Should You “Babysit” for a Parent on a Holiday or Weekend?

If a parent wanted you to care for their child on a day that you are normally closed (holidays and weekends), what would you say?

It’s up to you.

Many family child care providers would say “no”. They want to spend these times with their own family. Refer parents to your contract that says you are closed on these days.  Tell the parent, “Sorry, but I’m closed on these days and I have made other plans with my family.” You can also give parents the names of local babysitters.

What if you were open to providing care on a holiday or weekends? Here are some issues to consider.

 Check with your licensor to see if are allowed to provide care on these days. If the parents ask your own child to care for their child, ask your licensor if this is allowed. In some states, a provider’s own child cannot do “babysitting” in the provider’s home.

 Check with your business liability insurance agent to make sure your policy covers you when providing care on these days. 

 What should you charge?This is also up to you, but I would encourage you to charge a lot more than your normal child care rate. Babysitters in your area probably charge more than $10 an hour. If you are going to give up part of your holiday or weekend time, it is reasonable to charge a much higher rate. Very few providers do offer such care, so parents will pay a lot more for this service. Ten dollars an hour is not unreasonable.

  You should assume that if you offer to care for one family, the other families in your care will hear about it and may want you to care for their child. You can agree to care for more children or say that you won’t care for children from more than one family. There is no rule requiring you to care for every family. Make your own decision about how many children you want to handle. Remember, these are normally down times for you.

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Tom Copeland

I've been the nation's leading trainer, author, and advocate on the business of family child care since 1981. I'm a licensed attorney and have presented hundreds of business workshops for family child care providers across the country. I answer thousands of calls and emails each year to help providers, tax professionals and trainers understand complex business and tax issues. Call me at 651-280-5991. Email me at Visit me on Facebook. From 1981 to 2009 I worked at Resources for Child Caring in Minnesota (now called Think Small), where I was director of Redleaf National Institute for 15 years. I've written nine books on the business of family child care published by Redleaf Press, a division of Resources for Child Caring. I was on the board of directors of First Children's Finance, a non-profit organization providing low interest loans and consulting and technical assistance to help family child care providers suceed as a business. They operate in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. Here are some YouTube videos of me talking about my work with this organization and the business of family child care. I graduated from Macalester College (BA) in 1972 and from William Mitchell College of Law (JD) in 1980. I live in St. Paul, Minnesota with my wife Diane and two cats, Duke and Ella.