Should you charge family for babysitting?

Erica - posted on 01/18/2011 ( 204 moms have responded )

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I have been watching my great niece now for 9 months. I love her to pieces but have 4 kids of my own and alot going on. I have asked her to get on child care assistance and to get a daycare and she blows me off. Baby daddy doesnt pay support, because he doesnt have a job. He doesnt keep the little girl beacuse " he doesnt like getting up early." My niece lives with my in-laws so doesnt have any bill expept car ins, cell bill(in my name) and stuff for the baby!!!
Would it be wrong of me to start charging her for child care or should I keep doing what I have been doing?

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My feelings on watching family are... I do it when needed for appointments, etc... on occasion and don't charge (ends up being once every couple of weeks, sometimes a little more), but if I'm watching your kid on a daily basis or watching him/her so you can make money.... I make money too.

Lissa - posted on 01/18/2011

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Personally I think you have helped her out and now it's time for her to sort out childcare whether it's paying you or getting other daycare. I am wondering why her phone is in your name? I am all for helping out family and friends but nine months is long enough for her to have sorted an alternative especially when you have asked her to do so. I would feel taken advantage of if I had four children and someone else expected me to look after their child all the time.

Laura - posted on 01/18/2011

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Babysitting here and there I wouldn't charge. Like my nephews have stayed with us a couple of weekends (but my boys love it too) but in a couple of months I'll be watching them daily and I will get paid. It's a lot of work and another mouth too feed. I wouldn't prob charge as much as an actually daycare, but I would charge something.

Amy - posted on 01/18/2011

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If you don't want to do it anymore just say it's too much to watch your daughter with my 4 kids, I'll give you a month (or however long you feel necessary) to come up with an alternative arrangement. If you are willing to do it for monetary compensation then tell her how much you want. After the time is up if she still is dropping her daughter off then I would make it a point not to be there when she normally shows up.
I'm assuming this is your hubbies sister have you talked to him about what's going on? I know you're the one watching her but I'm sure you don't want to start a family issue without having his support since it is his family. Good luck!

Sherri - posted on 01/18/2011

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She is taking advantage and you should be charging for daycare. Even my best friends I charge for daycare.

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204 Comments

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Anika - posted on 01/24/2011

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I think it depends on the relationship you have with your family member. Everyone knows there family member and knows what they are capable of, some take the ....! While others don't. Has she tried looking for daycare? I personally will feel bad leaving my daughter for an extended amount of time with someone without giving something back, even if it's not money. But she seems like shes taking advantage and think you should let her know in a nice way!

Archana - posted on 01/24/2011

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It is a tough decision to take, considering that its such a close family involved. After all, who knows that in a few years you yourself may not require their help. so, its no good souring relationships like this..If I had been in your position, I'd have told the kid's parents to arrange for a helping hand or a maid or a baby sitter and then send the baby to you. You'll then have an extra hand to deal not only with their kid but also yours. After all, your four children too need help. You must have a face-to-face straight, but soft, talk with her. Let her understand how she would have dealt with the situation, had she been in your shoes? Good luck.

Stacy - posted on 01/24/2011

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Depends on the circumstances. In yours, I'd say *absolutely*. You're a loving aunt, not a doormat.

Liz - posted on 01/24/2011

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Even if you dont charge her much. Like 100 a week that is reasonable. I would talk to her again and if she blows you off then nicely tell her she has a month to find a new sitter.

Jackie - posted on 01/24/2011

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Once I baby kept a family member's child because I was layed off. I never asked for money & the person didn't offer me money. The person would get paid, go shopping rather than come get their child, come in show me all the things they bought but never bought me anything. Soon my feelings were hurt. I then ask for $25 a week & they told me they couldn't pay me so I gave them a 2 wk notice & stopped. They then had to pay $100 weekly. Hopefully that person learned not to take the advantage of nice people in this world.

Pat - posted on 01/24/2011

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my sister-in-law watched my twin girls till they were 2 1/2 and she got paid. I would have to pay a non family member to watch my girls so why would I not pay a family member when it is full time day care. i think you need to give a 30 day notice or come up with a date that works for both of you and then stick with it. It is okay to watch your great niece on an emergency basis or when you just wnt to spend time with her but if you are watch full time day care you should get paid. I have day care at a church and I used to pay 150.00 a week. not sure what full time is now since they are in school. good luck

Renata - posted on 01/24/2011

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I think you should explain to her your situation, and nicelly tell her how you feel..good luck

IZABELA - posted on 01/24/2011

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Consider why you are thinking about this. If you simply do not have the time to watch her child then by all means, tell her that firmly. If you feel you should be compensated for the help(certainly you have helped her out long enough) then say that too. Whatever you decide DO discuss it with her soon. YOu don't want to create negative feeling between you which could easily be avoided by being honest. My aunt helped me with my twins for two weeks after they were born. I thought she was being kind-hearted but when she told me she wouldn't pay me back $500 she owed me because she was keeping it as payment for helping with my kids I just about lost it. For $500 I could hire someone to take full responsibility of the child care. So there are now hard feelings between us because I feel cheated/lied to and she feels I have no right to feel this way. Good luck to you.

Kerrie - posted on 01/24/2011

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I don't normally reply as my neice as signed me up for this site but WOW- I am a mum of 3 and I have kids here on and off over the holidays, whilst their parents are working, and don't charge as they take mine for a day here and there. how ever when I had a boy everyday for three weeks I got paid ... FAMILY OR NOT , she is taking advantage, AS for the comment I read earlier, you should not charge that is what family is for... that I personally believe is wrong... and with saying that my husband and I moved over 3 hour flight away from our families just because of attitudes like that.

Christina - posted on 01/24/2011

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In this situation I don't think it's wrong to charge her @all. It will actually help her in the long run because it will teach her responsibility, discipline, & also that not everything is free in life as well. Some single mothers don't have this option & if it continues this way, in my opinion, it is easy for them to take the help for granted. It is not your responsibiliy to provide for your niece's (you obviously have a big heart) but it gets rough & you need help too and there's nothing wrong with suggesting this to her! Good luck!

Tracy - posted on 01/24/2011

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As a general rule, I think definitely not....however this is not a favour occasionally but almost a full-time job. It's awful to think that family members are taking you for granted, but I think in this case your niece is. I understand how hard it is to try and work, etc when you are a single parent, I am one myself, however my son goes into daycare, I would NEVER expect a family member to sit my son, day after day without paying them. In fact in your situation with your own children I don't think I would ask at all.

As a parent it is our job to raise our children and that includes the burden (don't like that word but couldn't think of anything else right now) of responsibility for us AND our children, and although family are there to "help out", they aren't there as permanent carers. Your niece needs to learn to stand on her own 2 feet, not only for her sake but for that of her child. She needs to be a responsible role model for her daughter, right now I couldn't say that she is.

All the best Erica, it's hard when it's family, and you sound so lovely, don't let her take advantage any more.

Erica - posted on 01/24/2011

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OK so some of you ladies want more information... When I started watching her I was called and asked if I could do it becuase "baby daddy" was sick. I as a parent understand why you would not want your young child around a sick person, so I said I could keep her. After that it became on a regular basic mostly 5 days a week from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. She tries to make me feel guilty if one of my own kids are sick or I have other plans that day. I am also a PTO officer at my children's school which I was committed to before starting to keep her. She is 21 her dad is around but her mother is not that often( when it is conveint for her). I want to be there for her since she doesnt have a good mother figure in her life but like alot of you have said I feel like I am being taken advantage of sometimes.

Rebecca - posted on 01/24/2011

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Sounds to me like the mom and dad have some growing up to do possibly. I'd be kind and loving in your decision and discussion about it. Make sure you and your husband decide together what to do whether to be compensated or not do it at all. I've been in a similar situation and it is very easy for the mom to take advantage of you!! I had that happening to me too. She wouldn't come right home from work most times! And would want help at other times as well! That is over now... Now today I watch my Nephew ( different situation) but, I don't charge them anything. I watch him 3 days a week. I am a single mom (widow) myself, but able to be home. We've had conversations in the begining and kindly put it all out on the table. I communicated what I could do and what I could not do...and they respect that and fall into those wishes. I simply watch him so my sister and brother in law can get to work. They don't ask for any more and get him the moment they are done working. This arrangement helps them out immensely as they are working towards being debt free! Helping family out can be a blessing to them and to you if all those involved have the right heart and mind about it. And yes when her side is sick or mine is sick I don't watch him at all and she finds another way...period....it is completely understood that way!!!
Being a single mom I've found out you've always got to have a back up plan when it comes to babysitting or daycare! Always!!! So my sister makes sure she has a backup somehow. Good luck to you!! Hope things work for you!

Connie - posted on 01/24/2011

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and im sure she will forget to pay her but like u said, its gonna be a hard situation to get control of and just to let u know my grnephew is 17 and sitting in my living room he has been here for 2 months he refuses to go back home and my understanding is erica is a full time baby sitter there is alot of difference baby sitting here and there then there is everyday she has to include this child in her family affairs and this child is gonna be more part of ericas family then her own parents and if the father doesnt like getting up early too bad get a job or babysit your own child

Justina - posted on 01/24/2011

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My hub and I will even pay Gramma when she watches our kids, even though neither Gramma ever wants money, but it's a courtesy- and if neither will take money I get them gift cards to the grocery store, and have even gone so far as just to buy groceries for my parents and bring them over...She is taking advantage and you should gently ask her for some sort of compensation as to what she can afford, or tell her Daddy can start getting up early (for Pete's sake- what the heck!).... good luck :)

Mel - posted on 01/24/2011

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I think she will "forget" to pay you, given what you have said. Personally, I couldn't charge family. That said, I would not take on the responsibility of watching their children daily. I think you should give her 30 days notice, and then not be in when she calls to drop the baby off. Say it is too much for you with your own kids. She is taking advantage of your good nature.

Connie - posted on 01/24/2011

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i would tell her and make sure she is listening that she has say 2 weeks to get an alternative daycare or you will start charging her (what ever you think is appropriate) and if she doesnt comply then refuse to watch the child i got caught up in a mess like that i ended up having the child until he was 7 years old he starting coming to our house when he was 6 months if you dont put your foot down the mother will take advantage as long as u let her

Tracy - posted on 01/24/2011

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I agree with most of the posts I've read. If it's once in a while, even on a routine, why not do it for free or swap babysitting. HOWEVER, if you are her daycare center, than I would charge her. Give a warning time frame so she knows it's going to happen, make sure your hubby stands behind you to prevent any friction there. Also wouldn't charge full day care costs, and would get the cell phone out of your name.

Kerri - posted on 01/24/2011

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to me it doesnt sound like it has anything to do with money, it sounds more like you have too much on your plate...i personaly do not charge friends or family for babysitting if it has to do with work now if its for them to go out and have fun then i let them know ahead of time i charge for that

Alma - posted on 01/24/2011

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No it would not be wrong to charge for childcare if she says no then say sorry but I have to do what is best for my family first.

Natasha - posted on 01/24/2011

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I don't think it is unreasonable to expect some payment for caring for the little girl. If she is off doing actual school/college study Matbe not because she is trying to better her self but if it is because she is working or just socialising then absolutely she need to pay for the care. I pay my daughter for looking after her sister during the school holidays. My daughter is 16 and could be doing her own thing but she knows that she is needed to help during the holidays so I pay her for what she has given up for that day so then the days she can go out because her sister is with someone else she has money to be able to enjoy her time out.

Kristin - posted on 01/24/2011

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I did the same thing for my sister and the first time I did it, she took complete advantage of me. I had to babysit whenever she felt like doing something. Well I helped her out again and the second time I babysat for her I made her pay me, so she could see the boundaries of a sort of business arrangement between us. I would tell her to either find other arrangements or pay up, you've got your hands full already and you're doing her a favor so she can show you she appreciates what you're doing and give you some compensation. Hope this helps.

Kim - posted on 01/24/2011

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helping someone is fine and dandy - being taken advantage of (paying a cell bill & free baby-sitting for over 9 months when the "dead-beat dad" could/should be watching his own child) is uncalled for, JMO

I've helped many people and they've helped me - it's friendship/family. But times are tough ... it costs money to feed a family and clothe a family, so the mother of this child Needs to help pay for the daily necessities her child requires. $10-$20 a day is more than fair, in all honesty. It's a job - think about it. Baby-sitting is a job. Helping family is wonderful, but don't be taken for granted, that just causes hard feelings.

Linda - posted on 01/24/2011

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Their is lots of wonderful advice here but you are the only one who can decide in your heart what you want to do. I've been through a similar situation with my stepdaughter and we are now adoptive parents to those kids. I love them dearly but it's not easy raising kids and then practically raise your neice too. Good Luck and take care!

Jennifer - posted on 01/24/2011

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THANK YOU MARJORIE! LOL Most of the responses honestly shocked me. With the economic down turn I would have thought people would be more in the world war two mind set of helping each other when we can.

Marjorie - posted on 01/24/2011

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If i'm in the position where i can volunteer to do so i will,only when in this situation she's facing at this time.as a close family member,i do it out of love for my family,i will even do it for friends,as long as it is not a strained taking care of your 4 kids,as long as you can manage all 5.
If you do not have a very young kid of your own that will need your attention also.

Jennifer - posted on 01/24/2011

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WE also have to understand that having a lot going on is relative. I babysat for free for a friend today. She had a 4 yr old, a 2 yr old and a 6 month old. I have Lupus, am on chemo, and have a broken foot in a boot. I would say I have a lot going on but she is worried about her son and wanted to see a school that might be better for him so in her world she has a lot going on too. We just have to decided what we are willing to do and why.

Jennifer - posted on 01/24/2011

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If they ask and you say yes then no you shouldn't charge! We need to get back to the days when we simply helped each other out because it was the right thing to do. If you are going to feel like you are being put out simply say no and get on with it. IF you or a family member is loking for work and another family member offer's you a JOB of caring for a child for pay then say yes and treat it as such. In the old days neighbors and families just pitched in. The concept of community and "it takes a village" is a bit lost.

Kim - posted on 01/24/2011

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No are there are only two letters in this word. Say NO to them and ask which letter do they not understand. Get that boy to watch his child. That's why young girl should not have babies because they are CLUELESS to the Big picture!

Faith - posted on 01/24/2011

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I agree with most of the pther posters. If its occassional and a few hours here and there, we (our family) do not charge. But if its everyday or for a whole weekend we do. My in laws watch our kids off and on, no problem, but if they take them for a weekend or when we go on vacation, we offer them money because thats a long time and they are taking care of our kids. its not just a few hours or even just one day. Sounds like she is taking advantage and she will continue to do so if you let her. its not fair for you

Michele - posted on 01/24/2011

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I wholeheartedly agree with Teresa. I will do it occasionally as a favor, day off of school, if my sister wants to go out, etc. But daily is a JOB & should be treated as such no matter who you are.

Leslie - posted on 01/24/2011

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She is taking advantage of you, why don't grandma and grandpa babysit? She needs some tough love...time to pay up or shut up! I am sure that she can get state aid for daycare expenses, she should apply for these to pay you or find someone else to take care of the baby for free.
Refuse to watch the little one, take the cell phone from her and if the rest of the family gets mad, ask them to do the babysitting for free for the next 9 months...and to take some time to do it for your four kids too! That should keep them quiet!
Best of luck to you!

Kim - posted on 01/24/2011

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Just me, but if you are truly in need of either being paid or having her find other options - I would give a time limit, for example ... you have10-14 days to either start paying me (pick your price) per week/month, or find a new sitter. After 9 months, giving 30 days seems too long to me, jmo
If she agrees to paying you, get it in writing ... yes, even if it means going online, finding and printing out a contract/agreement, getting her signature and getting it notarised so it's all legal.
I've known far too many people who have been taken advantage of - get that agrement in writing or stop baby-sitting. Or just go on as you've been doing - the choice is yours. Blessings

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Yes Theresa I agree with you. I would only give her two wks. To find a sitter. The tougher you are maybe she will try harder. I would also ask daily how she is doing in finding daycare?

Mya - posted on 01/24/2011

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Do you feed the child, breakfast, lunch, snacks, let her wear your kids things when she is wet? Of course you do, you are actually paying the parents to look after their child. They may be family, but they are using, using, using you! Tell her it costs you to take care of the little girl and she must give you $20.00 a day or get child care "right away"! It is shameful that the mother of this child is not more responsible. She is getting a loving and caring child giver in you, something that can not be taken for granted in subsidized day care. She should gratefully give you anything you ask!

Mya - posted on 01/24/2011

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Do you feed the child, breakfast, lunch, snacks, let her wear your kids things when she is wet? Of course you do, you are actually paying the parents to look after their child. They may be family, but they are using, using, using you! Tell her it costs you to take care of the little girl and she must give you $20.00 a day or get child care "right away"! It is shameful that the mother of this child is not more responsible. She is getting a loving and caring child giver in you, something that can not be taken for granted in subsidized day care. She should gratefully give you anything you ask!

June - posted on 01/24/2011

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If you can afford not to charge, then no. But if you can use the extra money, I believe it would behoove the parents of the child to offer. Kids come with responsibility and the parents need to know that and its easy when getting help free to take advantage of someone. In the above scenario, I think that the niece should pay and she should take baby daddy to court; maybe he can't pay now, but he can play later when he starts working and the lien adds up.

Julie - posted on 01/24/2011

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if it just occasional night babysitting to let her have a night out or the occasional couple of hours for shopping hair dentist or what ever then no i wouldnt charge but why should you with your 4 kids basically ground yourself (you cant do anything cos how would you all fit in the car) i would charge for this because basicaly if the father cant be bothered then why should you. it may seem a petty thing to say but its true. tell her again either get day care or pay you. what does she do when your kids are poorly with something thats catching or if you are too poorly. no she's taking advantage. i love my neices and nephews to bits but wouldnt be taken advantage of. tell her NO

Lilia - posted on 01/24/2011

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There is nothing wrong with charging family members for providing daycare for their kids. You're providing a service for for your neice, and you are kind to do it considering she's in a bit of a tight spot. That having been said, it's been almost a year that you have been working for free. You wouldn't tolerate that at an office job; babysitting is a job too. My mom watched my 2 cousins for a few years. She charged them 20 dollars a day. when They didn't come, they didn't pay for that day. Family or not, you provide the same service that any other sitter would provide, but the other sitter wouldn't hesitate to charge 150 a week, and they will care for the child the same way that you would.

Wendy - posted on 01/24/2011

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I think if it is for a night out or a "fill in" NO FAMILY SHOULD NOT CHARGE, but if it is a regular thing like you have said I would give her a certain amount of days like 60 to find a center or get on welfare to child care assistance. She is taking advantage of you!

Roxana - posted on 01/24/2011

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YES you should charge her
you can say that you have a lot going on, you obviously love the girl but you really need to earn some money, so you won't be able to take care of the baby cause you are starting to look for a paid activity, she will understand and either she will offer you some money or she will let go
my own mother is taking care of my older son and I help her with some money, is natural, she really needs it and she would have gone taking a job, but I need her, I don't want to pay a stranger when I can help her and she help me, the baby totally love her, is the best arrangement ever

Laura - posted on 01/24/2011

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It sounds like you have been generously helpful to her. If you do enjoy watching her I would ask for a reasonable amount of money (maybe $40 a day?) so that it would be less than daycare (so still helping her out) but a bit of compensation for your hard work. I would give her 30 days to decide if you she wants to continue having you watch her or if she wants to seek other daycare. I would have her pay you weekly.

Lovena - posted on 01/24/2011

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I think you have them out loads and since they have refuse to apply for state aide sitting help along with a day care. I think you have every right to request and expect to be paid child care. Or to get your point accost you may need to make and take a stand of not watching the child till an understanding is reach. You and you family must be prepare for what this may cost you all too if you take this stand. I have basically been call every name possible out there. Told of how no good I'm along with refuse to be paid by the person. Claiming that I'm causing drama. Which I feel my time is important to me and my health. So I totally walked away from that part of the family altogether. Which does hurt but my health is more important to me along with my respect for myself to not be used.
You must decide for yourself and your family should be in that choice of yours and willing to stand behind out with you on it.

Glenda - posted on 01/24/2011

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I think if you are watching her on a daily basis, then yes you should charge. If she is eligible for childcare assistance, in some states, they will help pay you for watching her. In PA it used to be the parents paid a portion and they would help with the rest of the cost. It is better than no compensation. I know you love your family, but if you are being taken advantage of then you have to draw the line somewhere and say what you really feel.

Jeana - posted on 01/24/2011

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Would she work for free? I doubt it. Ask her what person works for free. I have watched family and close friends kids. Im not doing a favor this is a job just like any other pay up. If she gets help from the state they will pay you and you can get pd for feeding her along with your own children. Actually can make a nice amount of money. When I did it for family I only charged what the state would pay so gave them a break on that but the 4-c food program pays very well. Look into it. But remember nothing in life is free.

Alana - posted on 01/24/2011

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I would just give her notice that it's too much for you to watch her child any further. I don't like the idea of charging her because she's family, unless she suggests it because she'd rather have you than a daycare - then you can decide. But consider that scenario - what if you agree to accept payment and she doesn't pay on time. You'll end up with further issues. I'd stop with ample notice (keep in mind that getting care for a small child can take time, so a month is generous).

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