How to be a Perfect Babysitter
Babysitting can be a great way to help you transition into adulthood.
It’s a way to earn some extra spending money, but it can also mark your first steps towards running a successful business and provides hands-on motherhood experience to boot.
In order to avoid those “parents from hell” scenarios, but also to not become their babysitter counterpart, there are a few basic things you should keep in mind.
Babysitting Tips to Get you Started
First, make a (business) plan. Babysitting is a responsible job, so you should treat it as such. Sit down and make a plan that involves how much time you are willing to spend on babysitting each month, how much you are hoping to get paid, who your employers are and how to reach them etc.
If you have realistic expectations, it will be much easier to negotiate and make everyone happy.
Next, assess your babysitting capabilities. Do you know how to change a diaper? Have you ever bathed a child before? If you have younger siblings and help around the house a lot, this shouldn’t be much of a problem, but if you’ve never done these things before it is best that you have your mom or a more experienced sitter show you the ropes.
Better yet, why not take a babysitting safety course?
Once you’ve found a family that needs their children taken care of, talk everything out with them beforehand. Communication with the parents is the most important part of a good relationship with them.
Be sure to ask them about their child’s particular needs and behaviours, whether they have a favourite stuffed animal or dislike certain foods etc. Also, be sure to clearly define what your responsibilities are, when the parents are expected to come back, and, of course, how much and when you will be paid.
Before the babysitting starts, and especially if it will last more than a few hours, be sure to plan your day accordingly.
Small children need structure, so you should keep things such as their regular lunch times, nap breaks and activities in mind. This will prevent you from running out of things to do and make the child(ren) less problematic since they’ll have something to focus on.
While you should take your duties seriously, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun while performing them. Engage the child(ren) in various learning activities and games to make it easier to keep an eye on them and to make the time fly by faster.
Having fun is great, but setting boundaries is very important as well. Ask the parents about bed times, the amount of time the child can spend playing games on the PC or smartphone etc., and then reinforce these rules gently, yet decisively.
Tempting as it may seem, you aren’t the child’s friend, but its caretaker, and sometimes what’s best for it doesn’t have to be to the child’s liking.
If you take what we wrote to heart, you should have fewer problems with existing clients, and as your reputation as a dependable and able babysitter grows, so will the number of people that will want to let you take care of their children.