Pricey Playdates


Our friends Amy and Ned called the other day to ask our advice about a babysitter dilemma.  They recently hired a new sitter, Jade, and they adore her – as do their 6 year old twins!  Jade is caring, fun-loving and creative – and the girls took to her immediately.

The problem arose when the twins had a friend over for a playdate.  At the end of the evening, when Jade was tallying up her hours, she mentioned that her rate for three children was $20 per hour – not the $15 she normally charged to watch the two girls.

Amy and Ned had totally different reactions – Amy was shocked that Jade charged more for the time she spent watching the friend, while Ned actually thought it made sense. Though both wished they had known about her “playdate rate” in advance, it hadn’t occurred to either of them to ask – and Jade hadn’t brought it up either.

Now Amy feels like she made a mistake hiring Jade, and wants to look for someone new since it’s only been a week.  But Ned thinks she is so good with the twins that they should just keep her and pay a bit extra when friends come over.

So – what do you think? Is it ok for a babysitter to charge more to watch extra children? Or should supervising playdates just be considered part of standard duties?  Have you had babysitters charge for this sort of thing? Should they fire Jade or keep her? What would you do?


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4 Responses to “Pricey Playdates”

  1. Nelly says:

    I think it’s ok for JAde to charge extra for an extra child. It’s more work for the baby sitter.
    What’s not okay is that Jade said nothing. That’s not right.

    However, I also think that firing Jade is shortsighted. It’s hard to get a great babysitter.

    My suggestion would be to have a frank talk with Jade and let her know you don’t like these kinds of surprises and that in the future if there’s going to be an extra charge for something, Jade must let them know beforehand, or else it’s not going to be paid.

  2. Alice says:

    I agree. Another child is added responsibility and deserves an increase in salary, but it should be discussed beforehand. To lose a good babysitter over lack of initial communication would be folly. Open the lines of communication and encourage her to keep you in the loop on everything. Bad communicators tend to not communicate well about everything!

  3. Melissa says:

    I don’t get it, I actually don’t think it is harder with an extra kid over who is a friend. If they can play together, then having a friend over is actually easier. The kids entertain one another.
    All of my nannies have welcomed having another child over. We had a friend whose nanny wouldn’t allow playdates because she didn’t want to “take care of two kids” so that child just had no playdates.
    Agree with other commenters that the babysitter and the parents just need to discuss it beforehand so all are on same page.

  4. Annie says:

    You cannot be upset at the nanny for not mentioning it if you also did not think to bring it up before bringing another kid to your childcare. Childcare is the imperative word here. This isn’t a playdate. You can’t “Buy One, Get One.” It is the same at any school or daycare, you cannot simply add another child to their mix without paying the cost. If you haven’t hired a nanny before, this is one of those questions parents often forget to discuss. Being a nanny is this woman’s profession, she charged a reasonable rate based on the number of children, and should be payed accordingly. Don’t fire her over this miscommunication, new employee situations take time to sort out and good babysitters are very VERY hard to find.

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