OWhen a family’s au pair decided to take a few days off from her usual babysitting duties, the mother turned to a community Facebook group in the Cranberry area in search of a baby. -sitter for her two children, aged 6 and 2.
“Pay range is negotiable from $20/hour,” the mother wrote on the private site, which has more than 8,000 members. “Besides, I’ll even buy you lunch both days.”
$20 an hour? Lunch?
The same is true this summer as parents try to find childcare help here – and across the country. Teenage babysitters and other caregivers are in high demand, as many parents have to return to work as the pandemic subsides or are simply eager to get out of the house.
Babysitters no longer have to settle for the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. A recent article in the the wall street journal said teenage babysitters in some parts of the country charge up to $30 or more — because they can.
Chloe Washburn, a 20-year-old student at the University of Pittsburgh, is paid around $20 an hour for her services. She noticed that parents are more willing to pay higher prices due to the pandemic.
“There has been an increase in rates over the years,” she says. “I used to only do it for $7 an hour, but I haven’t started charging more – parents have started giving me more, especially since the pandemic started. So many people are estranged these days that they will pay whatever it takes to get out and have some alone time or work.
Emma Christmann, a 17-year-old student at Seneca Valley High School, charges $12 an hour for her babysitting services. She thinks parents are willing to pay even more because teenagers have stopped doing this work.
“Parents are definitely willing to pay more,” says Emma. “I think parents are willing to spend so much because babysitters have been hard to come by lately – few teenagers care anymore, so when they find one they’re willing to spend a decent amount. “
A mother of four in Edgewood pays $25 an hour.
Nannies College + Sitters Pittsburgh is an online platform that allows families in the region to find childcare services. They provide both nanny and babysitting services. Nanny services provide families with a constant caregiver; childcare services allow families to schedule a caregiver on a flexible basis as needed, providing access to a variety of people.
Nikki Rimer, owner of College Nannies + Sitters Pittsburgh, says child care rates in the Pittsburgh market now range from $12 to $35 per hour. Those rates have increased dramatically in recent years, she says.
“When I first bought my college nanny and babysitter territory in 2016, the lines were different than they are now,” says Rimer. “We would see – for in-home child care – between $10 an hour and $25 an hour. Now we see between $12 and $35 per hour.
Rimer attributes this rate increase to the pandemic and the national shortage of child care workers. She says this allows babysitters to charge higher hourly prices because parents need their services.
“Supply is low and demand is high, there are so many opportunities for child care workers right now that they just have to choose the best opportunity, and they can go ahead and do it. do,” says Rimer. “They demanded more for their hourly rates and families are willing to pay because otherwise they don’t have childcare options.”
According to Rimer, the pandemic has spurred the increase in the need for home child care because child care centers have closed and parents have started working from home. Additionally, parents found they enjoyed being close to their children during this new work situation, reinforcing the need for babysitters.
“The other reason is there’s a national shortage of child care staff, and that’s affecting child care centers as well,” Rimer said. “We have a lot of families who are on waiting lists for daycare, but they can’t get their kids into daycare. They are therefore pushed to have their children looked after at home while waiting to enter daycare.
KDKA News covered how inflation is also driving up child care costs, focusing on child care in Pittsburgh. Ahead of the curve, a daycare center in Plum, increased its rates in April to face market competition. Susan Bia, the owner, said the $100 increase was necessary to keep the daycare running smoothly.
“I had to raise to $100 so I could afford to give our teachers raises, hire new staff and a competitive rate, and pay for everything else,” Bia told KDKA News. “We provide food, so the cost goes to groceries. It’s outrageous right now. Everything from Kleenex to ink for worksheets, to wipes, to cleaning products. »
High daycare fees deter families. While home childcare costs are similar, parents prefer to choose babysitters to make childcare more convenient for them.
Josh Murray, a 23-year-old child behavior technician, charges $16 an hour for his babysitting job. He thinks parents are willing to pay a high price because having a trusted babysitter is of the utmost importance.
“Some are willing to pay $30 an hour if they leave their children in the care of someone other than themselves,” Murray says. “They want to be sure that it’s a good person who’s going to take care of them like the parent would, and they realize how important and meaningful that is to them.”
Child care is essential for families. Rimer said parents are willing to pay high hourly prices because they have no other options.
“That’s really why a family is willing to pay up to $30+ an hour for child care,” Rimer said. “Because if they don’t, they might not have childcare, so they can’t go to work or even work from home.”