I remember the first time I decided to start babysitting. I guess I was luckier than most, because I grew up assisting in a daycare, as well as watching my younger sisters and cousins. You would think I wouldn’t be nervous at all. Wrong! I was so nervous I had butterflies. It is perfectly normal to be a bit nervous your first time. Babysitting is exciting and lots of fun, but it can also seem a bit scary if you’re not prepared. Have no fear! I’m here to help! Here is a beginners guide to babysitting to help you get started.
Don’t worry. Babysitting is actually quite easy if you prepare yourself a bit first. In this blog series I will be going over some tips on how to do just that. If you follow my handy tips you will be well on your way to a rewarding and exciting job as a babysitter!
Steps to Begin Babysitting:
Step 1: Start building your skills by learning from others.
- Talk to some friends or family members about their experiences babysitting. They may have lots of great advice, and even some funny stories to share. Maybe they’ve made some mistakes, but that’s okay. You can learn from those mistakes too.
- Take a babysitting class. Your local library, YMCA, or Red Cross may have free or inexpensive classes available.
- Take a CPR class! I emphasize this one because it is crucial. Hopefully you will never have to use CPR, but it is better to be prepared. It will also give you a greater feeling of confidence and help you get jobs – it helps parents choose you as their babysitter and gives them more confidence in you.
- Take a food safety class. If you’ve never really cooked before this may be a necessary class for you. Many high schools teach food safety as part of home economics, or you can also find class info at your local library or community college.
Step 2: Find a job
- Start out by watching a family member or close friend’s children. If you’re especially nervous you can even start out by helping out with them while their mom is still home. This gives you lots of great experience, and gives their mom a chance to get some housework done.
- Spread the word. Your mom, friends, friend’s parents, or teacher may be able to give you a good lead of someone who needs a sitter, and the word of mouth will help as a reference to get you the job.
- Look for listings online – but be careful! There are lots of listings for great jobs online, but as with any online ad, you need to be careful. If you find a good listing, ask the parents if you can meet in advance on neutral ground. Also make sure a parent is waiting in the parking lot or around the corner. Most parents won’t mind (Hey, they’re parents too! They get it!), and may even see this as a good sign. Parents are looking for someone that values safety and thinks ahead.
Step 3: Ask good questions & prepare a binder or notebook
- Ask the parents some good questions and write in or type out their answers. Here are some good examples:
- Parent Names
- Children Names, Ages, Birth dates
- Address (In case you need to call emergency services for any reason)
- Phone Numbers
- Emergency Contacts (grandparents, neighbors, etc)
- Allergies/Dietary Restrictions
- Pets and pet care
- Any other instructions (bed times, house rules, etc.)
- Print out some emergency numbers just in case.
- Poison control number
- Police non-emergency number
- Fire Department non-emergency number
- If you have a car – print out directions to the hospital or emergency center that is closest to their home (just in case).
- Keep a backup list of emergency contacts in your smart phone, but don’t rely solely on that in case your battery dies or you can’t get reception in an emergency.
Step 4: Bring the fun!
- Look up some great ideas for activities and games to play with the kids and keep them busy.
- Bring some puzzles, coloring books, etc. to keep little hands busy and mess free.
There you have it! I hope these tips will help get you started. Good luck! Click here for part 2 of this series: A Beginning Babysitter’s Guide-Discipline Basics.