Babysitting for Beginners: Meet the Children
How first-time babysitters can start their new job with ease.
Are you worried about your first babysitting job coming up? Don’t worry – you are not alone! Lots of first-time babysitters worry about their first babysitting experience. Questions such as - will the children like me, what games will I play with them, will the parents be happy – are normal to ask yourself before you meet the kids for the first time. Thankfully there are some steps you can take to prepare yourself and have the best outcome possible.
- Do some prep
A good way to go into your first meeting with confidence is to find out from the parents what kinds of activities their children enjoy. If they like arts and crafts bring creative supplies or if they are little bookworms you can bring some age appropriate books to read with them.
It is also good to ask the parents what type of kids their children are. Are they outgoing or shy? Do they love meeting new people or does it take them a while to warm to someone? Armed with this information, you will be better prepared for the first meeting.
Another great way to prepare is to tag along on a friend’s babysitting job. If you know someone who is already a seasoned babysitter, ask them if you can go to a babysitting session with them and observe. This way you will get ideas on how to bond with the children and you can try helping out. However, it is important to remember that each child is different so what works in one household may not work in another.
- Meeting the children
Having done the prep, meeting the children for the first time will be a much easier experience. When you know what type of child you will be minding, you can act in such a way that will put them at ease. Introduce yourself and ask them questions such as their age, how they find school and what hobbies they enjoy.
If you find that the child is shy or nervous when they meet you, don’t take it personally. Many kids are naturally quiet and can take a while to warm up to new people. Stay calm and be patient. The child is more likely to relax if they feel that you are relaxed also.
Having done your research, you will already know what games they like to play and what books they like to read. However, it is important not to force these activities upon the child. Instead, start playing or reading yourself and after a while the child will hopefully join in of their own accord.
- Safety preparation
Before the parents leave for the first time, make sure they have given you a list of emergency contact details and any other information you may need.
Find out if the child has any allergies or special dietary requirements that you should know about. If the child does suffer from allergies, ensure that the parents show you exactly what to do in the event of an allergic reaction.
Doing a first-aid or babysitting preparatory course is a great way to prepare yourself for any eventuality and will help you to remain calm in case of an emergency. It will greatly help your chances with new parents if you have childcare qualifications, safety certificates and a DBS (CRB) check.
Check out our list of What Families Should Include in The Emergency Checklist.
- Stick to the rules
When you want the kids to instantly like you it is tempting to throw the rulebook out the window. However, it is important to take a firm hand and stick to the parents’ rules so the children don’t take advantage. It will also impress the parents when they come home and the kids are in bed on time and the living room is tidy. However, letting the children stay up 10 minutes late or eating an extra chocolate is okay and can help you forge a bond with one another. Just make sure it is within reason.
- Be caring
Even when you have to be firm, it is important to remember to always be caring. Looking after the child is your number one priority and this includes helping when they are upset and being a beacon of compassion that lets the child feel safe.
And finally - don’t forget to have fun!
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