For LGBT Families Day, I thought I would answer, as a former nanny with 11 years experience, the burning question I see on Craigslist Childcare columns these days:

What and How Do We Pay a Babysiter or Nanny?!

The differences between babysitters and nannies are as follows:

Babysitters are not employees, they are occasional helpers. Taxes need not be involved. Nannies are long term wage employees where taxes should be involvedbabysitter and all workers rights upheld. Here is a Nanny Tax Calculator.

Babysitters do very little or no cleaning/laundry and very minimal or no cooking. Nannies are often responsible for all cleaning and laundry with regard to the child and some other chores.

Babysitters are usually not responsible for your child outside of your property and a walk around the neighborhood. Nannies often drive the children, do errands with them and act as a parent would out in the world.

Children are generally more well-behaved and easier on a babysitter because it is a relationship of short, fun bursts. Nannies tend to deal with all of the same strife children put their parents through.

Babysitters are paid the day of service while nannies are paid weekly, bi-weekly, or montlhy and payment possibly also includes room and board for live-ins.
Babysitter Wages:

Babysitter’s payment depends often on the age and experience of the babysitter. (I would not recommend anyone younger than 14years). Often babysitters are young and looking for just a little extra cash. I believe it respectful to not pay any child care worker less than the minimum wage in your state. If the children are sleeping for half of the time the babysitter is there, the payment for the hours while the babysitter is watching TV may be less.
Nanny Wages:

Here’s a wonderful quick breakdown from which is based on a 45 hour work nanny work week in 2006.

“-18 – 20 years old, or less than 2 years verifiable child care experience – $325-$450 live-in; $8-12 hour live-out.

-21 years or older, 2 or more years verifiable child care experience, no prior nanny experience (note that college education puts you to the higher end of the salary range) – $450-$600 live-in; $10-15 hour live-out.

-Two or more years of nanny experience, and/or a college degree in a child related field – $450-800 live-in; $10-20 hour live-out, higher in major metro markets.”
How to Retain a Babysitter:

Because babysitting is more sporadic and sometimes very hard to secure, parents who can afford it would do well to give a nice tip at the end of the night as incentive to be available for later dates. Communicate if a job is well done and constructively if things could have gone better. Pay the babysitter for the fifteen or thirty minutes before you leave so that you can communicate routines and expectations.
How to Retain a Nanny:

-Communicate your expectations before hiring and communicate your changing needs on a daily basis.

-Pay a competitive living wage for your location. Good nannies are stolen by families that are more appreciative of their hard work.

-If a nanny has been with you long term (more than 6 months) give your nanny a chunk of the quarterly or yearly bonus you bring home from work.

-Think about offering a benefits package after 6 months or more of service if your nanny will sign a contract to stay on for a while.

-As a holiday or birthday gift, arrange for your nanny to meet with a financial planner. (This is great gift a one of my families gave me). Otherwise, do not ask or complain about how your nanny spends her money.

How to find a great queer-friendly nanny:

-Put an ad on Craigslist for your family looking for someone specifically queer friendly, a queer person herself or someone who has worked with LGBT families before. Post the ad every day for a week and do interviews with at least three possibilities before you decide. Put “LGBT friendly”,or “Gay friendly” in the title, to weed them out more quickly.

If you’re looking for a young babysitter, it’s best to find one who lives with her parents in your neighborhood.