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Surge Pricing Applies for Booking a DC Babysitter on New Year’s Eve

Photo by PavelIvanov; via iStock.

You tip your waiter to thank them for not messing with your order. How much more should you tip a nanny to thank them for not messing with your children?

According to a new survey by Urban Sitter, a lot more. The survey found that over 50 percent of parents tip their nannies one week’s pay around the holidays, while 14 percent give two week’s pay.

“Without a doubt, it is necessary and proper to acknowledge and thank your childcare providers during the holidays as a show of appreciation for all they do throughout the year,” says Crystal Bailey, director of The Etiquette Institute of Washington. “The equivalent of one week’s salary is the customary and correct amount to tip a nanny or au pair. When you consider all that your nanny does for you, this is a small show of appreciation.”

According the the survey, parents prioritize tipping nannies over other service providers, such as teachers, housecleaners, babysitters, tutors, and mail collectors. This ordering makes sense when you consider how much time a typical nanny spends with a family and how difficult it can be to find consistent, high quality child care.

“In Washington we are in a unique position because so many of us are transplants who rely heavily on childcare that is provided outside of the family,” says Bailey. “Finding and keeping a quality nanny or au pair can be as difficult as passing the federal budget. Once you do find a good one, you don’t want to lose them by being a scrooge!”

On top of a tip, 69 percent of parents also said that they give their babysitter or nanny a holiday gift. The majority of nannies surveyed said they would appreciate cash as a gift, while 19 percent would be content with gift cards, and 10 percent said they’d like a craft made by the children. Don’t start reaching for the dried macaroni just yet though–11 percent of nannies specifically said they would not want to receive a craft made by kids.

“There’s also a difference between providing a monetary tip and slinging a bag of cherry-scented hand creams someone’s way,” says Bailey. “A handmade or small gift from the children is also appropriate, but should be given in complement to a tip.”

While the holidays are a time when parents will need to spend more on their nannies, it’s also a time when they’ll have to pony up some extra cash to solicit a babysitter. According to Urban Sitter, the cost of booking a babysitter in DC on New Year’s Eve is 1.2 times higher than the average Washington babysitter rates. The hourly rate for a babysitter for one child in DC would normally cost $14.32, but that rises to $17.13 on New Years Eve, and for two children, the rate goes from $16.27 to $19.36 per hour.

But if you’re planning on spending the night out on New Year’s Eve, there is a silver lining, parents: the survey also found that most parents would be willing to share a sitter with friends for New Year’s Eve. Additionally, the sitters themselves are up for the task–though just 12 percent are doing it because they love your kids; 53 percent of sitters say they’ll work New Year’s Eve because they’ll make good money.


Take a look at the complete infographic by Urban Sitter below.

Infographic by David Fung courtesy Urban Sitter.

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Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.