How much should you pay your babysitter?

Being a twenty-something means, among other things, that I have twenty-something friends, many of whom have exactly the types of jobs you’d expect twenty-somethings to have.

So for extra cash, a lot of them have second jobs. They bartend, freelance, walk dogs, participate in focus groups. I have at least one friend who makes a pretty good living as a test subject for drug trials.

But those who aren’t into side effects, drunk Cubs fans, or pooperscoopers babysit.

I was talking with one the other day who had answered an ad on Craigslist for a babysitter. She was talking with the mother and after the “making-sure-you’re-not-a-psycho” cursory interview was wrapping up, the mother mentioned the pay rate: $7 an hour.

My friend promptly said, “No, thanks.”

And I think she was totally justified. That’s well below the Illinois state minimum wage of $8/hour and, quite frankly, just not worth the 20-minute drive out to the suburbs, where three kids — including 3-year-old twins — awaited.

As parents, you’re expecting more of your babysitters. The neighborhood 12-year-old won’t cut it anymore. You’re asking for references, CPR certification and a clean driving record.

So your babysitters should expect more of you. More, certainly, than $7 an hour.

What do you think? How much do you pay your babysitters?

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