in charge in those circumstances.

ravenAK Tue 01-Jan-13 19:33:16

'It's just not right for this area; if a qualified childminder with say 10 years' experience looking after children gets £3.50 an hour, it stands to reason that a teenager shouldn't be getting £1.50 an hour more than that.'

The comparison with CMing doesn't actually hold water, Wallison.

I used to pay my CM £3.50/hour too. With 3dc, that was £10.50/hour, assuming she didn't have any other mindees that day!

I pay my babysitter c. £6/hour to be responsible for the same 3 dc, so it's actually a much lower hourly rate, reflecting the fact that there's less active childcare involved - but the same level of 'in loco parentis'.

blondefriend Tue 01-Jan-13 19:36:24

It wasn't an evening's sitting - it was practically the whole night! YANBU but it is one of those lessons that a 14 year old needs to learn - she won't make that mistake again.

On another note - where do you live? She and her friend sound like perfect, very responsible young ladies. I'll pay them £25 for a lot less than that. smile

izzyhasanewchangeling Tue 01-Jan-13 19:36:24

Gosh, my baby sitter is a family friend, I used to pay her £10 a night at 16, plus a bottle of wine, and I struggled to get her to accept that - she wanted to do it for free.

She is also allowed to have all her friends over, have a pizza - she loved having the free run of the house and saw it as a bonus having a tenner for the night as well.

Nowadays, she does baby sit for free, but DH or I act as a taxi service for her so she can go out with her friends from uni and still get home safely (20 miles in a taxi).

If we had had to pay £25 to go out, we would never have gone, we aim to spend less than that for a whole evening.

AnnaRack Tue 01-Jan-13 19:40:17

This is wrong on so many levels
Children left in care of 14 yr olds
Parents back 3 hours late
£25 for 2 people for 7 hours work
All wrong

Definitely not the done thing OP.

FWIW I pay my babysitters £7.50 an hour, usually rounded up to the nearest tenner + they are more than welcome to eat whatever they can lay their hands on.

They also get a taxi back home if its after 10.30pm as the bus a) stops at 11.15 and b) from approx 10pm onwards is a little interesting and most definitely not the kind of thing I'd want young people on alone

As an aside, I once charged, and received £50 AN HOUR!!! for a NYE babysit, but this did involve putting the 3 children to bed and watching the parents roll in steaming drunk at 4am. Vvvvvvvvv affluent family though

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 19:48:58

Gosh, your Dd's babysitting days were full of incidents, weren't they? I wonder that the parents managed to get out of the house at all with all of their pukey incontinent unwell medicated-up children.

The family they have all done the most mopping up for had their 6 children at most 18 months apart. (Actually they have now had a 7th, with a few years of a gap to the next oldest.)
(1) If you have 5 or 6 pukey, leaky children you are going to want to get away from it all frequently and if you can afford it why not?
(2) If you have 5 or 6 children you are not going to have any sort of life for yourself at all if you have to wait until they are all hale and healthy before arranging your nights out. D&V bugs or ear infections were part of normal life for them for years.

I have 5 DCs and don't see normal illness or bathroom accidents as much of a big deal and at this stage the DCs see it all as a day's work too. As long as there are paper towels and rubber gloves, you get on with it.

It all feels a bit wrong to me too, to be honest - I can't imagine letting 14 year old girls stay over at someone's house when the someone is not personally known to the parents. I also feel that 3am is too late to be coming home when the babysitters are so young - whether they are asleep or not. As for the rate, well, it does sound low to be honest but it all depends on what was agreed beforehand and what the relationship is. If I asked my niece to babysit and provided food, drinks, internet, TV, said bring a friend, I might expect to pay less than if I got a CRB qualified sitter from an agency. However I'm also of the "never going out" camp - too bloody expensive!

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 19:51:55

When my son is sick, I don't go out. If I have plans, I cancel them. I thought most parents thought like this?

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 19:59:03

Are you the parent of one child or more than one?

You would not get out when there's an R in the month if you had several small children and waited for them to all be well before finalising plans.

I think children in larger families are more used to being part of a little tribe than those in smaller families; they are still surrounded by lots of familiar faces even when mum and dad are out on a date.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 20:06:38

Finalising plans is one thing - you just have to take it on trust that your kids will be well. But if they're actually unwell when you're going out, I think that's quite another; children shouldn't be left with babysitters when they're actually puking or shitting all over the place, or if they need medicine. And if you miss out on a night out or on a commitment you've made then that's just the way it goes sometimes; I'd much rather that than have a child who is sick be without their parents. Those parents wouldn't have been able to foist their sick kids onto nursery or childminder so they could go to work, which is far more important than going to the frigging pub.

flow4 Tue 01-Jan-13 20:13:37

It's not a moral issue imo, it's a socio-economic one. And there's nothing like a thread like this for reminding us what a divided nation we are. hmm

If you earn £50 or £100 per hour, or more, then of course you will think nothing of paying a sitter 50 quid for the night. But if you earn less than that yourself - or you're a JSA claimant on 50 quid a week - then it is an impossible fortune.

Nancy66 Tue 01-Jan-13 20:17:34

I wouldn't leave a pair of 14 year olds to babysit either.

My 16 year old niece and her pal babysat for a neighbour earlier this year - the pair of them got legless on a combination of vodka, red wine and brandy! They threw up everywhere.

It cost my sister about £100 to pay for the carpet and sofa covers to be cleaned !

DowagersHump Tue 01-Jan-13 20:23:22

No they shouldn't Wallison. But given this pair arrived home 3 hours later than they told their sitter, they don't seem to be particularly concerned about other people and their needs really.

I totally agree with mathanxiety's posts.

I think it's a shockingly poor amount of money to pay someone for looking after your children, however old they are. You're paying someone to be there in case the worse happens. If nothing's going to happen, why bother to have anyone there at all?

And I spit on the arguments about 'well I wouldn't be able to go out if it cost [a reasonable sum to pay another human being to look after the most precious people in my life]. Well tough!

I'm a single parent. I haven't been out on NYE since I had a child and I go out about 6 times a year in the evenings. It's not really such a terrible thing. I factor in the cost of childcare like I do when I do anything else. Save up maybe?

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 01-Jan-13 20:30:46

I think that as they got about 3 hrs free babysitting they are really stingy.

FlipFlopFloss Tue 01-Jan-13 20:34:22

Max - I may be wrong but I am sure if your children are receiving such items as lap tops etc as well as payment and other "gifts" as payment for babysitting then they may be over their tax free allowance, and may be due to pay tax. I understand there is an allwance for kids much the same as adults but most kids rarely go over the allowance so never pay tax. Your DC sound like they have quite an affluent thing going with their babysitting so perhaps you ought to check it out.

DowagersHump Tue 01-Jan-13 20:40:14

Flipflop - math (not Max) means that they have used the money they have earned to buy laptops, not that they've been given them grin

DrCoconut Tue 01-Jan-13 20:46:26

I used to get £20 for a normal night's babysitting for 2 kids when I was 18 (so it was 1995). £25 for NYE is probably low, or else I was very well paid!

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 20:49:48

A course of ABS is ten days normally. If your family has ear infections frequently then you are looking at weeks on end without getting out.

'Puking or shitting all over the place' is a bit of an exaggeration -- babies and toddlers wear nappies, which need changing. Small children who are just out of nappies sometimes have an accident. Small children sometimes develop a high temp or need some of their average ten day course of ABs administered in the evening before bed, which would happen if they were with a CM or in a nursery too, or with an au pair or nanny. I don't know anyone who can take ten days off just because their child has to take ABs, and that would be a ridiculous peoposition if your family was large and prone to ear infections.

Where babysitting is concerned, an ear infection that is being treated with ABs is very unlikely to cause any problems on day 4 or 5 or 6 of treatment and the DC who has it will probably be feeling quite well. Normal common or garden illnesses, the kind that afflict babies and small children regularly, are predictable and treatable and generally have no side effects, and with a competent babysitter who maintains order and is caring and kind, a child will be fine if parents are out for the evening.

Again, having a larger than average family can change your perspective, and give you an actual need to get out or it can all get very wearing. A refreshed mum who has had the chance to get out to her book group or a dad who gets out with his bowling team weekly will possibly have more energy to tackle family ups and downs for the next week. And the children themselves are often able to feel more secure in their large group than one or two children might be.

Apart from that one large family, my DDs generally babysit for families that have at most 3 children, and report that the smaller-family children are sometimes a bit more demanding/less well able to play together without squabbling, less well able to do things like bringing their plates to the dishwasher and co-operate with picking up toys, less aware of where things like more loo roll might be stored if they run out, or (memorably) where the plunger might be, and far more dependent on a long and complicated bedtime routine to get them to bed.

Flow, If you can afford to go out for a night and presumably spend a bit on yourself then you should be able to afford a fair amount for care for your children when you do so. Otherwise you need to rethink your budget for going out.

It's a pity to tar all teens with the same brush Nancy. You have encountered some spectacularly poor examples. shock

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 20:57:32

Yes, yes, I'm sure that your large family is superior to all of the small families out there.

But still. Parents who leave their children in the charge of babysitters when nurseries or childminders won't take them are irresponsible. If you want to let your children be a part of that, then [shrug] it's up to you.

lustybusty Tue 01-Jan-13 21:22:01

I think I used to get about £20 at the age of 14 (13 years ago). Typically 6pm-12pm on a Friday whilst kids mum was at work. Started when the three kids were 4, 2 and 6months. They would be fed and usually in the bath when I arrived, i was responsible for teeth cleaned, pjs, a bit of play, story and bed, giving the little ones bottles too (including making them). I'd often change the 2yo bed (told not necessary, but if, when I checked them about 10pm he was wet, I'd change him - who wouldn't?!) and change baby's nappies. i had a sleeping bag on sofa, bit if I was awake when lady came home, I'd go home (next door). Having said all that, mum wouldn't leave me and my younger brother alone till we were about 17&12, and she still didn't like that (we fought, until we were about 26/21, so last year!!). As for the 16 year olds getting drunk, well obviously not responsible enough to be left!!

LuluMai Tue 01-Jan-13 21:25:08

I give my 16 y o niece a flat 20 quid for looking after ds, age six. Time I get back can vary any time between 11 and about 4. We're both happy with the arrangement. She always stays over night.

SecretNutellaFix Tue 01-Jan-13 21:27:24

I was paid that for 5 hours babysitting when I was a teenager 15 years ago!

I did a New years eve and was required to stay until 2, I was paid £50.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 21:33:18

And yes flow I agree that thread like this show up socio-economic differences. The parents who think that spunking £50 on babysitting fees is a reasonable thing to do very likely do not earn minimum wage themselves, or know anyone who does.

MerylStrop Tue 01-Jan-13 21:37:38

Well it was never realistically going to be 12.30 on NYE, was it?
But vv bad form of parents to be 3 hours late/change plan during the evening.

flow4 Tue 01-Jan-13 21:37:59

You sound terribly smug and self-satisfied, math. hmm grin

I am lucky enough not to have had to pay a penny for childcare for about ten years; but I haven't lost sight of reality: if a parent earns £6/hr themselves (before tax), then paying a 14 year old £10/hr (tax free) is impossible as well as ridiculous.

Fortunately for them, in areas where many families live on low incomes, there are plenty of teenagers (including some splendidly competent and caring ones) who don't expect babysitting to pay them twice as much as their parents earn, or three times what they'll earn themselves when they leave school.

ravenAK Tue 01-Jan-13 21:39:41

Another false comparison there - CMs & nurseries don't take kids with lurgies because they give the lurgies to other mindees.

A slightly under the weather child being looked after capably in their own home by a sensible babysitter doesn't strike me as irresponsible. I'm with mathanxiety on this one.

Besides, Ralph quite often comes to call when least expected; I've left happy, full of beans dc before now & arrived home to a haggard babysitter putting the washing machine on for the fourth time that night...

I'm a bit bemused here by the need to start bandying random accusations of irresponsibility around over someone else's child's minor ailment.

LuluMai Tue 01-Jan-13 21:42:13

I used to babysit for free btw at 16 for the very niece who babysits for me now! I did is for free cause my sister, he's mum, was skint and she's family. Some people might think what I pay her is low but my My niece is family, I cook tea, breakfast and dinner for her the next day. I leave her and ds a tenner extra to get goodies from the shop. She has free run of the house, internet, telly, DVDs. Ds is very well behaved, all she has to do is make him some cereal for supper. They have a lot of fun watching films or playing on his xbox. My cousin and his partner live right next door in case of emergency. She does very well out of it imo!

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 21:43:52

If a child is puking or shitting then it's not a 'slightly under the weather' child. I would be horrified if my son's babysitter had done four loads of washing without phoning me and telling me that he'd been sick; I've always made it perfectly clear that if he's ill then they ring me straightaway and I come home. (This has never happened, as it goes.) I'm really quite perturbed that other people leave their sick children in the charge of teenagers - I don't know anyone in real life who does this.

DowagersHump Tue 01-Jan-13 21:44:22

Oh bullshit Wallison and Flow - last year I was living on income support. And guess what - I didn't go out on NYE and I still don't now because it's too expensive.

I'd rather not go out that exploit someone. Having a low income doesn't give you carte blanche to underpay someone else

BumBiscuits Tue 01-Jan-13 21:44:45

I used to babysit for a 3 and 5 year old for £5 for the whole evening, plus crisps and wine at age 16. I'd get to bring a friend/boyfriend but they'd get nothing unless you count a share of the wine/crisps. I'd stay over as the mum and dad wouldn't come in til all hours.

When my friend and I were 14/15 we were asked by my friends mum to help out her cousin who owned a large guest house. The cleaner was off so the pair of us went and cleaned 7 or 8 rooms, changing sheets and towels, cleaning en suites and hoovering, the works. We were there most of the day from about 8am. We got a slice of chocolate cake and a cup of tea each for our troubles.

My mate's mum was mortified and paid us herself (probably a fiver each).

BumBiscuits Tue 01-Jan-13 21:46:54

Er my point is £25 is on the low side, but okay.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 21:48:17

I'm not exploiting my babysitters though! They're quite happy to come and sit for me. Mind, that's probably because I don't expect them to clean up shit and puke because you know what, that's my job as a parent.

ravenAK Tue 01-Jan-13 21:49:45

'who think that spunking £50 on babysitting fees is a reasonable thing to do very likely do not earn minimum wage themselves, or know anyone who does'

I earned NMW for quite some years, actually, & know lots of people who still do.

Dh & I prioritise paying our sitter because dh is a busy live musician & our social life revolves around travelling to gigs - it's what we do, maybe once a month, instead of holidays or meals out.

I absolutely agree that we're lucky to be able to 'spunk' money on that & not then have to worry where the next meal's coming from, but I'm surprised by the level of hostility towards that choice from a couple of posters; it just wouldn't occur to me to react like that to anyone else's football tickets or week at Center Parcs or whatever.

SminkoPinko Tue 01-Jan-13 21:53:08

Getting in at 3am when you have 2 14 year olds babysitting is seriously shit. And £1.70 per hour is really mean.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 21:53:39

I think, raven, that it's the implication that anyone who pays less than £50 for a babysitter is somehow selling their children short or doesn't love them enough or whatever that makes some posters hostile. Including me.

ravenAK Tue 01-Jan-13 21:54:05

Ah there's the difference Wallison!

My sitter is quite happy to take any unexpected Exorcist moments in her stride. She can't call me to come home - well, she could, but I'll probably be two hours' drive away & dh will be onstage, so not much use.

Which is why I wouldn't expect to get away with paying a 14 year old £3/hour - I need someone who can be fully in loco parentis.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 21:55:30

It's not £1.70 an hour though, SminkoPinko - it's actually just 76p short in total of minimum wage for that age group. Sure, it's being split between two people, but unless the parents had specifically asked for two people then the fact that the money is being split doesn't come into it.

SminkoPinko Tue 01-Jan-13 21:59:41

I was assuming they were both babysitting, Wallison. I guess you're right though that only one of them might have been hired but had invited a frind along. I guess it all depends a lot on what was agreed in advance.

ravenAK Tue 01-Jan-13 21:59:59

Well, I'm sorry if you got that impression Wallison (endless x-posts).

FWIW, I think (& have said) £20 or £3/hour or whatever is fine for a teenager to watch telly & ring you at the first sign of illness etc, & for you to be able to dash home from a local night out.

It's not selling your children short at all if that's the circumstances. Perfectly sensible.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 22:02:11

Fair enough, Raven. I never stray that far from home these days, so it would probably take me say 20 mins max to get back there. And yes I know I know if the house was burning down or whatever then a lot can happen in 20 mins, but I'm quite happy that the lovely sensible girls who sit for me can call me and I'll be there soon enough, or if the situation warrants it can call their parents who are a couple of streets away.

DowagersHump Tue 01-Jan-13 22:02:39

But noone gets paid NMW for working late early hours of a bank holiday! You always get paid more for working nights/BHs which is why people do them. I agree that they shouldn't get paid double for doubling up (unless the parents specifically asked for them to be a twosome).

And you always pay extra for everything on NYE (cabs, clubs, everything) because it's NYE. Babysitters are the same. Or they should be.

5madthings Tue 01-Jan-13 22:09:36

No you dont always get paid extra for nights, lates, weekends and bank holidays. My dp works in a childrens home and gets no extra. He worked xmas eve,xmas day and boxing day this year, no extra pay. There are plenty if jobs where you dont get extra for bank holidays etc.

£50+ is a lot as a tern i babysat and never got more than £2 an hour which was fine it topped up my paper round money etc.

I think.its shit the parents didnt get in at the time they had said but £25 is ok for a nights babysitting.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 22:11:08

Another x-post. Thank you for clarifying, raven! I was beginning to think I was in a parallel universe or something!

DowagersHump, thing is, if you are living in an area where most people are paid minimum wage, where you yourself are paid minimum wage indeed, then babysitters should expect to be paid rather a lot less than that.

DowagersHump Tue 01-Jan-13 22:24:26

Wallison - I live in an area of the UK which has v high levels of unemployment. I still won't pay NMW or under for looking after my children because I don't think that's a NMW responsibility. I really hate the fact that childcare is so horribly underpaid and so under-respected in this country. It's really wrong.

Wallison Tue 01-Jan-13 22:27:08

Well, good for you Dowagers. Hope you continue to enjoy your 6 nights out a year!

5madthings Tue 01-Jan-13 22:27:29

Btw i would not leave a poorly child with a babysitter and if a chikd became ill.or upset i would expect to be called and i eould return home.

raven i think your situation is slightly diffetent as you say you are.unable to retutn home and you are expecting more to be done ie dinner etc. So rightly you pay more.

I swop babysitting with a friend and we just privide food/transport and we have a closr family friend who babysits in return for a meal and transport and we pay him back in other ways.

nicefleece Tue 01-Jan-13 22:27:45

£35-40 .
Simple innit.

Dromedary Tue 01-Jan-13 22:53:30

Weird that so many people expect children to be paid the same as adults. And have so much money to throw around.
To a 14 year old £25 (non-taxable) is a LOT of money. And baby-sitting is about the easiest job you can think of. Good fun too being in someone else's house for a change.
If I didn't have DCs to look after I would be out baby-sitting myself - unless the children are difficult it's money for old rope.
If teenagers charge the same as adults people will employ adults, simple as that. There are very few jobs that a 14 year old is legally allowed to do - so best not to price themselves out of the market.

pictish Tue 01-Jan-13 23:03:35

£25 quid for babysitting at age 14 is fine.
Don't make me <gavel> now!

Yellowtip Tue 01-Jan-13 23:19:16

Massively stingy between the two of them and very inconsiderate parents. I'd blacklist them for my DC immediately, however much they grovelled on a subsequent occasion. But I'm a hardliner when it comes to babysitting etiquette. If parents don't pay a reasonable amount and get back roughly when they agree and don't see the DC in question home safely then they don't ever get the DC again.

5madthings Tue 01-Jan-13 23:31:36

But the parents didnt want two babysitters. The tedns arranged for one to keep the other one compamy so the parents shouldnt have to pay both teens. If the parents requested both terns were there then yes they should pay both if them.

I would also provide a taxi/transport for a babysittet to get home.

For one teen £25 is fine and as orhers have said its only 79pence less tgan minimum wage for the hours worked. £25 and i presume snacks,transport for a nights babysittung for kids who were already in bed is perfectly reasonable.

BoneyBackJefferson Wed 02-Jan-13 00:03:15

£5 ph
7 hrs

extra £5 for fucking them over on the time

£40 total

Bessie123 Wed 02-Jan-13 00:10:56

I pay £7 an hour to student babysitter and £10 an hour to qualified nursery worker babysitter, plus taxi home if back after 11. If you want to go out and have no babysitting costs, don't have kids.

£25 for 2 teenagers for that length of time is stingy and horrible.

expatinscotland Wed 02-Jan-13 00:21:22

WAY stingy. My child would never sit for them again.

mathanxiety Wed 02-Jan-13 00:39:32

DowagersHump -- I agree -- people who can't afford childcare can't afford to go out. Nobody owes anyone free or practically free childcare.

If any of my DDs' customers are paying for babysitting they are paying for full service and a guaranteed night out for themselves. Most of them would wonder what sort of mistake they had made in choosing a sitter if they were called home because a child had thrown up or had a bathroom accident or got upset. A bona fide emergency -- yes, but something that could be handled easily using household cleaner, paper towels and a bowl to puke in - most customers would think that was a bit much. The DDs prepare and serve dinner to most of the families they are babysitting (often something simple like peas and spaghetti or warmed up frozen meatballs, etc., or just pizza), clean up, supervise playtime and then cleaning up of toys and clothes and then bedtime. They are always told where the washing machine is in case something needs to be thrown in, where the bin is, how to use the oven and microwave and bottle warmer, where supplies like the nappies and the nappy bucket are. They are expected to leave the house in decent condition. After they've done all that they generally do homework.

The DDs are there to do what a parent would do and are paid accordingly. Teenagers are capable of handling a lot, and children are a bit more resilient than a few posters here give them credit for. Many teenagers are parents themselves and deal with all the mess that babies and toddlers generate all day every day.

DS has also managed to buy himself a laptop, clothes, shoes, trips to concerts and sports events. He set himself up doing odd jobs, beginning with a steady job for an elderly couple who referred them to all their friends and branching out from there. He made more per hour even as a novice (asking me for advice on stripping and painting a rusty garden gate) than the girls did after a lot of experience. He also got more per hour for his summer office job (in a law office, same sort of job as the DDs had, but different firm). I'm not saying this out of smugness but to agree with Dowager that work that girls do is underpaid and to suggest that we shouldn't be contributing to this inequity.

£12.50 for 7 hours work (8pm to 3am the next morning) is a rate of approximately £1.79/hour. Is that how low you value the services you perform for your children? Not talking about the mother/child bond or the lifetime of unconditional love here, just the sheer work you do. Childcare is horribly undervalued but this is ridiculous. What message does this give future mothers about their status in society?

ravenAK Wed 02-Jan-13 01:05:25

Not entirely fair, math - if it is clearly understood by all parties that babysitting = 'being a human baby alarm who does no active childcare & phones parents, who are out locally, in case of a problem' then it's perfectly reasonable for it to be £25 for an evening.

The 3 hours late is unacceptable I think, & at the very least parents should have rung straight after midnight ('all quiet? Great, you girls get yourselves to bed, we're going to be late so don't wait up') & I'd certainly have assumed another 3 hours pay & called it £40 at that point.

But I'm actually a bit perturbed that you are suggesting that this has anything much to do with 'future mothers' & their status in society. Why not 'future parents'? Why does babysitting have to be a job for girls, & why would anyone equate it with parenting, anyway?

SoggySummer Wed 02-Jan-13 01:11:34

The fact 2 of them babysat - was that a request by the parents?? Did they book 2 sitters??? Or did babysitter decide to take a mate along for company?

£25 between the 2 is a tad tight IF the parents booked 2 sitters.

£25 for a teen babysitting is an OK rate. By minimum wage standards she was only underpaid by 76pence.

IMO - there are not many jobs 14yos can do and just having the opportunity to earn £25 in one night is a good deal imo. Not many jobs allow you to take a mate along for company as well. I would guess they had free drinks and nibbles thrown in as well - again not many jobs include that.

The fact the parents were 3 hours later than arranged is the underhand bit of this - not the payment imo.

Wallison Wed 02-Jan-13 01:17:13

mathanxiety - I think the parents that 'employ' your children should be hiring nannies. I would never dream of asking my sitters to do any of that, and indeed don't know anyone that does; maybe it's a class thing - if I want childcare, I'll pay a qualified professional rather than a teenager, and so does absolutely everyone I know in real life.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 02-Jan-13 01:27:09

A 14 yo has no NMW they are not old enough to revive NMW so there is no NMW bracket to fit into.

Wallison Wed 02-Jan-13 01:31:03

And btw when I say 'childcare' I mean what your children are doing, not what I ask my babysitters to do (sit in a house with my son upstairs and already in bed and phone me if anything goes wrong). I don't need 'childcare' when I go out - I just need a person in the house who can contact me if I'm needed. If I did for eg if I was working nights and couldn't do the dinner/bath/bed thing myself then I would do what friends who work nights do and hire a night nanny. If anyone is skimping on childcare it is these people who leave teenagers (and not even teenagers - didn't you say that your children started doing this when they were 12 years old fgs?) in charge of children who need at the least personal care (feeding, bathing etc) and also from what you are saying regular nursing care because their children are ill when they go to their all-important book club meetings or whatever.

SoggySummer Wed 02-Jan-13 01:42:11

Exactly Socketreturningpixie - there is no NMW applicable because there is so little they can do to earn money at their age anyway. £25 is a good wage for 1 nights work imo. Its double a paper round which means going out in cold and wet probably for about an hour a day for 2 weeks to earn that.

I think they should have agreed a price upfront but I also dont think you can compare the care a teen would give to that of a qualified nanny/nurserty nurse no matter how good the teen may be.

Babysitting in the most part is sitting chatting to a mate whilst watching TV and eating free nibbles in the most part.

blueemerald Wed 02-Jan-13 01:46:13

No, babysitting is agreeing to deal with all and every disaster that keeps a parent awake at 3 am if the situation arises.

mathanxiety Wed 02-Jan-13 02:21:02

Administering a dosage of an antibiotic is not nursing care. A child recovering from an ear infection is not an ill child. A small child who doesn't quite get to the loo in time while a mother is out is not a major disaster. A child who cries at bedtime is not a reason any of my DDs' customers would consider sufficient to call away from an evening out. A 12 year old who expects to be paid the rate my DDs were at 12 for babysitting should and could handle all of this.

I didn't mention bathing children -- you've gone from overegging the souffle to making things up there. Most parents are happy to skip the bath when the DDs are babysitting. It's usually a case of top and tail and brush teeth and bed. Children over the age of three should be expected to know enough about self care to co-operate in washing, tooth brushing and getting pajamas on, and should not require the services of a full on nanny to get to bed at night. Same goes for feeding themselves. Only babies in high chairs would need actual feeding. How do they manage in school when they don't have a fully qualified personal assistant available?

RavenAK -- it has been my observation that babysitting tends to be a girls' job. DS did some and got out of it as he realised he could make more doing odd jobs and gardening. Plus, when the babysitting callers ask for one sister and if she is not available they ask for the next younger one despite the fact that DS is in the middle, it is time to rethink the babysitting strategy. I had both boys and girls as babysitters when the DCs were young and was very sad to see one particular boy go away to university as he was brilliant and the DCs loved him. However, not all parents are willing to give a boy a chance, sadly. Both the DDs and DS learned much about how the world of girls' work and boys' work work operates from their experiences. The DDs were inspired to work really hard at maths and science as a result.

I never hired more than one sitter for an evening as in my experience having two friends over meant that they did more chatting than babysitting, and the DDs have never been hired as part of a team either.

flow4 Wed 02-Jan-13 02:27:42

But babysitting can't be dealing with everything the parents deal with, blue, if the baby sitter is under 16. A child under 16 cannot be legally responsible for another child. If someone under 16 is looking after a child, then the parent or guardian, and not the babysitter, remain legally responsible for the child's safety. If anything goes wrong, the parent is still always responsible ( NSPCC leaflet here ).

And what's more, if any harm comes to an under-16yo babysitter, the parent who's 'hiring' might be held responsible: s/he could be seen as accepting 'duty of care' for the babysitter as well as their own child(ren), by having her/him in their house for the evening. Also, the parent of the under-16yo sitter is always responsible for their child while they are babysitting - a fact that many parents of sitters don't seem to realise.

The Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents says "Under some circumstances, parents can be prosecuted and fined if they leave their children in a situation which a court might judge to be “neglectful”. This usually occurs when there is an incident which requires intervention by the emergency services" ( more here ). This would include the parents of the under-16yo sitter as well as the parents of the younger children.

IMO it is a mistake to pay under 16s more, thinking this buys you a 'higher quality' service. If you need a babysitter who is more than "a human baby alarm who does no active childcare & phones parents, who are out locally, in case of a problem" (as raven neatly puts it) then you really do need someone aged over 16.

SoggySummer Wed 02-Jan-13 02:33:58

I dont think all 14yos could cope with every emergency the same way a qualified professional could.

Thats the risk you take as a parent if you choose to employ teens for childcare though over a qualified nursery nurse or nanny.

Personally I would not choose a teen to watch my small children - but if I did £25 is a fair price imo. I would expect more and therefore pay more to someone qualified.

StinkyWicket Wed 02-Jan-13 02:38:43

I got about that much for babysitting on NYE.

That was 15 years ago though, and they were back before 12.30 and drove me home.


(Although I wouldn't have had 14 year olds unless the children were about 10)

holidaysarenice Wed 02-Jan-13 02:40:07

I think a lot of the people saying its fine don't use babysitters much.
They are expensive. These girls have the same responsibility in the house as any adult caregiver you are using.

Frankly I think two is better than one, more sense, and more authority if their are any problems

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Wed 02-Jan-13 02:41:06

You are paying for them having the responsibility of looking after your children, you are not paying them to watch tv and text their friends - the fact they can do that at the same time is irrelevant. You need them there or you can't go out - so it's ridiculous to say it's 'for doing nothing'.

The rate is going to be very dependant on the area - but around here that would be low and I would have paid an absolute minimum of £40 plus drinks, snacks etc.

flow4 Wed 02-Jan-13 02:41:51

Dowager > "I really hate the fact that childcare is so horribly underpaid and so under-respected in this country. It's really wrong."

I agree. But the government's minimum wage policy has ipso facto made childcare low paid. It is impossible for people to pay over NMW for childcare if they are being paid NMW themselves. Since people need to eat and pay bills, and tax and NI are due on full-time NMW wages, it is probably impossible for anyone to pay their childcare provider more than about 50% of their own income (and even that would be a stretch, I guess). This means that the current NMW rates (£6.19for 21+ yos; £4.98 for 18-20yos; £3.68 for 16-17 yos) pretty much guarantee that people on low incomes will see £3/hr as the maximum that they can and should pay for their childcare.

IMO, anyone who wants to see higher wages for childcare should start by campaigning for higher NMW.

blueemerald Wed 02-Jan-13 02:45:12

I agree, I would be very reluctant to hire a babysitter under 16 unless I was very nearby and going to an event I could easily leave.

flow4 Wed 02-Jan-13 02:46:30

holidaysarenice and Chipping - Parents may think they are paying for a babysitter to 'have the responsibility'... But if the sitter is under 16, they are not, because it is legally impossible for a child under 16 to have responsibility for another child. (See my post above for more info/links, if you're interested).

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Wed 02-Jan-13 03:01:38

Flow 'legally' is not the point. If you are going out and leaving a babysitter in charge they are (morally, if not legally) responsible for those children and that is why you are paying for them. Sniping about 'paying them to sit on their backsides watching the tv' is ridiculous.

flow4 Wed 02-Jan-13 03:05:13

I dunno about 'morally' either, Chipping, personally. I always tended to feel like I was morally responsible for the few younger babysitters I ever used, as well as remaining responsible for my own kids. Which is why I looked for older sitters. Or swapped with friends. And didn't go out much!

mathanxiety Wed 02-Jan-13 03:11:23

No, Flow, it is the way childcare is seen as low skilled or even unskilled women's work that guarantees it is the last thing to be considered important, and worthy only of minimum pay. Or actually half of minimum pay.

Even so, in areas where demand outstrips supply, babysitters can make much more.

The logical conclusion is perhaps to scrap minimum wage and let parents try their luck in a world where service wages are determined only by market forces? When a certain job pays minimum wage it is guaranteed to be looked down upon.

Responsibility when it comes to babysitters means ability to respond appropriately if a situation occurs that demands a certain response. No matter who is ultimately 'responsible' in the legal sense, the appropriateness of the immediate response is what matters. I agree with Chipping.

Wallison Wed 02-Jan-13 08:18:31

Meh. I agree with Flow. Childcare is paid for out of wages, so therefore if wages are low then there isn't a lot that can be put towards childcare.

Also, if parents are using children to look after their children, rather than qualified professionals, that will bring down the wages of the qualified childcare professionals too.

mrsL1984 Wed 02-Jan-13 08:27:45

Fair enough we don't know details why two girls went. But at 14 would you have liked to have been on own in NYE???

SaraBellumHertz Wed 02-Jan-13 09:44:07

Definitely tight - £40 would have been appropriate for NYE.

With math re responsibility - my 8 year old is capable of changing a nappy and helping my 20 mth old brush her teeth. She knows the difference between a bump that requires her giving her little sister a cuddle and one that requires me to attend to it. I imagine by the time she is14 she'll have progressed a little...

VestaCurry Wed 02-Jan-13 09:45:14

stingy feckers

TheFallenMadonna Wed 02-Jan-13 10:26:59

I'd pay more on New Years Eve.

But, I would not have accepted the change of arrangements during the evening.

Is it that the couple are friends of you Dd's friend's parents? Because if plans were changed once the evening had started to include an overnight stay somewhere I didn't know, I think I, and not my 14yo, would have been phoning the couple to get them back st the arranged time.

AlfalfaMum Wed 02-Jan-13 11:10:19

YANBU, that is really stingy. They should have at least got that each.

When I was about 13 I babysat for neighbours, from about 8pm until 12:30, and they gave me 50p shock ok so it was 24 years ago, but even then it was shitty. I never babysat for them again.

Was the £25 agreed before they turned up three hours late?
Did they think it was just the one babysitter?
I'd be giving feedback to whoever knows the couple that arriving back so late without bunging a bit more on was mean and they won't be doing it again!

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