With Babysitter Costs on the Rise, Here Are Tips for Sneaking in Affordable Date Nights

How much are you paying for a sitter?

By: Amanda Mushro


Photo by: ONOKY - Eric Audras

ONOKY - Eric Audras

We’ve seen price hikes in just about every place we shop–from food and clothes to big-ticket items like cars and houses. However, parents are also noticing that the price of a babysitter has increased as well. Whether you’re hiring a sitter during the day or planning a date night with your partner, be prepared to spend more for childcare.

According to a new survey from UrbanSitter, parents saw an 11% rate hike in 2021 for babysitting prices. This is in contrast to the rates rising just 3.9% from 2019 to 2020. To put those percentages into dollars, the national average rate for child care is $20.57 an hour for one child, $23.25 an hour for two, and $24.35 an hour for three kids. Of course this varies by city–New York City has the highest average rates of $23.45 an hour for one child, and is closely followed by the San Francisco area where the going rate for a sitter is $23.32. In third place is Seattle with $21.23 an hour for one child.

There are a number of factors to why we’re paying top dollar for sitters, from inflation to an increased need for sitters, but experts say it could also be that families are able to hire sitters with more experience and skills.

"Over the past two years (we’ve seen) a big increase in nurses, teachers (and) early childhood education specialists leaving those roles," Lynn Perkins, chief executive officer of UrbanSitter told NBC news. "As they’re coming into the child care field and working for families one on one, they’re able to charge a much higher rate because they’re bringing this set of skills with them."

While we agree that childcare workers should be paid what they deserve, it can put a strain on the family budget to add additional hours of care — especially for date nights. If the price of a babysitter doesn’t fit into your budget, here are a few creative ways to steal a few child-free hours with your partner.

  • Planning date night at home may not be ideal, but with a little creativity, you can get some quality time with your partner and that doesn't include cutting up your kids' chicken nuggets. Need some inspiration for at-home date ideas? Here are six of our favorite date night details.
  • If you and your partner have the same work schedule during the day, try scheduling a lunch date. If your children are already being cared for by a sitter or are at school or daycare, use your lunch break as a day date.
  • Swap kids with a friend or relative. Offer to keep their kids while they go out and then let them return the favor. This way everyone gets a night out and your kids get two playdates.
  • Check your area for kids' nights. Often businesses like gyms or kids programs will offer a kids night where they entertain and feed the kids and you get the chance to sneak in a date night. While you’ll have to pay for your kids to attend, the cost may be less than paying for a sitter.
  • Ask family if they are willing to hang out with your kids. You may need to be flexible with the times you’re able to leave your kids, but if you find a free sitter in a family member — go for it!
  • Ask neighbors for teenagers who babysit. It’s a great way for them to make money and gain experience and if you have older kids, it’s a great way for you to be able to get a date night in.


Next Up

Made-Up Baby Names Are on the Rise, Survey Finds

Parents are giving their babies unique monikers.

Move Halloween to Saturday? A Petition by Parents Says Halloween Should Happen the Last Saturday in October

Should Halloween be on the 31 of October or should it always happen on a Saturday?

Do Kids Need ‘Toddler Milk?’ Here’s What Parents Need to Know

Should toddler milk be in your little one’s cup?

These Parents Had to Sue Their 30-Year-Old Son to Get Him to Move Out of Their House

For one couple, the subtle hints to their 30-year-old son who needed to get a job and move out turned into eviction notices and a visit to a judge.

What to Do When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Hug a Family Member

Check out these tips before relatives arrive for the holidays.

A Global Study of Plastic Toys Finds Over 100 Substances That May Be Harmful to Children

Your kids' food isn't the only thing that might contain harmful chemicals.

How to Create a Morning Routine that Works for Your Entire Family

Take the rush out of your morning with a routine that will make everything a little easier.

Fun Indoor Activities for When It’s Too Cold to Play Outside

We have some fun creative ideas to get your kids busy this winter. From forts to fun DIYs, your children are sure to stay occupied without the great outdoors!