How to Get a Teen Babysitting Job

13 steps for becoming a great sitter and landing babysitting jobs.

teen babysitter with kid

Allowance not cutting it anymore? Are your parents after you to learn about responsibility and get a job? Babysitting could be the answer.

Babysitting is a great job -- especially for teenagers. You can make quick cash while looking after and playing with kids. You've probably had to watch your little brother or cousin before anyway. Why not do the same thing and get paid for it?

While being a babysitter is fun, you do have to be a little serious sometimes. It's a real job and the parents are trusting you with their kids.

Harriet Brown, author of "The Babysitter's Handbook," Dr. Danette Glassy, a pediatrician and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Early Education and Child Care, and Halley Bondy, author of "Don't Sit on the Baby!: The Ultimate Guide to Sane, Skilled, and Safe Babysitting," offer a step-by-step guide to how to become a great babysitter.

And if you're between the ages of 14 and 17, you can create a parent-monitored account on Care.com -- a parent will have to approve your account and will be notified about any activity. Once you turn 18, your account will change over to a regular provider one. Unfortunately if you're younger than 14, you can't sign up on Care.com just yet.

  1. Check Your Schedule
    Before you even think about babysitting, look at your schedule. Is babysitting realistic? "If you're up to your neck in extracurricular activities from morning until night seven days a week, you probably won't be of much use to families," Bondy says. "Figure out when and if you're free to babysit, so you can give a clear, accurate schedule to the families you want to work with."

  2. Learn about Child Care and Safety
    Now take some classes that will help you learn the babysitting ropes. All three experts advise potential sitters to take a babysitter training course and learn CPR and first aid. They're usually cheap and short, so definitely worth it!

    Lots of organizations in your area offer them -- like community centers, hospitals and your local Red Cross. Check out this article for more on How to Get First Aid and CPR Training »

    Another bonus of taking classes? You can earn even more money as a babysitter! 80 percent of parents feel that teenage babysitters should be paid more if they are trained in first aid, CPR and child care, according to a survey from the Red Cross.

  3. Do a Safety Check
    Because safety is so important when you're watching kids, it gets two steps!

    Before you even think about babysitting a child, make sure you know what to do in an emergency situation like:

    • the child is choking
    • the child gets a minor scrape or cut
    • the child falls on his bike and hits his head
    • you get locked out of the house
    • there's a fire
    • a burglar breaks in
    • the child runs off

    Learn more about What to Do in a Child Care Emergency »

  4. Start Slowly
    You don't have to jump right into watching strangers' kids. "For resume-building and practice on real kids, offer to babysit your family members' and neighbors' kids," suggests Bondy. "If you're brand new to sitting, you'll want to have adult supervision at first, and eventually you can segue to real sitting for pay."

  5. Determine Your Rate
    The most important part: money. How much should you charge for babysitting?

    Some families may want to give you a crazy low amount -- after all that's what they used get paid when they babysat 20 years ago. Don't fall for it. If you're responsible, experienced and trained in safety, you can ask for more.

    Your price also changes depending on how many kids you're watching, how old they are (younger kids need more hands-on attention), if you'll be playing with them the entire time or if it's nighttime and they're sleeping.

    "Use your judgment, and talk to a parent or trusted adult to figure out a solid rate," Bondy suggests. You can negotiate with families, but it helps to have a starting figure in mind.

    Check out Care.com's Babysitter Pay Calculator to figure out how much you should be making.

  6. Spread the Word
    Now that you're ready to start, you actually need kids to babysit for. Let friends, family, and neighbors know you want to babysit. Put a notice on community boards where parents often are, like the grocery store, library and pediatrician's office.

    "Tell all the adults you know and trust that you're looking for babysitting work -- your parents' friends, your aunt, your neighbors, your tutors, your soccer coach...everyone is a potential dollar sign," suggests Bondy.

    You can also find babysitting jobs on Care.com. Create a profile and apply to jobs -- all for free.
  7. Interview Safely
    When you find a job, the parents will probably want to interview you -- either over the phone or in person. Before talking to someone you don't know, make sure your own parents know all the details about the job and who you're interviewing with. If something seems odd, tell your folks immediately. You need to stay safe too!

    When you interview with a family, tell your parents when the interview is scheduled for, where you're going and the names/address of the parents. Ask them to drive you to the interview and wait outside. Or call them as soon as it's over.

    Prepare for questions the family may ask by reading this article on How to Interview for Child Care Jobs »

  8. Plan Activities
    Once you land that babysitting job, you're not done yet. Think about what you'll do with the kids to keep them entertained.

    "Ask the parents what kinds of activities their child likes to do ahead of time, so you can prepare for that," Dr. Glassy recommends. "Think about whether the activities you're planning are age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate."

    Look for ideas on sites like Zero to Three, HealthyChildren, Let's Move and Care.com.

    Then run the activities by the parents. "Always do what the parents instructed," Dr. Glassy says. "Come to the job with some suggestions for activities, or bring books to share with the children. Be sure to ask the parents if they think these might be fun for their child."

  9. Be Prompt
    Show off how professional you are by arriving on time. This shows you respect the parent's schedule and you're reliable. If soccer practice is running a few minutes late, make sure you call the family and let them know.

    But "don't cancel at the last minute," warns Brown. Word will spread with local parents (they all talk!) that you're flakey and you can say goodbye to your babysitting career.

  10. Put Your Phone Away
    "Young children can get into dangerous or deadly situations very quickly, so a babysitter must not be distracted by socializing while on-duty: no texting, no Facebooking or Internet/email/Twitter-checking, no personal phone calls [and] no personal visits from friends," says Dr. Glassy.

    Besides, your friends will be impressed later when you tell them you couldn't talk or text back because "you're working."

    Once the rug rats go to sleep and the house is quiet, you have a little more freedom. But make sure you ask the parents before they leave what's okay: TV, phone, computer, etc. Keep an ear out for noises, don't get distracted and stay quiet -- you don't want to wake the kids!

  11. Clean Up
    One thing all three experts agree on: if you want to impress the parents, tidy up before they return. It will really show off how responsible you are. If the house got messy during your Lego building or that action figure battle, make sure all toys are put away before bedtime.

  12. Go the Extra Mile
    How do you make sure the parents will call you again? "Be organized," Brown suggests. "Tell the parents how your time with the kids went and anything they might need or want to know about it."

    "Most parents are content when you show up on time, have a positive attitude and follow their rules -- so if you arrive at the first gig with a thousand bells and whistles, you might overwhelm the parents and the kids," Bondy says. "Over time, however, you can show the parents that you're really invested in the job by repeating things the kids told you, by showing up with activities you know they will love or by offering ideas for future outings -- these are sincere efforts, not forced ones."

  13. Don't Try to Be Perfect
    Know that no matter how prepared you are, babysitting isn't easy. "You have a little life in your hands, and you have to please the parents," Bondy says, reflecting on her own past babysitting experiences.

"But I learned quickly that I would never be 100-percent perfect as a babysitter. I wouldn't cook the broccoli just right every time, I wouldn't be able to quell every tantrum immediately and not all my ideas for games would fly. However, I learned how to be confident despite these tiny setbacks and how to be a great sitter -- if not a totally perfect one. Confidence goes a long way when it comes to handling kids."

Learn more about Care.com's Teen Care program by reading these Frequently Asked Questions about being a teen caregiver »

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance journalist. Her work can be found here

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Comments (35)
Care.com Member Care
Hi Kayla, you already started a profile so you are on the right track! I would recommended continuing to boost your profile by adding a photo of yourself and including your past experiences.

When creating your profile you can also create your availability. In your case, be sure to indicate you are free to babysit Sunday-Tuesday and find jobs that meet these times. Many families are also flexible with their schedule, so feel free to apply to many jobs that interest you.

I hope this helps and best wishes on the job search!
Posted: April 18, 2014 at 3:25 PM
Care.com Member Care
Hi Iana! It's great that you have an account and are searching for jobs already! CPR certifications, as well as other things like Babysitting or First Aid classes are definitely great places to start. Getting lots of references and reviews on your profile will also help you to stand out. The job search process can take time, but it sounds like you are off to a great start! Keep it up!
Posted: April 10, 2014 at 5:58 PM
Care.com Member Care
Hi Vanessa! I'm so glad to hear you are interested in finding a babysitting job! To get started, you should create a profile. If you are 14-17 years old, you will need to have a parent monitored account. Once your profile is created and approved, you can start searching for and applying to jobs in your area!
If you have any concerns, we recommend checking out our Safety Center for tips on the whole job searching process. This will give you ideas on the best ways to make sure you are staying as safe as possible during your job search. I hope this helps, and best of luck!
Posted: April 10, 2014 at 5:46 PM
Kayla K.
Hi. Im 18 years old. I have a job already but only work friday nights and saturday nights I would like to babysit sunday monday and tuesday my mom is my revrence. When I was younger she ran a day care.... I just dont know where to start?
Posted: April 05, 2014 at 1:12 PM
Iana O.
To whom it may concern-
I have a care.com profile, it is parent monitored; as I am only fourteen years of age. I have applied to 46 jobs and I was promptly reject three times. I am working on becoming CPR certified, and I have multiple recommendations. What can I do to better my chances as far as being hired?
Posted: April 04, 2014 at 11:07 PM
vanessa
hello !!!! my name is vanessa i love to work with kids but im not sure how to find a babysitting job or if its safe
Posted: April 04, 2014 at 10:11 PM
Care.com Member Care
Hi Emily, You can advertise your own services wherever you feel comfortable doing so! Care.com is a great option for offering child care services, because we have a full database of families looking for exactly what you are offering. You can create an account and explain what you do, as well as include your experience and qualifications. I hope this helps!
Posted: March 27, 2014 at 1:37 PM
Photo of Savannah L.
Savannah L.
I'm having the worst time finding a babysitting job. I'm 15 almost 16 in 2 months and I feel I don't get any jobs because I don't have references or reviews here on Care.com from my previous work. The problems with this is that I don't have previous work. I've babysat my younger siblings and past neighbors all my life. How do I get someone to take a chance on me so I can improve my skills?
Posted: March 20, 2014 at 5:56 PM
Emily Davies
Hi , in 21, i babysit for a friends son, and i also help out at a beaver scout group once a week, i was just wondering... Am I allowed to just advertise on Facebook and noticeboards that i am offering this service?
Posted: March 12, 2014 at 9:21 AM
Essence Carothers
Hi. I'm 14 years old and I absolutely love kids especially little baby's.I am thinking about joining but I wasn't sure how it was going to work out I have track practice after school and then I'm totally free would it still work out for me to sign up?
Posted: March 02, 2014 at 8:54 PM
Care.com Member Care
Hi Christine! So glad to hear you are going to be signing up soon! While being CPR certified isn't necessary to become a member, it's definitely a great thing to have to improve your chances of finding a job! Check out this article for more information on how to get certified: http://www.care.com/child-care-how-to-get-first-aid-and-cpr-training-p1017-q25549542.html
Posted: February 24, 2014 at 2:31 PM
Christine
Hi I'm Christine and I absolutely adore little children. I'm almost 18 and I'll be signing up soon. I have some knowledge about CPR because I learned it at my school but however, Im not certified yet. What should I do? Can I still be a babysitter on care.com?
Posted: February 16, 2014 at 2:01 PM
Nicole
Hi, I'm 19 and I've never babysat before but I love kids and I would love to be able to have a job where I'm working with kids every day. If I sign up here will I get a job even though I have little to no experience? Thanks!
Posted: February 12, 2014 at 10:53 PM
Care.com Member Care
Hi everyone! Thanks for all the comments. Cierra - I would recommend just doing some babysitting on weekends in your free time, and by the time soccer is over you will already have job experience, and some references!
Danielle - We're sorry to hear about this! Here's a great article we have that you can share with them - maybe it will help with some of their concerns! http://www.care.com/child-care-10-reasons-your-teenager-should-babysit-p1017-q26406309.html
Posted: February 05, 2014 at 6:07 PM
Danielle Torossi
Hi, i'm 16 years old, have no job and would like one! I'm great with kids and kids love me, they never want to leave my side. I'm also certified in CPR, AED, and First Aid by the American Heart Association. But, my parents don't want me to babysit. How can I convince them?
Posted: February 02, 2014 at 11:17 AM
Cierra
I am 14 years old and I love kids!! But right not I am doing soccer so I don't have time to babysit after school but I can on the weekends. After soccer I will be able to babysit after school. Should I wait until soccer is over or should I just join now?? :)
Posted: February 01, 2014 at 4:21 PM
Genesis
I'm 15 almost 16, I need money and usually take care of my younger siblings and sometimes my cousins and my parent's friend's kids. Should I make an account? I would like to babysit but it'd have to be after 4pm
Posted: January 22, 2014 at 10:11 PM
Care.com Member Care
Hi Jessica! You should definitely think about making an account! All of our members under the age of 18 will have to have parent monitored accounts, which is just one way we make sure you stay safe! Once you make an account, you can look through your Privacy Settings to edit what information is shown on the profile. You can also look through our Safety Center here: http://www.care.com/safety-center-p1273.html for a bunch of really great tips to keep yourself safe throughout your job search! We hope this helps, and best wishes!
Posted: January 17, 2014 at 9:14 AM
Jessica
Hi i am a 14 year old girl and this year in the summer i will be 15 . I love kids very much and love looking out for them , and kids usually like me too. The only things i do as extra currricular activities are softball and i am on my school's dance team. Should i considder making an account? How can i be sure that it is safe too?
Posted: January 11, 2014 at 3:29 PM
Member Care
Hi Heather! You can absolutely create an account if you are 16! You will need to have a parent monitored account until you turn 18. You can go to the Care.com website, select that you are looking for jobs, and the service that you are providing. The system will then walk you through all of the steps of creating your profile, and getting set up with a parent! I hope this helps and wish you all the best!
Posted: January 08, 2014 at 11:52 AM
Heather
Hey! I am 16 and I wanted to know if I'm able to make an account?
Posted: January 03, 2014 at 5:56 PM
Member Care T.
Hi Brody!
It's great to hear you are so interested in creating a profile and getting started in the job search! Unfortunately, per our Terms of Use you would need to wait until you are 14 to create an account on Care.com. Once you turn 14, you will need to have a parent monitored account, but can then start searching for and applying to jobs in your area. We apologize that you have to wait, but wish you all of the best in the new year!
Posted: January 02, 2014 at 5:31 PM
Brody
I am 13 years old but I am very mature for my age. Is there any way I could create an account or would I have to wait another year?
Posted: January 01, 2014 at 9:24 PM
Lanaya G
Thanks :)
Posted: December 14, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Care.com Member Care
Hi Danaya!
It's great to hear you are interested in Child Care! If you are between the ages of 14-17 you can create an account as usual, but it will have to be parent monitored until you are 18. Once you create an account, your profile will be live on the site and you can start applying to open jobs in your area. We hope this helps, and wish you the best!
Posted: November 22, 2013 at 10:44 AM
Danaya B.
- how can i put out the word that i am a young teen babysitter ?
Posted: November 20, 2013 at 8:28 PM
Member Care
Hi Sarah,
We're happy to hear you are interested in Child Care jobs! If you are between the ages of 14-17, you should try Care.com! You can enroll through our homepage to get started, and will need a parent monitor on the account for safety. If you are over 18, you can create an independent account. Either way, setting up your account is quick and easy, and you should be able to begin applying for jobs soon!
Best of luck!
Posted: October 03, 2013 at 9:38 AM
Sarah
Any idea how I can get jobs other than, family, school or church? All those places won't work for me. :|
Posted: October 01, 2013 at 8:31 PM
Cristel B.
Thanks for the helpful tips
Posted: August 28, 2013 at 2:05 AM
Photo of De'ja M.
De'ja M.
Very, very helpful, thank you
Posted: May 27, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Alexxis P.
This is a great resource! Thanks for the tips!:)
Posted: May 24, 2013 at 1:39 PM
Photo of Lola A.
Lola A.
These tips are wonderful!
Posted: May 23, 2013 at 3:35 AM
Kishonna B.
This was very helpful, thanks
Posted: May 19, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Caryn C.
great information
Posted: April 01, 2013 at 3:27 PM
Amelia M.
this is great information for me. thank you
Posted: March 27, 2013 at 9:57 PM
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