How to Be a Good Babysitter
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Helping Your Child Become a Safe and In-Demand Babysitter
Your child has gone from needing a babysitter to wanting to be the babysitter. Is she ready for the transition? Babysitting involves more than just playing with the kids. Safety is a top priority for anyone with children to take care of. Help your budding sitter build the skills necessary to become responsible and sought after by parents who want good care for their children.
Signing Up for Classes
Babysitting classes through the American Red Cross or another organization prepare your teen for being responsible when caring for kids. These classes teach basic child care and safety. Not only is your child better prepared to babysit, but parents may be more willing to hire your child once they know she's serious enough to take such a class. Looking into CPR training and first-aid classes for your aspiring sitter is also a good idea in case a medical situation arises during a babysitting job.
Showing Up Prepared
Sure, the kids have their own toys and activities, but bringing items along offers fresh play options. Encourage your teen to create a "sitter's bag" with books, art activities, games or other small items. It can go along on each babysitting job so there will be activity options to offer the kids if they start complaining about being bored.
Knowing the Situation
Communication is key in building strong relationships between your babysitting child and the parents who hire her. Help her practice negotiating pay to ensure she gets fairly compensated. Remind her to get emergency contact information from the parents before they leave. Your child should also ask if any of the kids have a special medical condition, medications or other issues that need to be addressed. She should also ask if there are restrictions on what the kids are allowed to do. Some parents may, for example, allow only 30 minutes of electronics time.
Practicing Safe Habits
Safety is important when babysitting. As a babysitter, your child needs to keep not just the kids safe, but herself. Constantly watching the kids helps her spot problems early. Remind her to lock the doors and watch for suspicious activity in the neighborhood. Setting rules and boundaries for the kids is also important. Young babysitters often want to be cool and loved by the kids, but letting them do whatever they want can lead to potentially dangerous situations.
Spreading the Word
Your budding babysitter won't get much work if no one knows about the service. Encourage her to talk with people in the neighborhood who have children. Let them know about the babysitting service. Making flyers or business cards can also help build a babysitting business. But perhaps the best way to get more babysitting jobs is by word of mouth. If your teen does an excellent job as a babysitter, the parents are going to gladly share her name with others.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.