How Much Do You Pay a Grandparent to Babysit or Nanny For Your Child?

grandkids with grandparents

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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.

Find Quality Childcare
Find affordable individuals (or facilities if you’re looking a daycare) to watch your children so you can put your mind at ease when you’re at work or having a date night.

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

mama leaving baby with grandparent

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.

Key Takeaways

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!

Find Quality Childcare
Find affordable individuals (or facilities if you’re looking a daycare) to watch your children so you can put your mind at ease when you’re at work or having a date night.

Have You Read These?

Frequently Asked Questions

If you can afford it, you should consider paying the relative the market rate for their babysitting services. If you’re struggling financially, you might be able to work out different terms with the family member.

You should pay your mom the market rate for watching her grandkids. If you can’t afford it, talk to your mom and try to make other arrangements, this way, you’ll avoid feelings of either side feeling like they’re getting taken advantage of.

Grandparents can get money for looking after their grandchildren. Paying grandma and grandpa something should be considered, especially if the grandparent is providing childcare services on a regular basis.

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Angela Draper
Angela Draper
2 years ago

Watching my great grandson, 20 months old. I’m driving to their house, doing laundry, cleaning kitchen. It’s temporary, but I’ve said if I drive 30 minutes to their house, for 9 hours a day, they can pay me. Main thing is, I DON’T want to do this 2 or 3 days a week for 9 hrs each day. It’s too much
I can’t get them to do thing’s for me, I wish I could.

2 years ago

Love the article, I have a friend who is basically being taken advantage of as a grandfather unable to work because of an injury. Behind in bills literally have to beg for gas money to come over to babysit his grandchild. And they made him feel guilty when he asks for anything for babysitting/Nanny/housekeeper. His son and daughter in law very well off. They even mention hiring a Nanny at some point. Second child on the way also building 3 story home I almost certain it will include a nanny’s quarters and they would throw the grandfather to the curb. I don’t have a problem with grandparent’s not wanting pay. I have 5 adults grandchildren myself. I choose the watch then as often as possible I could have use the extra money but I didn’t need it. Most of the time I had then over is because I want then with me all the time.
Want son and daughters to have quiet time with there spouse. Young couples need time together. But kids please don’t take advantage of great parents/grandparents. We are a gift to have . If you don’t have to paid surprised then with a dinner out a card, a hotel or spa. You’ll never no what’s it’s like until u become a Grandparents yourself. And if your not grandparent save your opinion.

1 year ago

I babysit my 3rd grandson 4-5 days a week. And the two older grandsons I’m there to get them off the school bus. My son only pays me $50 for the baby & $5 for each child from 4-6pm. I am there by 7:45 am until 5-6pm. I’m going to ask for more money. I’m exhausted when I get home. But my son is taking advantage of me! I also clean their kitchen, half bath & straighten their there den.

1 year ago

Great article and comments all seem to be in the same realm of reality!
I find it interesting how adult children don’t have a problem paying a Nannie or Child Care Center to care for their child or children at whatever it costs to ease their minds in believing they’re providing the best care available, while they’re away average 9 to 10hrs. daily. Yet, will go full force in negotiating with a grandparent(s) what it is they should be compensated? If compensated at all. Doesn’t make sense to me?? Grandparents should be compensated higher, they give “Love”!

Parents average Their “Paid Work” time say 40hrs., as a basis on how and what a day care provider should be paid. Maybe in the Bizzaro World!
In the real world, care for children begins the second that parent walks away. Generally 30 minutes + is a window parents allow themselves for commute time, and back at the end of the day! Averages a 9 to 10 hr. day for a child care provider. Whether it’s 1, 2, 4, 7 days weekly, parents neglect to compensate for the Actual Hours per day their child/children are being: educated, entertained, fed, changed, etc.
I don’t get it?
Whoever provides the day care, that person should be the first person to be paid on pay day and the highest paid on the parents payroll!
Without that person, those people – parents couldn’t go to work!

1 year ago

I feel that Grandparents should be paid a reasonable amount, for 2 reasons: 1) It becomes real easy for the parents to take advantage of their parents and 2) paying for daycare is their responsibility. I was grandchildren, suppose to be just part time (32 hrs a week) I was told. Started out $100 a week. Next thing I knew I was sitting over 50 hrs a week and only getting $60. I was told that because I live iny RV on the property, I should’ve grateful. I was expected to be available without notice or times I would go in to sit and find out I wasn’t needed. Very disrespectful, I think and I don’t feel appreciated at all.

1 year ago

I feel I am on the opposite spectrum to most. We pay grandma $500/week and she is late to the agreed upon time every single day. Consistently will call off days we have previously agreed to as reoccurring and still we pay this same fee. I feel we are being majorly taken advantage of as the parents paying for case when we could get so much more from a real nanny.