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The best babysitters are in high demand, especially on weekends. If you need a night out and are searching for someone to watch your kids, you probably know that you can't always count on friends or family. This means expanding your caretaking network - but reliable babysitters come at a cost, one that should be factored into your annual household budget.

Here are some options for finding the best babysitters and deciding how much to pay them.

Consult Your Local Parent Network

Your local parent network can often provide the most reliable sources of babysitting prices and other child care advice. If you're not sure about the going rate, other moms and dads can suggest the most current hourly prices. More than anyone else, a fellow parent will understand how important it is to take a break and recharge, so most will happily share information. Local parents' groups may also provide babysitting information online through Facebook groups.

Ask Teachers and Day Care Providers

Teachers and day care providers are another good resource for babysitting. Those who work with kids every day in school should have the proper training and be accustomed to dealing with young children. Plus, if both you and your children already have a relationship with a daytime provider, you may feel more comfortable heading out the door for a night on the town.

Consider College Students

College or high school students are another babysitting option. Whether a student lives in your neighborhood or has previously worked with your kids as a camp counselor, you can usually find a teenage babysitter looking for extra cash. Students also generally charge less than more experienced child care professionals. If you decide to go this route, ask teens for references and have them spend time with your kids under your supervision before leaving for the evening. For safety purposes, ask the babysitters if they've taken a first aid or babysitter's course.

Navigate the Online Community

Online resources can help you determine your babysitting budget and point you in the direction of agencies who can pair you up with babysitters in your area. In addition to web-based services, you can also use smartphone apps like UrbanSitter to look for available sitters close to you. Parents can search babysitter profiles, including references and experience. Most apps allow you to contact the babysitter directly, and some are equipped to handle payments. Although browsing for available sitters may be free, expect to pay service fees if you intend to move forward and hire someone through an agency. You'll have the option of committing to a monthly or annual membership, depending on your frequency of use.

Devise a Babysitting Budget

According to, the national average rate for babysitters is $15.02 per hour. Other factors may affect the amount you should expect to pay, according to For example, you may need to pay more based on the sitter's travel time and the number of kids they will watch. Prices also vary by geographic location and the babysitter's experience. A search of online postings may help you determine how much you should expect to pay to ensure that you're not budgeting too high or too low.

Investing in a reliable babysitter is well worth the effort when you need a night out. Spend time interviewing potential candidates and check references or online profile information before hiring someone new. As a parent, you know your kids better than anyone does, and you want to be sure they're happy and safe when you leave them for a night out. To ensure that you fully enjoy your time away, add the cost of child care to your budget and be prepared to pay the market price to hire a well-qualified babysitter.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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