I have been babysitting/cleaning for a family for about 2 years now. Basically nannying, but not full-time. This family has 4 children, all about 2 years apart. Oldest is 9 and the youngest just turned 1. Besides just watching kids, I also do basic housework such as sweeping, keeping the kitchen clean, and keeping laundry going.

I got this summer off because I have an internship in a different city, and the mother is texting me asking if I would like to start work again when I come back. I wouldn't mind really, I miss the kids and I like the family, but I've realized the amount I get paid is nowhere near worth the hours I spend there. So far, she has been paying me $7 an hour, which I don't feel is enough. We live in a high-income area (Seattle area).

I've been babysitting for 11 years (2 for this family), and am CPR/First Aid Certified. I am a college student, so educated, but not any child-education sense. But I also have worked in a church day care, so I have that kind of experience.

How would I go about asking her for a raise? I'd like to know from the parents' point of view how they would like to be approached.

I would also like to know how much is a reasonable charge. I know asking for an exact price I should charge is silly, but I would just like to know if $7 for 4 kids is ridiculous, or if that's me.

  • 1
    Unfortunately what's reasonable varies wildly depending on your location within the US. For example in big cities such as DC, New York, and San Francisco in the nice parts of town it is not uncommon to get paid $12-15/hour for one child, while in lower income parts of the country that would be considered absurd. Pay also depends on your education level (someone with a masters in ECE commands more than a high school grad) , years of experience, and responsibility.
    – justkt
    Aug 13, 2013 at 19:26
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    Related. Regarding your edits, I think that is probably a bit beyond the scope of this site. "How do I ask for a raise" is (arguably) marginally on-topic. "How much is fair" is subjective, and varies widely depending upon a number of factors, as justkt has noted.
    – user420
    Aug 13, 2013 at 19:45
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    International Nanny Association Salary and Benefits Survey from 2009-2012; care.com's list of Seattle nannies including the pay they plan to charge per hour; 4nannytaxes.com's DC-area nanny salary survey (disparity between employers and employees is important here); these are the kind of resources I recommend for doing some basic salary data before talking to your boss. Parenting.SE can't really help you get what you need.
    – justkt
    Aug 13, 2013 at 21:21
  • Oh the INA link is perfect. I didn't know they had that kind of data available. Thanks so much.
    – Bobo
    Aug 13, 2013 at 21:27
  • 1
    freelancing.stackexchange.com might be a good place for this question.
    – unor
    Aug 15, 2013 at 21:46

2 Answers 2


I am a parent who employs a nanny for child caregiving purposes. I believe we pay our nanny a fair market wage, but if she wanted a raise I would want her to ask for a time to sit down with my husband and I (her joint employers) in person other than a time she was scheduled to work. I would want her to have a reasoned explanation why she deserved a raise. Reasons I would consider as good would be:

  • She discovered that the market rate for nannies with her experience, credentials, and responsibilities was higher than she was getting paid. For this discovery I'd want some back-up other than "My one friend is making this much." I know nanny pay surveys are notoriously unreliable but I'd at least find them somewhat fair data.
  • She believes her responsibility amount has increased since we began employing her without her raises covering the role change.

One reason which, to me, would not make a significant amount of sense is that she could earn more in another position. While we like our nanny quite a bit and hope she chooses to stay with our family we are not willing to pay significantly above market rate to compete with a different career field. Some families might be, but we are not.

She would have to determine before this meeting what her response to the outcome would be. If we said yes, then would she be willing to sign a new contract with her new wage and any other changes? If we said no would she be willing to meet us somewhere in the middle on the salary? What is the minimum salary for which she would work for us?

If your employers don't meet your stated minimum and you chose not to return to their employ you will want to try and handle leaving as graciously as possible in order to preserve them as a reference. Try to figure out how to leave while inconveniencing them the least - can you help cover the transitional period while they find a new nanny? Can you introduce them to a friend who might be a good new nanny candidate for them?

As a tip, I would consider being a part-time nanny a "real job." It may not be your chosen long term career, but nannying is a job that deserves respect. It's hard and good work.

  • Oh I didn't mean nannying isn't a real job, I know how hard it is. What I meant was the only info I could find referred to office jobs and such.
    – Bobo
    Aug 13, 2013 at 19:09

Yes, $7.00 an hour is ridiculous. You are being taken advantage of.

I have three kids. The youngest is now 12, so we don't really need a babysitter anymore, but not too long ago, we hired babysitters to watch them during day during summer break.

We were hiring them to watch three kids, the youngest of which was 8 or 9. They did not do any housework other than cleaning up mess (and even that, we expected them to have the kids do it, not do it themselves). We also live in a lower cost of living area than Seattle. I would have felt bad paying them $7.00 an hour.

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