I was inspired by this great article on Yahoo to write a post on babysitting. When my kids were younger I paid $2/per child per hour. When I had five kids that was $10 per hour! According to the article, that's not enough these days. $13.44 is the going rate now. Quite a lot, but I think it's worth it, when you find the right person, to pay enough to keep them interested. How do you find the right person? Networking! You need to talk to your friends and parents of the teenagers you know. Ask them these questions:
1. Does your daughter like children?
2. Is she too busy with extra curricular activities?
3. Will she play with the kids?
4. Will she help the children clean up after themselves?
When you ask these questions to parents of teens, they will pass along to their teen that these are the things you care about, and they can decide if they are up to the challenge. This will help them fulfill your expectations. You also need to tell them your expectations before you leave. Lists are always helpful.
Another way to find great babysitters is to be involved in helping the youth while volunteering at a church or school. You can scope out teens' personalities as you work with them. Once you find a great babysitter, be sure you pay them enough so they'll want to keep coming back. Always praise the things you see that they've done well. This will make them want to do it again the next time, and usually it will inspire them to work even harder!