5 Basic Tips to Be the Best Babysitter Ever
Since it is the summer, I have been babysitting a lot! I naturally learned how to care for children by my mom since she was a kindergarten teacher, and now, she works at our local church as the preschool coordinator. I’ve learned a lot from her, and been given a lot of advice from her that I thought would be fun to share with you! So, here are 5 tips to remember while babysitting.
- Always come with a plan or activity to do.
This point is super helpful because you never want the kids to be bored. If the kids are bored, then they might not be having a good time, and if they aren’t having a good time then they will tell their parents that they liked the other babysitter better from last week. This leads the parents to put you on the lower ranking on their list of people to call for a sitter. The parents do this because they want the best for their children and if they are going to spend their money on a babysitter, it's going to be a good babysitter. However, if you have something fun planned like baking, an awesome game you make up, or even bringing some of your favorite children’s books from home to read together with the kids; they will be more entertained and want you back for the next time.
- Stay away from phones, electronics, and TV.
This goes for you and the kids. The parents will normally use TV and electronics when they need to get away from them, so don't take advantage of that. I have been known to break this rule but only when I have gone through my bag of tricks and activities, which should not be an excuse (see #1). Have real-time connections with the kids and again, have fun! The importance of staying away from your phone is key. A lot of people think that kids are dumb, but an 8 year-old can tell that you are just there for the money. Obviously, you should always keep your phone near you at all times, but you should only be texting or calling the parents of the child, your own parents, emergency contacts, and 911. It frustrates me so much when a teenager posts a picture of a child who they are babysitting on social media. Not only are they not paying attention to the children/child, but they are posting a picture of someone’s child on their personal social media that they don't have the right to. It’s outright disrespectful. Even if you know the parents well, you should always ask before putting something out there or don't post it at all.
- Be certified in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver.
I’ve never had to use either of these before, but it is super helpful to know them. The parents will know that you are taking this job seriously and can feel comforted that you have it under control. A certification could move a babysitter up on the list of sitters to call because the parents can trust you more. Remember, you are the one in charge and the one to blame if something goes wrong, so be safe and be smart.
- On all occasions, make the kids clean up.
This is the perfect thing to teach to the kids and install into their brains while you are there. I will normally either race them to see who can clean up the most and use a timer, or offer them a reward at the end of their task. This teaches them responsibility without being too strict, and you can still have fun while cleaning up! Not only will the parents be grateful, but it also kills time.
*bonus!* To go along with cleaning up, you should wash their dishes and put them away if the kids are going to bed for a nap or having their own quiet time. I'm not just talking about the dishes that you used earlier, I’m talking about all of the dishes in the sink and/or the dishwasher. If the kids are awake and you have run out of ideas of things to do, giving them the job of putting away the dishes is a great game to see who knows the kitchen better. The parents will be grateful and not expect this from you at all because you are eliminating a not so very fun chore from their list of things to do. By washing the dishes, you could possibly earn more money and you will reach a higher rank on their list of babysitters.
- Be friends with the kids!
Yes, you are always primarily in charge of the kids. However, that doesn't mean that you can't be friends and have fun! If you have a good relationship with the kids, the more the family will want you back! I myself have been dropped lower on the sitters list because I wasn't focused on the kids enough and they were bored since I didn't prepare activities in advance. By creating a friendship with the kids, they can be themselves around you and want to hang out with you more.
Good luck on your future babysitting! I hope you can apply these fun tips and tricks on your next adventure. At all times, remember to have fun and be smart. I miss you!