Babysitting can be a rewarding first job for a teenager, especially if you genuinely enjoy being around children. Compared to other part-time jobs, it pays well, and it offers more flexibility for busy schedules. If you are interested in becoming a babysitter, or want to strengthen your skills, check out our tips below.
1. Don’t take on more than you can handle
Babysitting is a big responsibility and it can get quite challenging once you add in multiple children, babies, or a medical condition. It’s important to be honest with yourself (and the prospective family!), so you don’t find yourself in a situation you can’t manage on your own. This is especially true when you first start babysitting because you need to build your skills and confidence before you take on the big jobs.
2. Be prepared for an emergency
Before the parents leave you with their child/ren, you should ask them to show you where they keep emergency supplies like flashlights, first aid treatments, or fire extinguisher. You will also need a list of important phone numbers, like the parents’ phone number, emergency contact information, emergency services, and poison control. While we hope you will never have to contact an emergency service like poison control, but it’s better to be over-prepared than under.
3. Respect household rules
If the parents have set limits like one hour of television or no treats, you need to respect them. Not only will you get caught when the child inevitably tell their parents, but you will be teaching them it’s okay to break the rules. If the child tries to break the household rules, be firm (but nice!) and try to get them busy doing something else (like coloring or playing outside instead of watching tv).
4. Focus on the children
You might see babysitting as an easy way to earn some extra cash, but it’s a big deal for parents. They are trusting you to take care of their child/ren and keep them safe from harm. This isn’t an easy feat for some parents, so treat this job with the respect it deserves. While you are responsible for the children, it is important to be fully engaged and free from distractions like your phone. Young children can get seriously injured in a matter of a few seconds when unsupervised, so your focus needs to be on them.
5. Consider taking a First Aid/CPR course
Although it’s not a requirement for babysitting, you might want to consider signing up for a First Aid/CPR course. This course will prepare you for an emergency like choking or anaphylaxis, and how to tend to minor injuries. Having your First Aid/CPR certification will also look impressive to parents, who want to ensure their children are in good hands.