“Family” Does Not Mean “Free”. Reddit Users Debate Whether Grandparents Should Be Paid to Babysit Their Grandkids

2 years ago

In some families, it’s a given that when you have a child, your parents will babysit them once in a while, without asking for anything in return. However, some grandparents would like to be compensated for their time and energy, and there are people who agree with them.

We at Bright Side wanted to hear more opinions about this topic. So let’s see what people think.

Grandparents should get paid.

If you expect grandparents to watch your kids, you should expect to compensate. They may refuse compensation, but you should at least offer, especially if it’s on an ongoing basis (like a daycare setup) rather than just the occasional night out. © steve2phonesmackabee / Reddit


“Family” does not mean “free.” I absolutely compensate any of my family when they watch my children. © jocelynster / Reddit


It can be a dignified way to help grandparents who are on shaky financial ground. Most people would rather earn money than get it handed to them, and childcare is definitely work.

Aside from that, I’d look at the family customs that your parents set up themselves when you were young. Did they pay you to do chores around the house and to babysit your younger siblings? If so, then pay them to babysit your children. If not, then don’t. © endlesscartwheels / Reddit

I pay my mom $400/mo to watch my son 3-4 days a week while my husband and I are at work. Each day is around 6-8 hours and she usually comes to my house. She will also watch him a couple of nights a month to give my husband and me a date night.

I give this money to my mom because she retired early to care for my son. It’s not a large sum of money in the grand scheme of things but it makes me feel like I’m not taking advantage of her. I’m sure she would still watch him for free if my financial situation changed, but for right now, I’m glad I can compensate her for at least a little of her time. © SuburbanSuffering / Reddit

Grandparents shouldn’t get paid.

I don’t know a single grandparent who would charge money to watch their grandchild. To each their own, of course, but I think my parents and my husband’s parents would be deeply offended if I attempted to pay them for watching our kids... © remk19 / Reddit


If I’m going to pay someone, I’d rather pay a professional: someone I can manage, hold accountable, and fire if need be. I’d be totally fine with paying for activities or transportation or food though. © OliviaPresteign / Reddit

Although I seem to be in the minority, the idea of paying my parents to watch my son seems utterly bizarre. I’ve never paid anyone in my family for anything and they’ve never paid me. You pay employees, you help family. © TheGlennDavid / Reddit


We offer my parents money just for gas and food, but they’ve never taken it. We also leave money at the house when they keep the kids there, but likewise, they’ve never taken it. I’d question the intentions of a grandparent who watches their grandchildren for money unless it’s just needed for gas or food. © samalex01 / Reddit

My dad watches my son once a week; he’s in daycare 3 other days. He is also our last-minute/emergency babysitter. We don’t pay him, nor do we pay for meals or activities. My dad’s mortgage is paid off and he gets a federal government pension, and he still does part-time consulting work.

My in-laws watch our kids for longer trips when we go away, child-free. We do not pay them or for activities or airfare. They are semi-retired attorneys living on 200 acres of inherited farmland.

They would all find it off-putting to accept money. My in-laws don’t even like to call it “babysitting;” they prefer “caring for their grandchildren.”

I am sure other people with different financial situations would see paying as normal, especially if they were full-time, 5 days a week care. Personally, even given such generous and flexible people in our lives, I would not want full-time grandparent childcare, paid or not. I’d rather pay professionals. © catzandbabiez / Reddit


Helping each other is what families do. Now I’m not saying you should take advantage of them, but my grandparents watched me for my mom. And my mom watches my kid for me. I will do it for my kid when he has kids.

Different families might have a different dynamic, but as long as the grandparents are willing, and you pay for food and diapers and clothes and all that, why pay unless they ask? My mom enjoys watching my kids, she even asks to do it when we don’t need it. © MasticatingElephant / Reddit

It depends.

I think it depends on how often and for how long, as well as the relative financial situation of all involved.

I know some families where the grandparent watches the child at least one full workday a week, sometimes up to 5. In cases like this, they are acting as a nanny. If the parents can afford it and the grandparent could use the money, I think it would be good to pay them something. You are saving SO much not having to pay for child care. Now, if the grandpa or grandma is well off enough not to need the income, they may choose to decline. But watching a kid that much is really a job.

If you are babysitting the grandkids for a few hours every few weeks, then no, I wouldn’t expect there to be a payment. Though if grandma or grandpa really needed the money, it might be nice to offer anyway, as a less pride-harming way of helping them out. © TheHatOnTheCat / Reddit


I think this is something to discuss with the grandparents in question. Personally, I give my mom some cash every time she looks after our little ones, but it’s not a payment for her time per se. It’s just a gesture of thanks and helps her restock her pantry after the kids have gone through it. She’s never asked for cash and I’ve never heard of her complaining to my siblings about not getting enough and I know one of my siblings who never gives her money for looking after his kid and she’s never complained about it to me. © ero_senin05 / Reddit

I think I would only be okay with paying them if they’d otherwise need to work some other job to earn an income and have instead offered to watch my kid. If they’re already retired, then no way would I pay them...

I have my mom watch my daughter because they are genuinely bonded and my mom gets so much fulfillment from it (so does my kid). It’s not the kind of relationship you could attach money to. If it were not that way, I’d pay for daycare, I think. Unless my mom needed money to support herself. Then maybe it’d be different. © lamodi / Reddit

Would you pay your parents to babysit your kids? Do you know someone who does that already?

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Please note: This article was updated in September 2021 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Preview photo credit Kekyalyaynen / shutterstock.com


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