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A babysitter is a caregiver that provides temporary care on an irregular basis.
Some babysitters may provide daily after school care, but this is usually for only a short amount of time.
Is a babysitter the right choice for you and your child? Keep reading.
*FYI, some of the links in this article about pros and cons of hiring a babysitter may be affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, we may get a commission (at no extra cost to you). For more info, please see our disclaimer.
10 Pros and Cons of Hiring a Babysitter
So you’re considering hiring a babysitter. You might be weighing the pros and cons of doing so if you’ve never hired one before.
There are reasons to hire a babysitter and reasons not to. This list will help you decide which direction you want to go.
1. Pro: You Can Have a Much Deserved Break
The main reason you’re considering hiring a babysitter is probably because you need some time away from your child.
This isn’t something that should cause you guilt. Quite the contrary, every parent needs some space once in a while.
It can be very good for both you and your child.
If you’re going to a special event or having a date night, it is often best for everyone if your child doesn’t come along. The babysitter will be there to ensure your child is safe while you are enjoying yourself elsewhere.
2. Pro: Your Child Will Hear Other Voices
It’s important for a child to have experience with people other than mom or dad.
Being introduced to other adults will help to make your child more comfortable around people. This is especially helpful if you don’t have an extended network of friends and family who spend a lot of time with the baby.
Having a regular babysitter will help prepare your child for spending the day with a preschool or kindergarten teacher when that day comes. Older children can also benefit from new experiences.
The babysitter might read a book to them that they fall in love with or play a game that sparks their creativity.
3. Pro: Babysitters Can Come to You
You may feel some relief in knowing that your child is safe at home rather than in a stranger’s in-home daycare or at an institutional daycare.
While there are some babysitters who ask that children be brought to them, this is very rare. Babysitters will usually come to you, take care of your child in your home and follow the rules that you set forth.
You will be able to control food, environment and most entertainment. You also don’t have to worry that the home may not be fully safety proofed.
Lastly, you can set up a nanny cam in your own home so you can check on your child whenever you desire.
4. Pro: Your Child Will Have Individual Care
Most babysitters only care for the children in one family at a time. The babysitter won’t be splitting their time between multiple kids, as is the case with daycare settings.
The individual, one-on-one care helps to ensure your child’s safety and emotional wellbeing. You will also be relieved to know your child isn’t being bullied by other children or being exposed to behaviors you don’t approve of.
Lastly, multiple children in one place lends itself to germs and illness.
5. Pro: There is No Long-Term Commitment
Nannies and daycares require contracts that you cannot break without financial repercussions.
Contrarily, you can hire a babysitter for one day only if that’s what you prefer. You might make a standing commitment with a babysitter, like every Saturday night, but you are by no means forced to do so.
You can even try several different babysitters before you settle on the one that gets along best with your child.
The lack of a long-term commitment gives you the flexibility to try out this arrangement before you decide if you want to continue hiring a babysitter.
6. Con: Babysitting Might Not Be Consistent
Children need consistency. A babysitter who shows up some days and not others can be very confusing to your young child.
The lack of a regular schedule might cause them to feel a lack of security. This might encourage you to set up a standing, weekly date with your babysitter even if you don’t necessarily need them to watch your child.
You could end up spending more money and less time with your child than you had intended.
7. Con: The Cost Can Be High
Expect to pay about $20 an hour for your babysitter. If you are an hourly worker yourself, that cost may be too much for you.
Though the cost varies by state, it is rare to find a babysitter that charges less than $15 per hour. Any babysitter that charges much lower than that might signal a red flag.
Think about how much you can afford before you consider hiring that babysitter. Don’t forget that babysitters also accept tips. Add 20 percent to whatever the nightly rate is.
Young babysitters might expect you to provide food and even transportation as well.
8. Con: You Might Miss Certain Milestones
It’s always a fear for parents that they may miss certain milestones in their child’s development if they allow them to be cared for by someone else.
Will you miss the first words, first steps or first time rolling over? That can be enough to cause some parents to avoid babysitters for the first year or longer.
I only used a babysitter on a rare, must-have basis when my children were young because of this reason. When I did have a babysitter, I wondered what I was missing.
Those early years are so full of rapid changes that you truly can miss out if you’re not there.
9. Con: They May Not Be Certified
Babysitters do not have to be certified. There is no law saying that a babysitter must undergo certain types of training or have knowledge of CPR.
You might want this, but it is somewhat hard to find a part-time babysitter who puts a priority on babysitting certification.
I personally started babysitting when I was 12 and I wasn’t CPR and First Aid certified until I became a mom for the first time at age 30.
10. Con: Family is a Better Option
Is family an option for you?
That might be a better choice. Family members rarely charge for watching your child.
You also give them the joy of getting to spend time with their favorite new person in the family. With family, you know you have someone who you can trust to watch over your little one.
If you’re like me and don’t have family nearby, think of your friend circle as your extended family.
Babysitting is not for everyone. For others, it can be a lifesaver. Do you have any experience with babysitters?
Are you considering hiring a babysitter for your child? What are some of the pros and cons you have weighed? Tell us about it in the comments!