Tipping the Babysitter
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Tipping the Babysitter
Hi there. I am relatively new to hiring a babysitter and would
like to see basic customs when having her just for some occasions
for now. 1:Is a sitter expected to receive tips each time you
have her? 2: Are you supposed to provide some lunch, dinner
and/or snack for her? If it is so, how? 3: How common to ask to
do some light housework such as dishes, minor cleaning and
laundry? I'd appreciate any tips.
Tipping is not customary or necessary if you're paying a fair
wage (depends on age of sitter, age of child, # of children).
Providing a meal and snacks is standard, and some people expect a
sitter to do dishes after a meal and I don't think that's
unreasonable. However, doing a built-up pile of dishes,
housecleaning, laundry, etc. are NOT babysitting duties, they are
Babysitting is a service and it is customary to pay for such,
usually an hourly fee. If you wish to add a tip above that, by
all means, do so.
As far as having food, depending on the length of time,
providing a meal is not out of the question. If you are going
out for the evening before dinner, provide the babysitter with
dinner as well as she/he will probably be making sure that your
child/children get fed.
Housekeeping is a separate type of service, but if the
babysitter agrees to doing so, additional compensation should be
Remember, a babysitter is providing a service to watch your
child/children to make sure they are safe while you are gone.
It sounds as though you may be asking more about nanny care,
which I can't address. But as far as sitters go, I have always
tipped my sitters 15 percent--and I add time and a half after
midnight. That dates back to when I was a sitter and how I
expected to be treated.
I also provide dinner for her--which, with my 5- and
8-year-old--is usually pizza or macaroni and cheese. But I order
enough pizza for two kids and one adult or make enough mac and
cheese for three. I figure she's stuck there for six hours and
required to show up at dinner time. This way, she doesn't have
to scarf something down at the last minute. She and my kids play
together and have a meal together, and I think it works out well.
Sitters vary. I have never, as a matter of course, tipped my sitters. Nor have I ever
received a tip when sitting. I do give my best, most reliable sitter a little bonus at the
holidays and intend to give her a small gift or bonus for her birthday. As far as the
food thing, that is totally up to you. You can specify to the sitter what is available and
what is not. As to the housework issue, that is also between you and your sitter. If
you are wanting that, be sure to discuss it up front when hiring her... don't just expect
it. Most sitters are just there to watch the kids and have fun with them and make sure
they are safe.
If your sitter is missing her dinner to feed your child, yes, of
course you should provide enough extra food for her to eat, too!!
If you hire someone to babysit your child, they are not expected
to do your dirty laundry and clean your dirty house at the same
time!! If you want someone to clean your house, in this country
you hire what is known as a ''housekeeper'' or ''maid''. A
''babysitter'' is someone who ''sits'' with your ''baby'', hence the
In your case, I would give the babysitter a huge tip.
We generally just use our college-age sitter for evenings out. I
tip a few dollars - round up for the hour - and make sure there
are snacks/food available. I usually show her a couple food
options and encourage her to help herself to the kitchen. No
1. You do not tip a babysitter, you pay them an hourly wage.
2. Up to you, but customary (in my experience) to provide meal
or snacks for babysitter, depending on time they are sitting.
Assume they will share food children are eating if they are
feeding the kids (if the food is appropriate for a grown up).
Or ask them if they have any meal requirements or restrictions
before they come. I often tell the babysitter to just helpo
themselves to anything tey would like to eat from the fridge or
pantry, or sometimes (if I rememeber) I'll pick up a few pre-
made meal items at the grocery store.
3. Again, depends on the babysitter. It is not customary in my
experience to ask for housework unless they are a regular
nanny/caregiver, but I don't know why not! If they are just
putting a young child to bed and ''literally'' sitting, then I
don't see any reason why they shouldn't be willing. If the
child is older you may want them to only interact with the
child. Just ask up front if they are willing.
I don't always tip -- it depends on the circumstances. I work in
daycare and don't expect (nor want) tips. I like to give bonuses
at holidays in the form of gift cards or when they are going on
vacations in the form of cash (if they heading out of country,
then I give them currency of their destination). But, those are
only to regular sitters.
I do let them have the run of the refrigerator while they are
I don't expect any housework while they are working except for
tidying up any messes that are made during the time they are there.
I don't tip sitters normally, but I do ''round up'' a bit at the
end of the night. If they did something unusually special, I
probably would tip. I do tell them that they're free to eat or
drink anything in the refrigerator, but I don't make anything
special for them. (If I come back and they've abused this
privilege, I don't hire them again.) As for cleaning, I expect
that they will at a minimum clean up any messes that occur on
their watch, whether it's theirs or the children's. If the
children will be sleeping most of the time, I ask for ''light
housekeeping'' tasks, such as doing the laundry or putting dishes
in the dishwasher. If the children are awake, I prefer they
spend their time with the kids. This is all pretty much what was
expected of me long ago, and I think it's reasonable and fair.
I think it is nice to round up a little bit if your sitter comes
for an irregular length of time, or just a short time, to make it
''worth her while''. If your sitter comes every week for the same
amount of time, you should just set a fixed amount. Yes, you have
to feed the babysitter. Most baby sitters are fine with eating
macaroni or frozen pizza or whatever your kid is having, or being
allowed to eat other things from the kitchen.
ex-babysitter, now mom
I do not tip but I round up: if a sitter is at my house for 3 hours and
35 minutes, I pay them for four. Or if it works out to $36, I make it
And if I ask them to drive for me, I give them some extra money for gas.
(Not for just driving to and from my house, but if they are picking
up my child at school or doing an errand for me.)
If I ask the sitter to work a long stretch that includes a mealtime
(for example, arrive at 5 pm and stay till 10) I tell her what I've
got planned for my child's dinner and ask what she'd like. For example,
I'm ordering pizza, do you want some, are you OK with pepperoni? Once
my son wanted halibut so I told her that I was making it for him, did
she want some. She did, so I made it for two. Usually it is just pizza
though. If my child will have eaten already (if the arrival time is
7 pm) I tell them so and ask them if they will want dinner. They've
always said not to worry about it. Sometimes they go out after I get
home at ten! Oh to be young! Snacks are understood to be 'on offer' -
take anything you want that doesn't look like I'm planning to have
it for dinner the next day. I stock plenty of ice cream - that seems
to be popular, and from my own experience, makes a fine dinner.
As for housework, I always tell them I want to come home to a clean
kitchen - sometimes that may entail cleaning up a mess I've left. I
pay well and everyone has always been fine with that arrangement, but
I hire students who are very accommodating. Professional nannies may
have a different view, but you can always ask.
When I was young and babysitting, I only received a tip once. I
regularly babysat for a
family that was friend's with my family. One time they went to Atlantic
City (I am a
transplant from NJ). Well they won BIG! So, they gave me a tip! It was
unexpected and I certainly didn't anticipate it again!
this page was last updated: Jul 31, 2012
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