Are babysitting rates really running at 1,000% inflation since the 70s?

I thought £30 for a couple of hours’ babysitting was generous, but the young seem to have taken capitalist principles to heart

Their acrobatically minded 10-year-old would terrify me as I begged him to stop tightrope-walking the bannister. Their ancient cocker spaniel would poo all over the kitchen floor and I’d clean it up. But as a 16-year-old, I was grateful for my £3 at the end of the evening’s babysitting. Thirty years on (OK, 33 years on) and I’m arranging babysitting for a 50th birthday bash. Just two to three hours on a Saturday evening. I offer £30 to a friend’s 15-year-old – madly generous, I thought. “Make it £35 and I’ll do it,” she snapped back.

I’m in awe. I cannot believe the inflation rate for babysitting has been 1,000% since 1978. But I’m reminded of the HSBC advert, with the young girl coining it from selling lemonade. Maybe the younger generation has taken profit-seeking capitalism’s basic principle – charge the maximum the market can bear – to heart.

What is the right rate for babysitting? After all, the event is a few weeks away yet, and I’m minded to help the 15-year-old with another lesson in capitalism: renegotiating contracts on better terms.


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