Handy Holiday Cheat Sheet: How to Tip the Sitter and Others

12/19/2017 09:59 am ET

As the holidays approach, UrbanSitter annually surveys families to get the inside scoop on how much they pay and tip the people they rely on throughout the year, especially those who care for their kids. This year is no exception. To help you manage the mayhem of the holiday season and get a handle on your budget, we’ve once again asked families to share how they give during the holidays. Here’s what we found…

Nannies and Sitters are a Top Priority on Holiday Lists

Families show their gratitude and secure their childcare provider’s loyalty by tipping well and paying extra during the holidays. Year after year, sitters and nannies confide that the gift they’d most like to receive from their employers is extra pay in the form of cash or a thoughtful gift card. Parents continue to deliver. Most tip their nanny a customary one-week’s pay. Reliable babysitters are typically given $50 to $100 cash or gift cards to favorite stores or restaurants. Daycare staff is also tipped generously. Most parents give staff $25 to $50 gift cards, and also thank their kids’ teachers with $15 to $25 cards.

Budgeting for extra holiday pay and incentives doesn’t stop there. Parents hoping to hire a babysitter for New Year’s Eve, one of the year’s most competitive nights for scoring a sitter, pay a premium. Expect to pay an average hourly rate of $17.88 for one child, nearly $20 for two or more kids. That’s 20 percent more than any other time of year! It’s even higher if you live in the New York City area, where families continue to spend the most for child care on the big night—more than $24 an hour for two kids! Denver families pay the least of those surveyed, an hourly rate just north of $14.

Most families—as many as 80 percent— sweeten the deal even more by offering New Year’s Eve sitters extra perks, such as free dinner or cab rides to and from the job. We’ve heard many parents suggest that a little extra flexibility, such as allowing a sitter to bring a friend or giving her the option to spend the night, also goes a long way in enticing her to take the job. Remember, you’re likely competing with other families as well as your sitter’s plans for a chance to celebrate without kids!

Others We Depend on Throughout the Year are also Appreciated

Sitters and nannies aren’t the only ones who receive a little extra love from us during the holidays. While we surely appreciate all of the service providers we rely on throughout the year, it’s often tough to know whom to tip or how much to give when December rolls around. Here’s what families tell us they tip home and self-care professionals to show thanks or because they feel it’s the right thing to do during the holiday season:

• Dog walker $15-$25

• Hairdresser/barber $15 or less

• Mail carrier $15 or less

• Personal trainer $50-$100

• Gardener $25-$50

• Housekeeper $100-$250

• Manicurist $15 or less

• Trash/recycling collector $15 or less

Having the inside scoop on how other parents manage and budget for the craziness—and costliness— of the holiday season may help you make the most of yours. For more details, such as a look at how parents tip in your region and additional perspective from nannies and babysitters, check out UrbanSitter’s holiday infographic here: https://blog.urbansitter.com/2017-holiday-tipping-guide-new-years-eve-babysitting-rates/

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