Is a Mother’s Helper a Good Option for Your Family?

Think of a Mother’s Helper as a pre-babysitter.

By: Amanda Mushro

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Photo by: Adie Bush

Adie Bush

Parenting is hard and it often feels like our work is never done. So, cut yourself a break and hire someone to help! If the cleaning and laundry are starting to pile up in your home and you just need someone to entertain your kids while you get caught up, do it! If you are looking for a childcare option that is flexible, affordable, and lets you get some work done around the house while your kids are entertained, a "Mother’s Helper" might be a good fit for you and your family.

What is a Mother’s Helper?

Often considered a "babysitter in training," a mother’s helper is usually a tween girl or boy who helps take care of kids while the parents are still at home. Usually the Mother’s Helpers are too young to officially babysit, but are still very helpful in playing and entertaining kids while supervised. They gain experience with taking care of kids so when they are old enough to babysit, they have the skills needed. Mother's Helpers are not required to have any specific training, but CPR and first aid training are recommended.

Who Is a Mother’s Helper a Good Option For?

  • Work-from-home parents
  • Parents who need to get chores or work done in their home
  • Parents who have multiple young children and are looking for someone to play with the older kids while the parents tend to baby

What Are the Benefits of a Mother’s Helper?

  • You can get a much-needed break!
  • Because of their age and since a parent is still in the house, you won’t pay a Mother’s Helper as much as a regular babysitter.
  • You’ll have a lot of flexibility with this childcare option and you won’t have to pay a sitter or nanny a daily or weekly rate.
  • For older kids, Mother’s Helpers can assist with homework.
  • If you have laundry or cleaning to tackle in your home, you can do it uninterrupted.
  • If you are trying to decide between hiring sometime to clean your home or hiring a Mother’s Helper so you can clean your home, you’ll spend less money on the Mother’s Helper.
  • They can make easy snacks and meals for your kids and take over lunch or dinner time while you work.

What Are the Downsides of a Mother’s Helper?

  • If you want to leave your home to work, run errands, or have a date night with your partner, a Mother’s Helper is not a great option for you.
  • If you are looking for someone who will do light housekeeping as well as taking care of the kids, a Mother’s Helper won’t do all of this work.
  • Because of their age, you’ll need to set clear expectations and boundaries. They will have little to no training when it comes to taking care of kids. Don’t assume the Mother’s Helper will know all of your house rules when it comes to the kitchen, playing outside, and screen time.
  • This type of childcare is not a great option for infants.

How Much Should You Pay a Mother’s Helper?

Traditionally, you’ll pay them less than a babysitter or nanny — often half of what you would pay a babysitter. The set price should be discussed with the Mother’s Helper’s parents. Once they have gained some experience, you should reconsider how much you will pay them.

How Do I Find a Mother’s Helper

Start by looking at local parenting or neighborhood social media groups. Ask friends or neighbors if they have any recommendations for tweens or teens who are interested in becoming a Mother’s Helper. If you are in a playgroup, ask if they recommend anyone.

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