Babysitting is not as easy as people imagine. It is only you and a stranger’s child, who may or may not be well behaved, for several hours. You’re expected to be energetic, playful, and responsible all at once. That said, you can be a MindMe.ie best babysitter if you keep your head on your shoulders and remember to have fun. Being a MindMe.ie best babysitter isn’t just about getting a child to like you, it’s about proving to parents that you can care for their child.
Show Parents Your Trustworthy
Discuss the fee and details of the job before arriving. This shows a parent that you are engaged, intelligent and responsible. While you don’t want to grill the parents over the phone, you do want to know a little bit about the children you’ll be looking after before you say yes. The basics you need to cover include:
How old are the children?
How many children are you watching?
How long will you be babysitting?
How much will you be paid an hour
Be a MindMe.ie best babysitter
Show up 10-15 minutes early to speak with the parents. Ask thoughtful, detailed questions about the children before taking the job. Not only does this show that you are punctual, it lets you see how the children behave with their parents and get a feel for any behaviour you’ll have to control. Get some information from the parents about the child, including:
Dress and act professionally. While you don’t need to be dressed up, you should be well presented and show up on time. Remember that, for some parents, leaving their children with a stranger is a stressful event. Make it easier on the parents by exuding professionalism and confidence.
Avoid talking about babysitting “horror stories” or saying that you “prefer a different age.” Don’t give the parents any reason to doubt your ability.
Get CPR/First Aid certified.
Knowing that you will be able to handle an emergency will put you and the parents at ease when you’re alone with the child.
Bring a copy of this certification with you. Most parents won’t ask for it, but it is good to have in your bag if they do.
Be the Best Babysitter
Follow the parent’s rules, not the child’s. If the parents want the kids in bed by a certain time or don’t want them watching TV, follow their rules. Some children will try to convince you that “they break that rule all the time,” that their parents “don’t really care,” or that you heard the rule wrong. Stay firm and consistent — the parents are paying you, not the child.
Put the child to bed at the right hour. Even if they “won’t fall asleep” they should be in bed when you promised.
Children tell their parents everything. If you slipped them a piece of chocolate they weren’t supposed to have, chances are it will get back to them.
Leave the house in the same condition as when you arrived. If a child spills their dinner on the kitchen floor it is your responsibility to clean it up, while you are not a maid and should not clean the house unnecessarily, you need to make sure everything is tidy before leaving. Some tasks babysitters must do include:
Cleaning up dishes.
Tidying up toys.
Folding blankets or clothes and putting them in the laundry basket.
Cleaning up any messes or spills made on your watch.
Having Fun with the Kids
Know that the first hour is often the hardest with young children. Children age 6 and under will sometimes react negatively when their parents leave. Understand that they are worried, scared, and feel like they are all alone, and use this knowledge to guide your actions. Don’t worry if the kid is quiet or has a temper in the first hour — they will usually calm down when they get comfortable with you.
Reassure the child that their parents will be back and that you are there to have fun together.
Have an activity ready right when you arrive to distract the child from their woes, like a board game or suitable Parent approved PC game
Get to know the child personally. Know what games they play, what movies/TV shows they love, their favourite class at school, etc. Knowing small facts about them, like their age or their dog’s name, makes them feel important. If they collect action figures, ask if you can see the collection. If they love to make art, ask if they will draw a portrait of you. Taking the time to get to know a child will make the night go smoothly for both of you.
Don’t talk down to children with baby voices or pats on the head. Make them feel like a friend and you’ll be surprised how much respect you earn.
Like adults, all kids are different — you can’t expect them all to love the same games or activities, so you need to adapt to be the best MindMe.ie babysitter.
Be fun to be with
Let yourself be silly and playful. Kids love it when adults are willing to get goofy and have some fun. While you always need to be responsible, babysitting should be fun. Don’t be so serious that you can’t play a game of hide-and-seek.
Being silly is often the best way to coax a shy child out of their shell.
When you’re having fun, the chances are good that the kids are having fun too.
Remember that a child’s safety is your number one priority. You are being paid by the parents to keep their child safe, and you need to remember this no matter how bad a kid’s behaviour gets. You may have to be strict, make unpopular decisions, and forget about being fun for a while. It is worth it, however, to keep the child safe.
When in doubt about an activity’s safety do something else.
Be the Best Babysitter
Be honest, but polite, with the parents when they return. If the child was a dream, let them know. Don’t be afraid to tell the parents if the kids were a handful, though. While you don’t want to be mean towards their child, you should note any troubling behaviour and tell the parents how you handled it.