Who is a Babysitter?

A babysitter is a paid, short-term, child caregiver that may only be needed on occasion. They serve as the person in charge during a non-routine day.

In the U.S. there aren’t any national laws surrounding the age of caregivers. Different states and local municipalities might have laws about the age of children that can be left home alone for certain periods of time. Sittercity requires that all sitters on the platform must be at least 18 years of age or older.

Pink banner with text saying "When your logistics hero also tells the best jokes" and showing a babysitter holding a toddler while they both laugh.

What Do Babysitters Do?

A babysitter temporarily fills in for the parents/guardians when they need extra help caring for their child(ren). What exactly the babysitter does depends on the time of day they’re working and the needs of the family. Here are a few typical categories:


  • Engage and interact with kids and toys/games they love.
  • Lead kids in a craft or making activity.
  • Take kids to a park or museum.


  • Prepare and/or serve meals and snacks.
  • Pack school lunches.
  • Cleanup kitchen from food prep.


  • Pick-up/Drop-off kids at school.
  • Pick-up/Drop-off kids at extra-curriculars or playdates.


  • Ensure that kids do homework after school.
  • Tutor kids in a particular subject.
  • Practice reading with kids.


  • Ensure that kids take prescribed medications.
  • Ensure that kids take necessary naps and/or go to bed on time.
  • Ensure that kids are staying hydrated and not spreading germs.

What Skills Do Babysitters Get?

Babysitters are a lot like teachers.

Job-Specific Skills

Career Development Skills

Soft Skills 

Appropriate Age-Specific Activities Interviewing Patience
Sleep Training and Best Sleep Practices by Age Pay Negotiation Imagination
Connecting/Bonding with New Kids Schedule Management Adaptability
Asserting Authority with Necessary Asking For/Receiving Feedback/Reviews Communication
Discipline for Kids with Direction from Parents Following Directions Creativity
Potty Training Taking Initiative Time Management

Blue banner with text saying "When you come home to laughter & a recap of the day" and nanny laughing with a boy raising his arms triumphantly.

How Long Do Babysitters Work?

Babysitters only work a few hours at a time. Generally, this could be anywhere from 1-6 hours per instance.

How Much Do Babysitters Cost?

There are lots of factors to think about when determining the cost of child care. Cost of living and minimum wage laws can influence hourly rates. According to recent Sittercity data, the national typical hourly rate of babysitters in 2020 is $16.50 per hour.

Other factors include number of children, certifications, additional responsibilities, and travel expenses. Be sure to compare babysitting rates in your area to set a competitive rate and attract the best caregivers.

What Education, Classes, or Certification Does a Babysitter Need?

The certifications and training that babysitters need depends on the family they’re working for the children in their care. Here are some possible qualifications:

  • CPR
  • First-Aid
  • Child Care Training Courses
  • Newborn Care Specialist
  • Driver’s License
  • Early Childhood Education Degrees
  • Special Needs Training

Where Can I Find Babysitter Jobs Near Me?

Babysitters can find jobs on Sittercity in 95% of zip codes in the U.S. The site is free to join and provides friendly guidance on finding the right job. Over 500 jobs are posted every day and you can easily filter your search by distance from zip codes, hourly rate, frequency, start date, and number & ages of children.

Is There an App for Babysitting?

Yes! Sittercity has an app for babysitters to search for and apply to jobs, message with parents, set availability, run background checks, and book interviews. Download the Sittercity sitter app in the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Ready to find a great sitter?

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