It’s easy to be a great babysitter! Babysitting is probably the number-one most popular job that teenagers have during the summer or after school and on Saturdays. It can be a challenging job, but very rewarding and a lot of fun. And unlike workiing in fast food, it won't leave you smelling like fried burgers! Here are 8 tips to make you an even better babysitter!
1. Be Responsible
Mothers are more likely to feel safe about leaving their precious little ones with you if you show up on time, give her your cell phone number and ask for hers and a list of emergency contact numbers. Other good things to know are the location of the medicine cabinet, the last time the baby ate and/or slept, if he has a favorite toy or blanket and if there’s anyone that does not need to be allowed in the house for any reason.
2. Be Trustworthy
If you don’t have permission to invite a friend over to study after the kids are asleep, make long distance calls, or eat whatever you want to, then don’t. Follow the guidelines you are given and do your job, which is watching the kid of course! Don’t trash the house and let the baby do whatever he wants to while you watch TV. If you do a good job, chances are you will be asked to come over again!
3. Come Prepared
Little kids love surprises and new things that they can explore. With that in mind, it’s a great idea to make an “activity box” and a “treat bag.” With mom’s permission of course, the activity box can contain things like bubbles, coloring books and crayons, play dough, a stamp kit, stickers, a flashlight (for shadow puppets or hide and seek), matchbox cars and Barbie dolls, blocks, card games, books, finger paint, sidewalk chalk and a jump rope to name a few ideas. The treat bag can have some cookies and candy in it. Then, if boredom strikes, or if it rains all day, your little fellow won’t be left with nothing to do!
4. Plan Activities in Advance
Try to come up with a few things to do together so that you aren’t sitting there staring at the wall. Think of some activities that will be fun for little ones and easy for you monitor and clean up. A few ideas are baking and decorating cookies, playing some board games, putting on a mini-play, or having matchbox-car races. These will be fun and easy to set up!!
5. Don’t Let the TV do Your Job
It’s ok to let the kids watch some TV, or even for you to watch a movie with them. But don’t let them sit in front of the TV the whole evening while you sit there and text or talk on the phone. That’s not really fair of you to expect to get paid for doing nothing and it’s not very educational or professional. If Mom asks junior what he did all night last night and he says, “Watched cartoons,” you may find yourself out of a job!
6. Make Sure You Know the Rules
If you get all the particulars and a schedule before Mom and Dad head out the door, this will save you the bother of calling them half way through their evening and it will keep you from guessing and hoping you “get it right.” Especially if there are strict bedtime or TV rules to follow! Make sure you find out about food allergies, medicine dosage if needed, and what’s ok to let the kids eat or not eat.
7. Don’t Be a Pushover
It’s not necessary to scream and yell at the kids if they disobey you, but don’t let them get by with doing things they are not supposed to do. If you told them once to brush their teeth and they didn’t, give them a second chance. Be firm but gentle and let them know you are not playing games. If they still don’t listen, and it’s a continuous battle throughout the night, you can kindly let mom and dad know about it when they get home and leave the matter up to them.
8. Be Respectful
Have respect for the parents of the children you are watching. Don’t be rude to them if they are a bit late or demand payment as soon as they walk through the door. Try to make yourself available at the last minute if need be - this will make you a valuable, reliable sitter! Also try to have respect for the kids, if they are going through the age of learning about privacy, keep in mind that he/she may not want you in the room during bath time or potty time. Just leave the door open and stay nearby to peep in occasionally to make sure everything is going ok.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a prime babysitter in no time! Keep in mind that the more professional and friendly you are, the more likely it is that the parents will ask you back and refer you to their friends! Babysitting is super fun when you make it that way! Get to know the kids and do things they like - then they will want you to watch them and it won’t be a job for you, it’ll be playtime! Do you have any other tips to share on being a good babysitter? What do you keep in your activity tote? Please share!