How to Draw up Babysitting Contracts

Babysitting contracts may seem unnecessary. But think about it: You wouldn't hire someone to fix your deck without a contract, so why would you hire someone to watch your child without spelling our exactly what is expected from both parties?

A babysitting contract primarily gives peace of mind to both parties by spelling out responsibilities and compensation. In some states, it's a legally enforcable agreement, so you may want to check your state's rules and proceed carefully. In some states, you cannot enter into a legal contract with a minor, but a contract with a babysitter over the age of 18 will be legally binding.

For the most part a babysitting contract should be looked upon as a way to make sure that everyone is clear on what needs to be done, for what amount and when payment is expected. 

The babysitting contract does not need to be very long, nor does it need to contain a large amount of legalese, what it should contain is basic information.

  • Names: The names of the parents, sitter and all children that will be watched should be spelled out in the contract.
  • Address: This is the primary address where the children will be watched. Make sure to specify if the sitter is allowed to take the children from the premises for trips to the pool, the library or shopping.
  • Rate: Whether per hour or per day, the rate should be specified. Any additions to the pay, such as overtime or specific rates for other chores, should be spelled out. 
  • Mileage: If your sitter is a licensed driver and you want her to shuttle your children to events, or if she is expected to pick your children up from friends' houses, you should spell out whether mileage will be paid or if any additional money will be paid for gas.
  • Duties: This area will spell out exactly what is expected of the sitter. You may choose to provide log sheets that will allow the sitter to create a record of each task, such as changing diapers or providing snacks. Typically, you won't need to go into this level of detail. A log should be provided if your child requires medication, so that each dose can be recorded.
  • Additional Responsibilities: Spell out exactly what other chores the sitter is to do while watching the child.If you want your sitter to focus primarily on caring for your child and only clean up messes associated with snacks or playtime, make sure to spell that out. This way there is no chance of miscommunication between you and the sitter.
  • Term: In this area, you can spell out whether your sitter is a temporary sitter on an as-needed basis, or whether your sitter is a permanent provider that is expected to be at your home on specific days at specific times.

Both parties should sign the document. Parents and sitter should each retain a copy.

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