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Paying grandparents to watch their grandchildren is a strangely controversial topic.
Some parents believe they should be ecstatic to watch their grandchildren without payment.
Many grandparents want to be with their grandchildren and vice versa. However, grandparents also need some money to get by.
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How Much to Pay a Grandparent to Watch Their Grandkids?
Have an open and honest conversation with your child’s grandparents. Ask them if they would prefer to be paid or if they prefer to remain unpaid. The next step is the hardest: Follow through on what they ask. If grandma needs $12 per hour, pay her. If she’d rather babysit for free, that’s okay too.
One of the biggest mistakes parents can make is assuming that a grandparent will watch their grandchildren for free.
It definitely happens. The last data collected by the United States Census Bureau shows about 23 percent of grandparents provide full-time childcare for their grandchildren.
Some reports show that number has risen by as much as 15 percent in the last 10 years.
Unfortunately, the public is somewhat split on whether these grandparents should be paid at all. In fact, Buzzfeed recently shared a story about a grandmother who asked for money, which has split their online community almost in half.
All Caregivers Deserve Compensation
Taking care of a child is a serious and important job. It requires constant vigilance all day. The younger the children are, the more care is needed.
From diaper changes to feeding to keeping them entertained, it’s not an easy job for anyone. Asking a grandparent to spend their days in this capacity without any form of compensation is disrespectful at best.
Here are some ways to handle paying grandma and grandpa for their child care services.
A Fair Hourly Wage
The typical wage for a nanny might vary depending on your location. The average across the United States is just under $13 per hour.
The grandparent is functioning as a nanny, which means it’s reasonable to offer that fair wage.
You might be able to negotiate with the grandparent for a slightly less payment if that amount puts you in a financial bind.
Lump Sum Payments
Instead of paying by the hour, you might offer the grandparent a lump sum on a weekly basis.
If grandma or grandpa is watching your child on a full-time basis, offer about $500. That is less than you would pay a nanny but more than a typical daycare.
If grandparents only provide babysitting services for a few hours a day or a few hours a week, a lump sum of $100 to $150 might be acceptable.
The Barter System
Money could be tight for everyone. That doesn’t mean you should take advantage of the kindness of grandparents.
Instead, make some trades. Offer home maintenance, cleaning, landscaping, or car repair in exchange for childcare.
Run errands for the grandparent, do their grocery shopping, or give them rides when they need them. Working together as a family is a good way to pay back some of what the grandparents provide when they babysit.
What if Grandparents Don’t Want Payment?
A grandparent might say they don’t want to be paid. You might do a dance of joy, but it can still make you feel awkward.
Grandparents may extend their lives by babysitting grandchildren. They may simply find joy in watching them grow. Still, you might feel like you’re taking advantage of their time and kindness.
Don’t pay a grandparent if they insist they want to watch the children for free, but do find other ways to show you care. Treat them to dinner, give them gift cards, hire a housekeeping service or lawn care company.
All of these things cost far less than a typical nanny wage, but they also are helpful, time-saving, and kind.
Grandparents aren’t typical employees, but when they become nannies, you do owe them some kind of payment. A standard nanny wage is reasonable, but you might be able to work out something different.
How do you feel about this issue? How much should grandparents be paid for babysitting? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Have You Read These?
- How Do I Afford Daycare For a Second Child?
- When Can You Leave a Baby with their Grandparents?
- Daycare vs Grandparents