What Is a Babysitter?

A better name for a babysitter (someone who temporarily cares for children on behalf of the children's parents or guardians) might be "sitter," as babysitters take care of children of all ages in need of supervision.


Sitters are generally responsible for planning activities (games, sports, art) or supervising playdates. But some sitters will have other responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning, driving to and from scheduled activities, and helping with homework. Above all else, a babysitter is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the children while the children are in their care. 


Most babysitting jobs are considered part-time jobs, paid by the hour, either by specific occasion or regularly scheduled (everyday from 3-6 p.m. or every Saturday night, for example).  Because babysitters are paid by the hour, jobs are paid by the going hourly rate in the area.  To find out what the babysitter rate is in your town, read our article "What is the Going Rate for a Babysitter?"


You can negotiate your pay. If you feel that you have more experience and should be paid more than the going rate, you can discuss payment with the family. Use the Care.com babysitting rates calculator to show the family the average rate in the town and discuss which qualifications you possess that may put you at a higher pay scale. 


Also, ask the family about taxes and earnings. Depending on how much you earn, you may need to pay taxes on your income. You can read our article about nanny taxes to learn more. Although the article is about nanny taxes, the same laws apply to babysitters.  Visit your state's website or IRS.gov to learn more about babysitting taxes.  


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