This first set of tips will outline what your responsibilities are as a babysitter.
• Love Kids
To be a good babysitter you have to love kids. Children are smart. They’ll know whether you like them or not. Parents will watch you closely as well to make sure you’re going to love their child.
• Maturity and Self Confidence
It’s important to be mature when you’re babysitting. Be sure of yourself, and calm at all times. Self confidence will play a big role in how the children and parents react to you.
• Treat it like a business
Parents will respect you more if you treat your babysitting jobs like a business. Make sure you and the parents are clear on the wage that you expect. Tell them your plans for caring for their children.
• Be adaptable
Chances are, you’ll be babysitting for a different family, they will have different routines, rules, and beliefs than yours. You need to be able to adapt, and fit with the family’s usual pattern or routines.
• Stay Calm
It’s important to stay calm, even in stressful situations. If you panic, the kids will too. It’s a good idea to review safety tips before each babysitting job, to prepare for any emergency situations, just in case.
• Learn CPR
It’s a great idea to learn CPR. You can usually certify for free at your local Red Cross. Being certified will also look really great on your resume.
This next set of tips will discuss things that you can do to keep yourself and the kids safe while babysitting.
• Lock Doors and Windows
Keep all the doors and windows locked while you are babysitting. This is important not only to keep people out, but to also keep the kids from going outside when they’re not supposed to.
• Put away anything dangerous
Right after the parents leave, quickly go through the house and put away anything that may be dangerous. These can be things like cleaners, appliances, medications, and anything that could be a choking hazard.
• Phone and Door safety
When answering the phone, don’t tell strangers that you’re alone with children. If someone unexpected comes to the door, don’t answer it.
• Never leave them alone
This is an important rule. Never ever leave the children that you’re tending alone. Accidents can happen in a split second. Even if they’re sleeping, check on them often.
• Food safety
If you’re preparing food for the kids, make sure to use safety precautions. When cooking keep the kids away from the stove, and stay in the kitchen at all times. If you’re tending toddlers, make sure to cut up their food so that they don’t choke.
• Call for help
Never be afraid to call for help. If anything doesn’t feel right, call the parents. You can even call your own parents for any advice or questions you may have.
• Outdoor Safety
If the parents say it’s ok to go outside, make sure that you and the kids know all of the rules. Give the kids a clear idea of their boundaries, and make sure that you can see them at all times.
There are thousands of accidental drownings each year. If there’s a pool at the home that you babysit, make sure that there’s no way for the kids to access it.
• Never walk alone
Never walk home alone at night, even if it’s just a few blocks. Make arrangements before you babysit to be driven or walked home when your job is done.
Before the parents leave, you need to get some important information. This next set of tips will go over this information that you need to ask for.
• Phone numbers and addresses
Here are the phone and addressed that you need to get:
-Address and number of where the parents will be
-The number and address at the house that you are at
-911 and Poison control
• Allergies or Medical conditions
Make sure you know any allergies or medical conditions that the children that you’re babysitting may have. An unexpected allergy attack can be very harmful. If any of the kids experience unexplained swelling or rashes, call 911 or Poison Control immediately.
Ask the parents about the children’s schedule. Make sure and write down any special instructions, even if you’re sure you can remember them. It will make the parents have more confidence in you as well.
Be sure that you know if you’re expected to prepare any meals for the children that you’ll be tending. Ask them if it’s ok to use the oven or stove, and to give you a few ideas for snacks.
• When Parents are expected home
Ask the parents when they’re expected home. Be ready for them, have all of your responsibilities done. Parents want to come home to calm, not chaos.
Find out when playtime is, and play hard! This is when you do all the projects that you’ve planned with them. Make sure and plan time for clean-up.
• Rules and Discipline
Find out from the parents what the rules are, and how to discipline the children if they’re not following them. Never yell at or hit a child.
• First Aid Kits
Ask the parents where their first aid kit is. If someone gets hurt, try and assess quickly whether they just need a band-aid and a kiss, or if it’s something more serious.
Sometimes the kids that you babysit won’t be perfect little angels. This next set of tips will give you some ideas on how to help the kids listen to you.
• Be Clear
From the time their parents leave, be very clear about what you expect of the children. It’s not fair to punish them if they don’t know what the rules are.
• Be Firm
Kids are smart, and will try to push you around if you let them. But they also need limits. The sooner they find them with you, the better. Once they know their boundaries, you all will have a great experience.
• Be an Example
It’s important to be an example to the kids that you babysit. For example, if it’s a rule that they don’t eat in the living room, you don’t eat there either.
• Be Creative
Creativity is a must for babysitters. If you have a child who doesn’t want to do something that you’ve asked him to do, find a way to make it fun. For example, play a game like,”make the veggies disappear” or have a race to clean up the toys.
• Change the subject
Never argue with the kids. If a child is upset , try changing the subject, or getting him interested in something else. Remember that kids have short attention spans and will get frustrated if they’re expected to do an activity for too long.
• Time Outs
Using time outs are a great way to calm a child down. Find a place for him away from other children or stimuli, and sit him down. Not for long, though. A good rule of thumb, is time outs shouldn’t be longer (in minutes) than their age. For example, a 4 year old gets a time out no longer than 4 minutes, etc.
Sometimes siblings just don’t get along. You may need to get doing different activities, may be even in different rooms.
It’s a good idea to have a babysitting kit that you can bring to all of your jobs. This next set of tips will give you a list of things that you can put in your kit.
Carrying a notebook to your babysitting jobs is smart. This way, you can white down all the emergency numbers and special instructions from the parents. It’s also smart to keep all things organized, so that when you babysit for that family again, you’ll have it.
• First Aid kit
Small first aid kits don’t cost much money, and are a great item to bring with you to a babysitting job. It also shows responsibility, and your dedication to the job.
Kids love books! They always welcome a new story or book. Even if you don’t have any, take a trip to your local library and check out lots of fun children’s books to take to your babysitting job.
• Coloring Books and crayons
Coloring books and crayons can provide hours of entertainment. You can even just bring blank paper and let them create their own masterpieces.
Crafts can be a fun activity to do with children. Here are some things you can bring:
-Glue, Glitter, Construction paper, Toilet paper rolls, Pipe cleaners, Macaroni
Put a few board games or puzzles in your babysitting kit. They can be fun , and keep the kids entertained for a long time. Again, check with your local library; most have a parent resource center where you can check out educational games and other fun stuff.
When it’s time to settle the kids down, it’s a good idea to put in a movie. Again, the library is a good resource for this. You can even call the parents ahead of time and find out what some of the kid’s favourites are.
Music can be a fun way to entertain kids. Once again, the library can be a great resource for this. Here are some popular children’s titles:
-Raffi, Little Einsteins, DIsneymania, Hap Palmer, Kidz Bop
This new set of tips will give you some great examples for entertaining the kids that you babysit.
• Make Bubles
You can make bubbles fairly easy. Combine 1 cup of water
1/3 of a cup of dish soap and a little bit of light corn syrup,
Use pipe cleaners to make loops to blow bubbles through.
• Edible Play Dough
It can be fun to make edible play dough. Combine:
-1 cup peanut butter
-1/4 cup honey
-1/2 cup of powdered milk.
• Museum Game
To play this game, gather up toys that look like museum pieces and set them up around the room. Pretend that you are locked in a museum for the night and take and give tours to each other.
Forts are always a Crowd-pleaser for kids. You can use cushions and blankets to create new places to play. It can be fun to eat lunch, or even a snack inside the forts.
Blocks never go out of style. Most children have some sort of blocks. Get them out, and see how many different things that you can imagine, then build them.
• Fun with stuffed animals
Have some new fun with some old favourites. Have the children bring out their stuffed animals, and get creative. Make up plays for the animals to be in, or have a giant tea party with the animals as guests.
• Nature walk
If you’re babysitting during the day, and if it’s ok to go outside, consider going on a nature walk. Give the children a bag, and together collect small things that represent nature, like leaves, sticks, and pine cones. When you get back, make pencil rubbings with your treasures.
• Simon says
Simon says is a favourite of kids. It tests listening skills, and lets them feel in control when they’re Simon. It’s a great way to get the children to get their chores done.
This last set of tips will discuss some final suggestions to help you become a great babysitter.
• Clean Up
Always clean up before the parents get back. Even if the children aren’t in bed, have them help you start cleaning up before the parents are expected home.
• Beware of Sweets
Make sure and ask the parents before giving their children ay sweets. Sugar affects all children differently, and it’s important to know the parents wishes.
• Ask before Internet
Most homes nowadays have the Internet. Make sure that you ask the parents if you can use the Internet, and only after the kids are in bed.
• Talking to friends
Never call your friends when the children you’re tending are awake. And when the kids are asleep, only call your friends on your cell phone, as not to tie up the land line.
• GO extra Mile
Babysitting is a competitive business. Parents are looking for a sitter who is willing to go the extra mile in caring for their children. As you take extra steps to take the best care of their children, you will have them as clients for a very long time.