Summer Fun: Babysitting 101

For lots of girls their first "real" job is babysitting. I still remember when I first started! I was pretty nervous - even though I knew the little boy really well, and the mom was home the whole time. It can be pretty scary starting something new, so if you're looking into babysitting this summer, check out these helpful tips!

1)     Know Where Your Heart Is 

First of all, you need to know if babysitting is the right job for you. In order to be a good babysitter you need to love kids and WANT to care for them.

If you don't WANT to do it, chances are pretty huge that you're not going to put 100% into it, and it won't be as much fun. For you or the kids! 

Also, make sure it's OK with your parents. Without their support and consent, you're not going to go very far! (Especially if you can't drive.) Make sure they're OK with the idea of you babysitting, and get their help to start up your business.

2)                       Start Slow

If you want to start a booming babysitting business, start by babysitting kids you already know. Don't jump into babysitting too quickly. Take it slowly.

Printing out flyers and knocking on every door in your neighborhood, asking if they've got kids that need babysitting, might not be the best idea.

Instead, offer to watch one of your friend's kids for an hour or two while they're shopping or running errands. Don't let your first babysitting experience be three or four hours with kids you have no experience with. Take it one baby step at a time, and gently ease yourself into bigger (and higher paying) jobs.

3)       Know How Much To Charge

Speaking of "higher paying" jobs, don't expect to be paid too much right away. When you're a beginner, you'll need to accept whatever jobs you can get to gain experience - regardless of how much they pay.

It's a good idea to have a price in mind of what you think your services are worth per hour. But don't stick too close to your ideal price. Let folks know that you're willing to negotiate...all you want right now is more experience! 

You want to get the hang of what you're doing, and the best way to do that is to practice, practice, practice. The more experience you gain over time, the more you can charge your clients.

4)                    Be A Friend

The kids you're sitting for will probably be really excited about the prospect of making a new friend (depending on their ages.) 

Have fun with them! Get down to their level. Treat them as friends. Play with them and run around with them. Be a kid again, and don't worry about getting a little dirty. Just get involved!

Don't sit on the sidelines, acting like you're too cool to climb into the sandbox. Bring fun activities into their day, and make sure they're having fun.

Who knows? You might find yourself having a crazy amount of fun too!

Babysitting Tip from the Editor: "But Mom lets me do it!"

Stick this one in your pocket and don't forget it!

While you're having fun with the kids, make sure they still know who is in charge. Don't allow bossy children to demand when bedtime is, what they eat, and how Mom let's them jump on the couch. Don't be surprised if he or she uses the line, "But Mom let's me do it!"

Firmly lay down the rules by saying, "Your Mom might let you do that, but I'm not Mom. She's not here right now, and she left me in charge, so until she gets home, you're now allowed to do that."

Don't be afraid to put your foot down and set boundaries. Some kids love to test their sitters, and see how much they can get away with! 

5)    Find Creative Ways to Bring F-U-N!

Kids love to play games. Be creative. Turn whatever you're doing into something fun!  Is it clean up time? Make it a challenge to pick up as many toys as possible in a matter of minutes! Time to eat? Pretend you're princesses or aliens (or cowboys, or whatever!) while you're eating.

Bring a fun bag with you of special toys such as sidewalk chalk, a new coloring book, or your collection of Barbies from when you were a little girl. Pull things out of your special bag whenever things get boring. Try a fun craft, or simple recipe. Be sure to keep things easy and kid-friendly!

Super-Sitter Activity Ideas

Arrive with some activities preplanned.  Try some of these fun ideas next time you've got a play date...they might just make you the coolest sitter on the block! :)

Decorate her bobby pins with colorful nail polish!

Do a Princess themed craft!
Ask who her favorite Disney Princess is, then make a wand, tiara, treasure box, or anything else Princess themed!

Play some wild water games outside. Plan your own Backyard Summer Olympics. See who can jump the highest over the sprinkler. Who can walk the fastest with a cup of water balanced on their head? Play jump-rope with the water from a garden hose. Have a throwing contest, and toss wet sponges into a bucket.
Be creative and see what you can come up with. Water games are an insta-favorite with kids!


The Creative, Caring Heart

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