In the past two years, since just prior to the pandemic, babysitter salaries have skyrocketed - and teens across the U.S. are benefiting.
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Care.com told The Wall Street Journal that babysitters on their site were receiving an average of $18.05 an hour in April 2022, compared to just $14.72 an hour in 2020. Of course, Care.com babysitters include workers of all ages, but teens who spoke with WSJ reported similar pay increases, as well as increased gratitude and reduced expectations from their clients.
Kate McLaughlin, a 17-year-old in Boston, reported making as much as $25 an hour, up from $10 to $15 per hour pre-pandemic. A classmate of McLaughlin's, the teen reported, said she was earning $30 an hour.
In March, CBS also reported that babysitters were charging $20 an hour. Statistics from UrbanSitter, reported by CBS, said babysitting rates increased by 11% in 2021 - and by 2022, the national average hit just over $20 for one child.
As parents return to work, they need aftercare. Plus, as restrictions were lifted, parents relished time away from their kids, a stark contrast to the 24/7 togetherness most families experienced during the pandemic.
Restaurants and bars re-opened, date nights resumed. Parents also started going out with friends again, enjoying the company of other grown-ups. And they are willing to pay higher prices - with plenty of perks - to get it.
Dani Gantcher, an 18-year-old babysitter in Scarsdale, New York, told the WSJ: "The power dynamics have shifted between the teenage babysitter and the parent." Other teens reported that parents tell them to order whatever they want from food delivery services like DoorDash, help themselves to anything in the fridge and, overall, place fewer restrictions on babysitters. "They just thank me profusely," Gantcher concluded.
Is Your Teen Ready to Babysit?
The Red Cross offers a babysitting course recommended for students age 11 to 15. If your teen or tween is responsible, conscientious, and enjoys spending time with younger children, they may be able to start as young as 11.
Few states have laws regarding babysitter ages, according to WorldPopulationReview.com, but some states have guidelines regarding the age a child may be left home alone. State guidelines range from age 6 to 14 - if a child shouldn't be left home alone in that state, they shouldn't babysit, either.
States with guidelines include:
New Mexico (10).
North Carolina (8).
North Dakota (9).
Your child might consider taking the Red Cross babysitting course (or a first aid class) before they start babysitting, but formal training is not mandatory. If you and your teen, or tween, both decide babysitting is a great summer job, there are plenty of ways to line up work.
How to Find Babysitting Work as a Teenager
Care.com does not allow anyone under the age of 18 to list their services on their website, but teens can find work plenty of other ways. Sometimes, the local youth center will connect responsible teens with parents who need babysitting services. Teens can also spread the word through their own circle of friends and ask their parents to do the same. They should share the news around school that they are offering babysitting services, since some of their teachers might be interested in hiring them.
Parents can post for teens on local parenting or family oriented Facebook groups. It's a good idea to ask other parents the teen has babysat for to chime in with an endorsement of the teen's responsibility and skills.
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Old-fashioned marketing also works, as well. Your teen can also post flyers at local grocery stores and shopping centers. Canva is an easy program that your teen can use to create eye-catching flyers advertising their services. They can print out the flyers on your home computer, or for roughly 10 cents a copy at the local library.
With the babysitter shortage in full swing, it probably won't be long before your teen has as much work as they can handle.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Babysitters Are Now Charging $30 an Hour - How Can Your Teen Get This Gig?