Becoming a babysitter can not only be a rewarding and fun way to earn money, but it can help you gain important skills that can leveraged throughout life and in other careers. No wonder it’s such a popular first job! But how do you get started? And how can you get the experience and skills necessary to be a great sitter?
Before you start interviewing for sitting gigs, you’ll want to set yourself up to feel prepared and impress potential employers. Follow these steps to get the experience and job hunting skills that will get your babysitting biz off the ground:
You got an interview. Now what? Even if you already know the family, you should meet ahead of time to make sure this working relationship will be the right fit. You’ll have the opportunity to show and tell them the reasons why you’d be an excellent babysitter. And you’ll also get to know the family and make sure this is the ideal gig for you.
Here are some interview tips:
Congrats on getting the job! Before you begin, it’s prudent to do some preparation to help ensure a smooth start. You should:
If there’s anything you’re unsure of — for example, whether or not the child has any allergies — call the parents ahead of time, so you know all the details in advance.
Once the parents leave, you’re on! Babysitting won’t be easy, but you just might have some fun keeping up with the kids. Doing your very best can certainly reap benefits. Believe us, the kids will let the parents know how you were while they were gone, and if it was a positive experience, you’re likely to get called to sit again. You might also get recommended to other families looking for a good sitter. Remember to:
Make it fun: Parents love it when babysitters engage and interact with the kids, instead of sitting them in front of the TV or tablet. Keep the kids busy — and out of trouble — with fun activities, board games and age-appropriate arts and crafts.
Avoid bad behaviors: There are some pretty obvious no-nos while babysitting: drinking and smoking are two of them. But you also want to avoid any behavior that puts the kids at risk, distracts you from the job or could damage the parents’ trust in you. Also, don’t be that babysitter who lets the kids make a huge mess without cleaning up!
Communicate effectively with the parents: Make sure your employers know everything that happens while they’re away. For example, if you were supposed to take the kids to the playground but decide to stay home, send a text to let them know where you are. Or if one of the kids fell and skinned their knee, tell the parents when they get back, so they can keep an eye on the wound.
There may be some sticky situations with parents too. For example, your employer comes home late, or you’re expected to do extra work you hadn’t agreed upon. If something about the job is bothering you, you should tactfully and honestly bring it to their attention. Hopefully, together, you can work toward a solution.
Balance your schedule: Working as a babysitter while you’re in high school or college is a great way to earn extra money. But you’ll have to be strategic in managing both school and work. Schedule babysitting gigs around classes and study time, and try to scale back on work during finals or other times when studies will be demanding. That way, babysitting doesn’t negatively impact your schoolwork, and vice versa!