There are certain circumstances when tipping is traditionally expected. You know to tip your bartenders, servers, hairdressers, and pizza delivery people, but when it comes to babysitters, expectations seem unclear. Should you tip your babysitter? And, if so, how much?

How Much Do You Pay a Babysitter?

The first thing to consider is how much you are paying your sitter. The U.S. national average rate for babysitters is $16.50/hour. However, that amount could be different based on local minimum wage laws, the experience of the sitter, the number of children they’re watching, and more. Be sure to set a competitive rate to attract the best caregivers from the start.

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How Much Do You Tip a Babysitter?

While there isn’t a universal tipping standard for sitters, there are some notable trends amongst those who employ babysitters. According to a family survey report conducted by Sittercity in July 2019, 61% of families reported that they sometimes or always tip their sitters—which is up from 54% in 2017.

Of those who do tip, an extra $10 – $20 is the most common practice, though rounding up to the nearest $5 also happens fairly often.

Why Should You Tip a Babysitter?

So, while parents may not offer a tip after every single sitting, they do tend to tip when they feel that their sitter has earned a little extra for their work. In my experience as a former sitter, there has been a handful of times when I was tipped for a babysitting job. While I never expect to be tipped, I highly appreciated the gesture when it happened. Here are some reasons why you may want to consider tipping your babysitter:

1. Last-Minute Availability

Did your sitter step up to watch the kids when you needed them at the last minute? If so, your sitter may deserve a tip as a gesture of gratitude. While parents have incredibly busy lives, so do sitters, and their willingness to work with your schedule and help out last minute should not go ignored.

2. Above and Beyond Expectations

Did your sitter make sure the house was in perfect shape, get the kids fed and to bed on time, and organize all the kids’ toys and books in the way you prefer? While each family has their own specific expectations for sitters, there may be times where it’s obvious that a sitter went above and beyond what was expected for the night. If that’s the case, it may be good to show your sitter how much you appreciate their effort by tipping them.

3. Flexibility

Did you ask your sitter to stay later than they expected? Did you ask for help with a new or different task like taking out the dog or doing extra laundry? A sitter’s willingness and flexibility to meet the specific needs of your family is valuable and can make your life a lot easier, so it may be a nice gesture to recognize their flexibility through tipping.

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The bottom line? Tipping is a great way to show your sitter how much they mean to your family, and may even ensure their willingness to sit for you again. How often and how much you tip is completely up to you, and common practices vary depending on the family and type of sitting. Ultimately, you should do what feels comfortable for you and reflects your sitter’s quality of work.

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