How Much To Pay A Babysitter If The Child Is Sleeping

Finding a reliable and affordable babysitter can be a challenge for many parents. One common question that comes up is how much parents should pay a babysitter if the child is sleeping for most or all of the time.

This comprehensive guide will provide readers with everything they need to know to determine the right pay rate for a sleeping child.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The standard rate for babysitters when a child is awake is $15-20 per hour. When the child is sleeping, a fair rate is around $10-12 per hour.

Average Babysitting Rates

Standard rates when child is awake

When hiring a babysitter, it is important to consider the average rates in your area. The rates for babysitting can vary depending on factors such as location, experience of the babysitter, and the number of children being cared for.

On average, parents can expect to pay around $15 to $20 per hour for a babysitter when the child is awake and active.

It is worth noting that rates may be slightly higher for specialized care such as infant care or if the babysitter has additional certifications such as CPR or first aid training. Additionally, if you require the babysitter to perform additional tasks such as meal preparation or light housekeeping, it is common to negotiate a slightly higher rate.

Lower rates when child is sleeping

When the child is sleeping, it is common practice for babysitters to charge a lower rate. This is because the babysitter’s responsibilities are reduced during this time. While the child is sleeping, the babysitter may have some downtime to relax or engage in other activities.

The exact rate for babysitting when the child is sleeping can vary, but it is typically around 50% to 75% of the standard hourly rate. For example, if the standard rate is $15 per hour, the rate for babysitting when the child is sleeping may be around $7.50 to $11.25 per hour.

This lower rate is a fair compromise for both the parents and the babysitter, as the parents are still paying for the babysitter’s time and availability, while the babysitter is compensated at a reduced rate during the child’s sleeping hours.

It is important to discuss and negotiate the rates with the babysitter before hiring, as rates may vary depending on individual circumstances and agreements. Open communication about rates and expectations will ensure a positive and mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties involved.

Factors to Consider

When determining how much to pay a babysitter when the child is sleeping, there are several factors to consider. These factors can help you determine a fair and reasonable rate for the babysitter’s services. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Child’s age

The age of the child can play a role in determining the rate you should pay the babysitter. Generally, younger children require more attention and care, even while they are sleeping. Therefore, if you have an infant or a toddler, you may want to consider paying a slightly higher rate to compensate for the extra responsibility.

Number of children

If you have multiple children, you may need to adjust the rate accordingly. Taking care of more than one child can be more challenging and may require additional effort from the babysitter. It’s important to consider the extra workload and provide fair compensation.

Babysitter’s experience and qualifications

The experience and qualifications of the babysitter should also be taken into account. A highly experienced and qualified babysitter who has undergone specialized training may warrant a higher rate. Their expertise can provide you with peace of mind and ensure the safety and well-being of your child.

Your location

The location where you live can also impact the rate you should pay. The cost of living varies from place to place, and it’s important to consider the local market rates for babysitting services. Researching rates in your area can give you a better understanding of what is reasonable and fair.

Time of day

The time of day can also influence the rate you pay the babysitter. If you need someone to watch your child overnight while they are sleeping, you may want to consider a higher rate. Overnight care often requires the babysitter to stay awake and be available in case of any emergencies or disruptions during the night.

It’s important to keep in mind that these factors are just guidelines and that ultimately, the rate you pay should be agreed upon by both parties. Open communication with the babysitter can help you reach a fair and mutually beneficial agreement.

Communicating Expectations Clearly

When it comes to paying a babysitter for their services while the child is sleeping, it is essential to communicate your expectations clearly. By doing so, you can avoid any misunderstandings and ensure that both parties are on the same page.

Be upfront about hourly rates and sleeping expectations

One of the first steps in communicating your expectations is being upfront about the hourly rates and sleeping expectations. Let the babysitter know what you typically pay per hour for their services and discuss whether a different rate will apply when the child is sleeping.

This transparency will help both you and the babysitter feel comfortable with the arrangement.

It’s important to consider that some babysitters may charge a lower rate when the child is sleeping, as they may have fewer responsibilities during this time. However, others may charge the same rate, as they are still responsible for ensuring the child’s safety and well-being, even while they sleep.

Consider paying a flat nightly rate

Another option to consider is paying a flat nightly rate instead of an hourly rate. This can simplify the payment process and ensure that the babysitter feels fairly compensated for their time, regardless of whether the child is awake or asleep.

Discuss this option with the babysitter and come to an agreement that works for both parties.

Provide clear instructions for care routines

Regardless of whether the child is sleeping or awake, it is crucial to provide the babysitter with clear instructions for care routines. This includes information on bedtime routines, any specific instructions for the child’s needs during sleep, and emergency contact information.

By providing clear instructions, you can ensure that the babysitter is well-prepared to handle any situation that may arise.

Remember, open and honest communication is key when it comes to paying a babysitter for their services while the child is sleeping. By discussing rates, setting expectations, and providing clear instructions, you can create a positive and mutually beneficial arrangement for both you and the babysitter.

Paying a Fair and Competitive Rate

Research rates in your area

When it comes to paying a babysitter, it’s important to consider the rates in your specific area. Different regions may have different average rates, so it’s a good idea to do some research to ensure you’re offering a fair and competitive rate.

Websites like or can provide you with information on average babysitting rates in your area. This will help you determine a reasonable amount to pay when your child is sleeping.

Consider experience and qualifications

Another factor to consider when determining how much to pay a babysitter when your child is sleeping is their experience and qualifications. If you have a babysitter who has been working with children for many years or has specific certifications, you may want to offer a higher rate to reflect their expertise.

On the other hand, if you have a less experienced babysitter, you may choose to pay a slightly lower rate. It’s important to find a balance that is fair to both you and the babysitter.

Provide a W-2 for taxes

Even if your child is sleeping for the majority of the time the babysitter is present, it’s still important to consider the legal and financial aspects of paying a babysitter. If you are paying a babysitter regularly and they meet the criteria set by the IRS, it’s a good idea to provide them with a W-2 form for tax purposes.

This ensures that both you and the babysitter are in compliance with the law. It’s always best to consult with a tax professional or visit the IRS website for specific guidelines on paying taxes for household employees.


Finding the right babysitter at a fair rate can give parents peace of mind. While a sleeping child requires less active care, babysitters must still be diligent and attentive. By clearly communicating expectations, paying competitive rates for your area, and treating your babysitter professionally, you will develop a great relationship with your sitter.

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