When most people think of babysitting they picture a teenage girl playing with some kids for a few hours while the parents went out for a kid free night or ran some errand without pushing a stroller for 3 hours.
This is all true but babysitting becomes so much more than just a job or obligation. I have been babysitting ever since I was 14 years old. As soon as I could I got my working papers and babysitting certification. I began introducing myself to my neighbors with kids and applied for a job in a daycare. Before I knew it, I had 3 families calling me to watch their kids on a date night and I was being called in for a shift at the daycare.
I went into it just as a way to make some extra money. I thought I would show up, play with the kids: watch movies, color and play with trains, get paid then leave. From my first day at work I fell in love with working with children and never saw it as an obligation again.
I’ve learned countless lessons from the kids I have watched. Children’s minds are simple. They do not see boundaries or limitations like adults see them, they see magic. My favorite thing to do is watch children color. They give people rainbow colored skin and create imaginary creatures in a matter of minutes. It’s not the physical act of drawing though, it’s the imagination that it takes. They have such a magical worldview. It inspires me to open up my views to see the world with a little more magic in it.
I've learned how minuscule certain details are sometimes. It always brings a smile to my face when a child starts to sing or dance with no music playing. They don't think twice about music playing. The only sound that fills the air is a child's laughter. It inspires me to be more carefree and live in the moment.
I've learned how think on my feet and problem solve. There are three kids but only two bikes? Solution: rotating system so they each get equal time and no one’s upset (hopefully). I can now come up with a solution to nearly any problem kids may throw at me within seconds. Their constant curve balls keep me on edge and inspire me to continue to look for solutions to problems instead of dismissing them.
I've learned to manage and organize my time around other people's needs. If you show up late it’s not like an office job where you just have a big stack of papers waiting on your desk. If you show up late it screws up the kids schedule and the parent’s day. Knowing the kids look forward to me coming every morning or every Friday afternoon inspires me to keep going and be the best babysitter I could be.
The best, and most rewarding part of working with kids is their unconditional love. As long as you keep smiles on their faces they will always look forward to your next visit- which is my favorite part.
Babysitting will always be my first job. It may have just been temporary, but the skills I have gained and lessons I've learned will forever help me in whatever my future holds for me.