Parents in the Northeast are paying the highest rates for babysitters in the country, ranging anywhere from $12 to $20 dollars an hour with an average of $15.50.

The average hourly rate per child nationally, is $12.75. But, you can get a good, high-quality child care provider for less.

“Look at sitters who are potentially new to the area. They sometimes want to get their name out there, so they’re willing to work for less,” said Lynn Perkins, CEO of, a site that provides babysitting services to parents in cities around the country. “You can also look for college students or people who are in school part time who are looking to supplement their income.

Nannies and college graduates with early childhood education experience are the ones who command the higher fees. But, that could cost you $70 for date night on child care alone. That’s not even including your dinner or movie.”

You can also share services with friends or neighbors.

“Maybe you have two kids and your neighbor has one and they get along really well. We’ll see families together go and hire a child care provider,” said Perkins. “A popular summer trend we’re seeing is for couples to stay home and invite friends over with their children. They’ll hire one baby-sitter for all the kids and split the cost. Let’s say it’s 30 percent more for the cost of an extra child. If you did it alone, it was cost much more, but when you split the cost, it works out well for all the families involved.”

“The two most expensive areas in the country are the Northeast and the San Fransisco Bay area,” said Perkins. “There are very high ends and low ends in both of those markets. We’re not seeing people forgo outings all together, but they are planning ahead and sharing the cost. They’re also going out for longer periods of time, with the average night out lasting about four hours.”

So, why are the costs so high? “Aside from cost of living, I believe it’s also a cultural thing. In the Northeast and in the Bay area, you have many people who aren’t originally from these areas, so fewer people have family they can turn to for child care support and they’re more dependent on outside babysitters,” said Perkins.