If ever there were a time you should not cut costs, it’s when paying a babysitter. Not that you shouldn’t receive value for money, but when you’re considering the value you place on your children’s lives, you need to be sure that your babysitter is worth what she charges.

Obviously rates vary, starting from a few dollars per hour for a teenage sitter who basically minds the kids for a short time while you attend to errands, through to more significant figures for highly trained professionals with years of experience who may be called upon to stay with the children for an entire weekend.

Agencies
Hiring a nanny or babysitter from an agency will incur a fee on top of the hourly rate for the sitter herself. However, the fee should guarantee you quality service. The employee’s reference would have been thoroughly checked, her credentials validated and staff of the agency will know her. Their recommendation should count for something.

With an agency, you also pay for convenience. Being able to call them up at short notice, or for services on national holidays or for more than a few hours at a time, is an advantage not found with other methods of hiring babysitters.

Number of children
The rate per hour your babysitter expects may depend on the number of children of which she is in charge at the time. If, say, she has only to look after one child, the rate may be fifteen dollars. However, if there is a second child, the fee may be twenty dollars per hour.

Regularity
If you use the same babysitter every time you need someone to take care of your children, you may be able to negotiate a slightly lower rate because you are providing her with income on a regular basis. Talk to her about this and you should be able to come to a mutual agreement.

Special needs children
You may reasonably expect to pay more for a babysitter if you have high needs children such as those with disabilities or difficult temperament.

Duties
If all you require your babysitter to do is sit and read to your child and put him or her to bed at the appropriate time, then you may not necessarily pay as high a rate as if you require her to prepare dinner, help with homework or collect the children from school or kindergarten.

Payment method
If paying a babysitter personally, you can discuss the method of payment that works for you both. She may be happy to accept a slightly lower fee if you can pay her in cash rather than check.

When all’s said and done, both you and the babysitter have to be in accordance with each other’s requirements. She, to be paid fairly and you, to arrange adequate care for your children. The ultimate aspect to be considered is that you are paying for peace of mind when you have to be away from your children, so don’t skimp on babysitting fees.