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Finding a Summer Babysitter

Creating A Job Description For A Summer Babysitter

When you’re creating a job description for a summer babysitter, you will need to be clear about your expectations and what the job entails so that the babysitter understands what her duties are.

Here are some elements that should be in your job requirements for a summer babysitter:

-List the specific duties your babysitter is responsible for in terms of childcare.

-Specify if your babysitter needs to provide transportation for your children or for household errands.

-Specify whether meal preparation is the babysitter’s responsibility and, if so, which meals.

-Specify whether household chores are the babysitter’s responsibility and, if so, which chores.

-Specify whether answering the home phone and taking messages is the responsibility of the babysitter.

-Specify any special job requirements, such as giving your children medication and handling emergency situations.

-Specify your expectations regarding your babysitter's behaviors while she's babysitting for you (i.e., use of her cell phone, having her friends over, eating your family's food,  etc.)

Once you have the babysitter's job description prepared, you are enabled to perform a more thorough and accurate interview and secure a candidate that is a good fit for the job.  Additionally, the job description may come in handy during the employment relationship when misunderstandings occur (if she thought she would not be responsible for taking the children to and from their piano lessons, you need only to refer her back to the job description that was given to her during her interview).

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How Much It Costs For A Summer Babysitter

If you are looking into being a summer babysitter, you can probably expect to be paid between $6 and $18 per hour.

There are many factors that can affect summer babysitter compensation. Here is a brief listing of the most significant of those factors:

1. If you are a babysitter in an area with a strong job market and/or a high cost of living, you might see a higher babysitter pay rate.

2. Since the average babysitter wage is based on caring for two children, you should expect to make more if you are a babysitter for a family with three or more children.

3. The younger the children are, the more your compensation will likely be.

4. You may also experience a wage increase or decrease depending on how many hours you work. If you aren't required to babysit for more than 40 hours per week, you may be paid as a part-time babysitter instead of a full-time babysitter.

5. You may also see an increase in your babysitter wage or salary depending on how much peripheral work you do. Peripheral work includes preparing food for the children, cleaning the house, doing laundry, driving the children to their various appointments, and medicating any children will illnesses.

6. The more job-relevant special skills or knowledge that you have, the more you can expect to earn. For example, if you have a degree in Slavic languages, and your employer-family has a child they have adopted from Russia who they want to learn her native tongue, you will likely receive a higher income for your knowledge of that Slavic languague and your willingness to teach it to their child.

7. The more experience you have as a babysitter, the larger your compensation will likely be.

8. The better your ability to market your job skills, the better you will do in negotiating your starting rate of pay.

Of course, other factors can affect babysitter compensation as well.

The foregoing factors typically do not take you outside the pay range of $6 to $18 per hour, but instead help gauge where you will be paid within that pay range.

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The Summer Babysitter Work Agreement: A Few Extras

If you're providing your summer babysitter with a work agreement, you'll probably cover the basics, such as pay and hourly schedule.  You should be as detailed as possible in the work agreement.

Here are a few other things you will want to include in the contract:

-Include specific duties that you expect your babysitter to be responsible for.  These include those related to the care of your children and what household duties, if any, you expect. 

-Include specifics on your expectations regarding her behaviors while she is working (i.e., her use of her cell phone, having her friends over, or eating your family's food).

-Include the start and end dates your summertime babysitter will be working.

-Include details on how the babysitter will assist with the transitions at the beginning and ending of her employment relationship.

-Include the compensation you’ll be paying your babysitter, including whether it is an hourly wage or salary. Also specify what the babysitter's pay dates will be and how the final paycheck will be handled (will it be mailed to the babysitter's home addres?).

-Note whether any benefits will be offered to your babysitter. If so, specify what the benefits are and at what point the babysitter will become eligible for the benefits. (For example, do you offer holiday pay for the 4th of July or money set aside for the babysitter's college tuition and fees?)

-Keep in mind that the work agreement should be something that you and your summertime babysitter agree upon in advance.  Both of you should sign and date the document. Clear communication between you and your babysitter is essential to maintaining a good working relationship.

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Two Options If You’re Looking For Summer Babysitters

If you just require childcare during the summer months when school is out, there are two options you should consider: au pairs and college students.

Au pairs (foreign national babysitters who immigrate for the purpose of providing childcare) have a summer program that fills a need for parents like you who only need care during the warmer months of the year. Summer au pairs may work up to four months in your home and are ideal solutions where your child is at least 2 years old.

College students are another option when you’re looking for summer babysitters. Though the number of college students dwindles at universities in the summertime, there are usually some students who carry a light course schedule between the spring and fall semesters and are eager to fill in some hours performing childcare duties. Check with an online database, such as There are large numbers of college students that register to gain summer employment.

Also, if you do not happen to live in or near a college community, you still may be able to access college students for summer babysitting.  Many college students return to their home communities in summer, and if you live in their home community, then those students may be ideal candidates for you.  The resources for finding these students are the same as listed in the above paragraph.  

Additionally, many college students like to see new places over their college breaks.  You can attract college students to be your summer babysitter if you entice them with an experience that is new to them.  For example, if you live in Albuquerque, NM, and through you find a well-qualified babysitter who is attending college in Boston, MA, your babysitter candidate may be interested in participating in a video teleconference interview in the hopes of landing a job in a community where she can experience many things not available to her in Boston.

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What To Ask When You’re Interviewing For Summer Babysitter Positions

Hiring for summer babysitter positions is much like the process of hiring for year-round childcare assistance. You want to select the best candidate for the job and be thorough in your interview process. In addition to the questions you would ask during any babysitting interview (see "10 Questions You Should Ask At A Babysitter Interview"), here are some supplemental questions to cover when you’re interviewing for summer childcare.

1. Ask if the candidate is available to work during the time period that you need childcare help.

2. Ask  the candidate why she is interested in a summer babysitting position.

3. If the candidate would be moving to your community for the summer and away from your community for the autumn, ask if the candidate is interested in any particular aspects of your community or region.  For example, if your candidate is a college student from Iowa, and you live in Virginia, your candidate may be interested in seeing the history of our democracy in Washington, D.C.  If that is so, perhaps you can arrange for her and your children to participate in a group tour of Washington, D.C.  It may be a fun and educational shared activity.  

4. Also, in the Iowa-to-Virginia scenario above, ask if the candidate has ever lived far away from home before.  You will need to determine if she will feel homesickness and, if so, how she will cope with or overcome it.

5. If your candidate is local, ask your candidate how she will resolve work-life schedule conflicts.  For example, if she is to babysit for you from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, what would she do if her boyfriend asked to take her out to lunch and to a movie one Friday afternoon.

6. Verify the hours you need are a good fit for the candidate you will be hiring.  You may also want confirm any time off your caregiver will need over the summer months.

There are many other questions you may wish to ask based on the specific circumstances of your babysitting candidates.  The questions listed above, however, are a good place to start.

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What You’re Getting With A Summer Au Pair

One solution to childcare just for the duration of the summer is the summer au pair. If you’re interested in a cultural exchange with someone from another country, the summer au pair makes sense in terms of costs and scheduling flexibility. Here’s what you can expect with a summer aupair.

-Summer au pairs can work up to 4 months during the summertime in some instances. Check with a particular aupair agency to see what they provide.
-Summer aupairs typically undergo the same screening process, orientation, and training program as aupairs who decide to stay for a year.
-Although the upfront cost can be substantial, the per hour cost you end up paying a summer aupair can be just $7 per hour, making it an affordable option.
-Summer aupairs undergo a screening process, interview process, and a matching process to determine a good fit to the host family.
-Summer aupairs do receive training that includes topics on health and safety training, child development, communicating with children, and age-appropriate activities.
-Summer aupairs are ideal solutions for families with children at least 2 years of age.

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