Babysitting is a popular part-time job for teenagers and young adults, providing a way to earn money while gaining valuable experience in childcare and enriching soft skills. While babysitting can be a fun and rewarding experience, it can also come with its fair share of challenges. From dealing with tantrums to ensuring the safety of the children in your care, there are many things to consider when taking on this responsibility. Here are some essential babysitting tips to help you navigate the world of childcare and ensure a positive experience for you, the parents, and the children you are caring for.
1. Stay Positive
- Keep an upbeat attitude during your time with the children. Smile, laugh, and play with them.
- If you have a disagreement with a child, don’t let it affect your mood or the way you treat them. Make sure they are listening, but remember that you are not the parent, always be sweet and caring, and firm when necessary.
- Welcome the parents home after their night out and check in with them, let them know how your day or evening went.
2. Be Safe
- Make sure you have the parent’s phone numbers and that you know where they are going to be in case of an emergency.
- Have your phone on you when you are out to make sure you are able to call someone if absolutely necessary.
- Before the parents leave, ask them about who their emergency contacts are. Recommend that they have a list of emergency numbers on the fridge for you just in case. This list should include an at-home neighbor and numbers for their family pediatrician, and preferred hospital/emergency room.
3. Have Fun
- Stay active! If weather permits, make sure you spend enough time outdoors, playing soccer or other yard games.
- Get creative indoors as well by drawing or painting, playing with clay or playdoh. You can play dress up, play music and have a dance party, or even race matchbox cars across the kitchen floor. Use your imagination!
- Read books and talk to the kids. Remember that this is a special time for them too and they love nothing more than a “grown-up” paying extra attention to them.
4. Be Attentive
- Pay attention to the needs of the child, like if they’re getting tired, thirsty, or hungry.
- Don’t use your phone while you’re sitting, the children should be your main focus and have all of your attention. However, keep your phone nearby in case the parent tries to reach you.
- Clean up after yourselves; wash the dishes, and put away toys after using them. The parents will appreciate this more than you know!
- Keep a note of anything that happens: Was there a fall? A large meltdown? Did they mention something that seems off to you? Let the parents know when they get home