Babysitting rates: what should you pay a babysitter in the UK?

by | Parent Guides

Babysitting rates: although every parent knows how essential it is to have access to some last-minute childcare, most parents have no idea how much they should be paying, or even how to go about finding local babysitters. Whether it’s an emergency appointment, an evening out or just a few hours to yourself, easy access to an affordable sitter near you can make a world of difference.

The Bubble app makes it easy to find local sitters, and provides you with the hourly rates of each sitter listed. Although each sitter sets their own rate, if you browse through a few sitter profiles you should be able to get a sense of how much you’ll need to spend for a sitter in your area.

Below, we’ve compiled a useful list of average babysitting rates across the UK, depending on which city you live in. Check them out:


Average babysitting rate per hour

London £12
Manchester £10
Newcastle £10
Nottingham £10
Oxford £10.50
Sheffield £10
Southampton £10.50
Southend £10
Taken from Bubble’s babysitting data – download the app for iOS and Android.

As you can see, the average rate is between £8 and £10, although you will likely find some sitters who charge slightly more or less than that. There are many different factors affecting babysitter rates – we’ve listed some below.

5 things that determine babysitting rates

  • Where you live. The cost of living varies depending on which part of the country you live in, and this can sometimes affect babysitter rates. For example, babysitters in London may charge slightly more (around £10-11) compared to those in other parts of the UK.
  • When the sit is happening. If the sit is on a popular time or day (e.g. a Saturday evening), you will probably expect to pay slightly more than if you were booking a sit for a weekday afternoon. However, if it’s a late night sit then you may be able to find a sitter with a lower rate, as they will just be staying in the house while the kids are asleep and won’t have much interaction with them. 
  • How many children there are to look after. Understandably, if a sitter is going to be looking after multiple children they may expect to be paid more than if they are looking after one child, and vice versa. Some sitters may also vary their rates depending on how old the children are, and you can find out more by speaking to individual sitters directly.
  • The sitter’s experience. If you’re looking for a 18 year old who lives a few minutes away to look after the kids for an hour or two, you can usually expect to pay less than if you’re looking for someone with more specific childcare experience, such as a teacher or maternity nurse. 
  • Extra household tasks. Some sitters are happy to help with certain tasks around the house, such as ironing or cooking, however this varies on a case-by-case basis. The best thing to do is to check sitters’ profiles and see what they are comfortable helping out with. If in doubt, it’s always a good idea to message them beforehand and discuss things before the sit takes place.


Why you’ll get the best babysitting rates on Bubble

The Bubble app connects parents with verified babysitters and nannies nearby, displaying their rates and availability. One of its unique features is that the app allows you to measure sits to the minute, meaning that you only ever pay for the childcare you use – you never have to round up!

The sitters set their own rates, so you can browse and book depending on whatever price point you feel comfortable with. Unlike agencies, we never charge parents any finders’ fees, and you can either choose to a pay one-off booking fee per sit, or you can subscribe and save on unlimited booking and cancellation fees!

[elementor-template id=”7267″]


You can download the app for free on both iOS and Android, and find amazing, affordable sitters near you.

Finishing late?

If you’re booking a late-night sit, it’s common practice for parents to pay their babysitters slightly more once the sit goes past midnight. On the Bubble app, parents are able to quickly add a tip when paying for the sit, and they often do add a few extra pounds to say thanks to their sitter for staying so late.

It’s definitely not an expectation from all babysitters though, especially if they’ve been told in advance that the sit would finish late. It’s more of an optional extra to help us parents show our appreciation!

Taxi back?

While most sitters will expect to make their own way to the sit, for those that don’t drive it is fairly standard for parents to pay their taxi fare home if the sit ends late (past 10pm). 

This means that it’s worth considering how nearby your sitter lives and whether they need a ride at the end of the night. Bubble allows you to see if a sitter has marked themselves down as having a car, or if they have specified that they will need a lift back home after late-night sits. Again, it’s best to check with the sitter about this before the sit takes place, so that you can choose the sitter that works best for you. 

P.S. Given the government’s current social distancing guidance, we recommend that sitters do their best to avoid using public transport on their way to and from a sit. For more information on how we’re ensuring safe sits, check out this article.

Settling up: cash is not king

Whatever rate you decide on, most parents can agree that the post-sit handing over of cash can be a bit awkward at times. If you’ve gone slightly over the hours specified, you may feel like you have to pay the sitter for another extra hour of their time. Similarly, if you don’t have the right change you can often end up paying the sitter more than expected.

This is why parents love the Bubble app. Its cash-free payments make it easy for parents and sitters to settle up after a sit, without any awkward fumbling around for change. The app calculates the exact length of the sit, down to the minute, and once the parent gets home and ends the sit they can pay the sitter for the exact amount of time that they were there for. If they want to add a tip they can, and if not they don’t have to. It’s easier than cash and works out better for parents and sitters alike!

Download the Bubble app for iOS or Android today, and join thousands of other parents finding the better way to do childcare.