THE BLOG
11/27/2013 12:17 pm ET Updated Jan 27, 2014

How to Survive the Holiday Season? Book a Sitter

Whether it's because of Christmas, Hanukkah, the annual holiday bash you host or your family's winter vacation to plan, your time is undoubtedly scarce and your sanity and budget are under heavy attack this month. The solution to not only surviving, but to making the most of the holiday season, is to hire a babysitter to lend a hand with the kids. According to a survey of 400 parents across the country, 40 percent hire sitters more often in the month of December than any other time of year. Here's why modern parents are hiring help and how much they are paying for it.

Find time for fun and romance.
One might think parents are simply hiring babysitters during this time of year so that they can put in extra time at work or to simply take care of holiday obligations -- shopping, for instance. Surprisingly, the number one reason that 70 percent of parents surveyed cite for hiring a sitter in December is to go to a party. Further proof that romance is alive and well, even in the busiest of families, is that fact that 43 percent of parents make time for a date night even during the craziness of December.

How much can you expect to pay for a babysitter during the holidays?
Most parents pay a premium for a sitter during the holidays, either increasing the hourly rate they pay by a dollar or two or giving a nice holiday tip. While your nanny might be realistically expecting (and parents are giving) a holiday bonus equal to a week of her pay, and possibly a gift certificate or small, personal gift, the babysitter who occasionally steps in to help with the kids likely hopes for a tip or a small holiday bonus at the end of a job. The price for childcare goes even higher for New Year's Eve, assuming you're well prepared and lucky enough to land a sitter.

The inside info on scoring (and paying) a sitter for New Year's Eve.
Apparently, parents don't view securing a sitter for NYE as big of a deal as they do for snagging one for Valentine's Day, yet 40 percent of those surveyed said that getting a babysitter for NYE is very or somewhat important. The secrets to securing a commitment on one of the most competitive nights of the year for a babysitter is to book one month in advance and be ready to pay well. Not only are parents competing against other parents eager to nail down childcare, they're also competing against sitters' social calendars. Most parents pay about 1.5 times a sitter's usual rate for a NYE commitment.