As doctors and scientists continue to fight the Coronavirus, society is fighting to flatten the curve by staying home and physically separate from others. However, parents are still in need of child care help so that they can continue to work from home. We’re all adjusting to this new normal in many ways—including through virtual sitting.
What’s A Virtual Sitting?
To be clear: a virtual sitting is not the same thing as in-person babysitting. A virtual sitting is hiring a professional to engage children digitally for a short period of time. The sessions can be used to assist kids with schoolwork or facilitate an interactive game—like charades. It’s not a replacement for physical care. Families considering a virtual sitting during this time should continue to view safety as their top priority.
Parents Should Keep in Mind:
- Screening and Vetting is Still Important
Even though the sitter isn’t physically in your house, they’re still spending time with your child.
- Never Leave Your Child Unattended
The sitter is not able to physically supervise or control your child when connected only by video.
- Review Planned Activities
Work with the sitter to determine what’s appropriate for your child.
What’s the Going Rate for Virtual Sitting?
While a virtual sitting is not the equivalent of full child care, it’s best practice to pay sitters a standard rate if you are able.
The 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.*
Use this chart to determine the most appropriate babysitting rate by hourly wage by location.
Other Factors to Consider When Setting Your Rates for a Virtual Sitting
For babysitters who set their own rates, the cost can increase for a few reasons:
- Number of Children: As any parent knows, more children means more work, especially when age ranges vary. For each additional child, pay your sitter or nanny an extra $1 or $2. (i.e. If the base rate is $16 per hour for one child, the cost for two children would be $17.)
- Certifications: There’s a difference in experience – both in life and in child care – between your neighbor’s 16-year-old daughter and a babysitter with an early childhood degree. Plan to compensate your babysitter accordingly.
- Expected Responsibilities: If you expect your sitter to help your kids with assigned homework or to develop a full day’s schedule of educational activities, plan to potentially pay more for these types of expected responsibilities. They‘ll probably require prep time outside of the time spent with your kids.
*Sittercity Provider Data, January 2020