How to Get a Teen Babysitting Job
13 steps for becoming a great sitter and landing babysitting jobs.
Elizabeth SanFilippo, Contributor
Articles> How to Get a Teen Babysitting Job
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 -- 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 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'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 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

    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'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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(69) Comments
When joining can I do more than one thing? Can I be a babysitter and a pet care person?
July 10, 2015 at 11:21 PM
Do I need a work permit to babysit strangers kids?
July 10, 2015 at 11:19 PM
How did you do at home when did you do you do it
April 6, 2015 at 8:29 PM
Hi I'm Leah and I am 15 years old and I wondering if 2 people could work as a pair at the same babysitting job
April 6, 2015 at 5:43 PM
Hi I and I've been babysitting for a few months but the families I sit for are pretty far away. I want more jobs in the area but I don't know many families with young kids and in not part of a church... What should I do?
February 9, 2015 at 1:18 PM
Katherine Russo
Katherine Russo
Great information.
January 27, 2015 at 10:23 AM
I'm turning 13 and I was wondering if I was aloud to babysit. I have taken a training course and I have a certificate so I am a certified babysitter.
January 12, 2015 at 7:22 PM
shanita banks
shanita banks
This Is Some Very helpful Information, Thank You So Much:-)
October 1, 2014 at 8:19 PM
Member Care Representative
Member Care Representative
Hello Leah, thanks for the comment! Wanting to take on responsibility is good sign of maturity, I recommend reading these articles with your parents so you all can plan on taking the right steps together:
September 12, 2014 at 4:20 PM
Morgan Lash
Morgan Lash
Thanks helps alot
August 24, 2014 at 5:32 PM
Hey I'm Ashley and I'm 12 I have been baby sitting for a year it is fun I love it!!! I hope that I can get some help with money.....
August 24, 2014 at 4:59 PM
Brittany A.
Brittany A.
Great outstanding info!
August 17, 2014 at 1:09 AM
Ronisha B.
Ronisha B.
I'm 15 years young , I love kids I think there cool fantastic & amazing to be around , I'm looking for a job so I can make extra money to help my mom out with some of the stuff around the house & also looking forward to meeting new people .
August 16, 2014 at 2:13 AM
I am 12 and I want to babysit to make money but my parents don't think I'm mature enough what should I do to show them I'm mature?
August 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Aile F.
Aile F.
Hi. I am 16 years old. I've been babysitting for more than 2 years now but don't get paid sometimes. Like every other teen I like to go out to the movies with my friends, have dinner with them and go to many places. But sometimes I just don't like it when they pay for my stuff when we go out. I've looked for jobs on here but many of them require a car, I don't have one and I'm in the process of learning how to drive. What is a faster way to get a job?
June 30, 2014 at 12:16 PM
Leia H.
Leia H.
I am almost always finding myself annoyingly tight on money, and my parents refuse to give me an allowance. Whenever I go out with my friends, basically to anywhere, I find myself in a sticky situation, because I can either repeatedly and embarrassingly ask them for money, or I be left out of the fun of buying snow cones and riding on roller coasters, and frankly, I am tired of it.
I know the seemingly obvious solve to my problem is getting a job, but there is only one problem...the babysitting and lawn-mowing market is kinda rough for a 12 year old girl. It sounds too young an age to work for most people, but I am more mature than most people my age. One reason being that I am just a responsible person in general, and the other being that I am now preparing to start my freshman year (I skipped 2 grades, the 2nd and 3rd). All of my friends (who are in my grade, so they are 14-15ish) have good paying jobs, so we usually due stuff that requires $$$. I am definitely ready for the responsibility of working, but nobody is giving me a chance in the babysitting industry, due to the fact that a 12 year old is not stereotyped s the most trustworthy person...
Any suggestions??? Please?
June 28, 2014 at 2:55 AM
Tatjana S.
Tatjana S.
great information
June 25, 2014 at 5:18 PM
Rachael Ward
Rachael Ward
Hi, my name is Rachael, I have recently left school with high hopes of getting good grades as I plan to start A Levels this September. I am 16 years of age and have lots of experience looking after young children, mainly family members, from the ages of 6 weeks old, up to 8 years old. I would like to develop my experiences as it is something I love doing. Being around children puts a big smile on my face and I love making young people happy. I have had no problems with police or the law, which will help ease parent's minds as I know how difficult it is for parent's to leave their children with strangers. I am looking to help children have a little bit of fun and laughter with care and comfort on the side but I can be firm when I need to be, and always have the young person's best interests at heart. If someone could possibly give me some advice on how to start up, I would be really grateful,
Thankyou x
June 24, 2014 at 6:25 PM
Morelle T.
Morelle T.
Though many people are reluctant to hire teens, I think we make very good babysitters
June 14, 2014 at 9:27 AM
Christina court
Christina court
Hi I'm looking for a babysitting job, I'm 15 years old,I've been baby string for 4 years now,I do part time mainly in evenings email me if interested,thanks.
June 14, 2014 at 7:05 AM

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