The Beginner’s Guide to Babysitting

I began my babysitting business in the winter of 2017. I put up an ad on Next Door and soon heard back from several interested families. After meeting the first, the parents and I agreed it was a good fit. Mary, an adorable two and half year old, and I clearly got along splendidly. Her parents arranged for me to babysit every Tuesday and Thursday for about five hours. It was the perfect gig for a full time student and part time political intern.

I’ve been babysitting Mary and her older brother for more than a year now. Over the course of the year, Mary’s mom introduced me to several of her friends who also needed babysitters. Her friends, in turn, introduced me to their friends, and before I knew it I had a business going. I correspond with moms nearly every day; when I’m not at school or at work, I’m babysitting. And I love it.

Working with children makes me so happy. Their energy and optimism is inspiring. Of course, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, but, by now, I’m an experienced caretaker of peoples aged two through ten. I’ve learned a lot since my first day with Mary—more than I would’ve imagined.

I’d like to share my knowledge, especially with any prospective babysitters. So I compiled a list of the most important information for any beginner to know. I hope it’s helpful!

Step 1: Meet the family

Remember that babysitting is a job, so make sure to dress appropriately and conduct yourself accordingly. If you act like a professional, you’ll be treated like one. At the same time, be friendly. Introduce yourself. Talk about why you’re interested in babysitting; what about it excites you? If you have any experience, mention that. Engage with the parents, but don’t forget to pay attention to the kids; their opinion of you is what’s most important.

Step 2: Ask questions

Before the parents leave you and the kids to your devices, make sure you know all the essential information. Get the parents’ phone numbers as well the numbers of a couple of emergency contacts. Ask about basic house rules. What’s allowed and what’s not? Often, kids are only allowed a certain amount of TV or phone time, for example. Is there a set nap time or bed time? Ask about the kids: do they have any allergies? What do they like to snack on? How do they tend to behave with strangers? How would the parents like you to enforce discipline?

Step 3: Babysit!

Talk to your kid(s). Get to know them. Ask them what they’d like to do. Maybe they want to color or play a game, or maybe they’d like you to read to them. Every kid is different, but make sure you come over prepared to keep them busy. One of my favorite activities is throwing a dance party. Put on some music and let loose. Alternatively, if the weather’s nice, go outside. Take a walk, and maybe bring some bubbles and chalk with you. There are so many activities you can try while babysitting. It can be really fun.

Questions? Please reach out 🙂

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