For a teenage girl, there is no job easier than babysitting. You receive money without being taxed, kids are cute and fun to play with, and you can always turn down a job offer if you have something else going on. Babysitting, however, if you do not know how to do it right, can easily become the worst job and longest four hours of your life.
Getting asked to babysit and the family never calls you again after one job? Maybe you need to change something in your babysitting technique. There are certain things you can do to make sure the kids are entertained, you are enjoying yourself, and the parents are happy when they get home.
Some families will feed you, but some will not. There is nothing worse than having to wait until 11 o’ clock to eat your dinner. Better safe than hungry!
Arrive at least 5 minutes early, but no more than 10
It is always good to be punctual and arriving early shows that you are serious about your job. Arriving too early, however, makes the parents feel rushed to get ready and leave, and leads to awkwardness when you have to wait for them to leave.
Do not park behind the parents
If you are coming over to babysit, odds are the parents are going somewhere, and that is difficult for them to do if they are blocked in. Save everyone the trouble and park somewhere else.
Listen to ALL instructions
It is very important to know if a child has specific routines. Whether it’s about letting the dog out, where the diapers are kept, or how their child only sleeps if you leave the hall light on, not listening to a parent’s instructions could give you more trouble than you need.
Ask the right questions
It is beneficial to know what time the kids need to be in bed, what they will eat for dinner, and especially things that they are not allowed to touch or do. Parents often forget to mention important information if they are not reminded when you ask questions. This also makes the parent feel more comfortable leaving since you know everything you need to know.
Lock the doors behind them
This is another step in making the parents feel more comfortable leaving. It should also make you feel more comfortable knowing that you and the children are safe.
Play with the kids, do not just supervise
There is a big difference in the babysitters that supervise and make sure the kids are still alive when the parents get back, and the babysitters that actually play hide and seek, make up new games, pretend to be in a marching band, and entertain the kids. It also makes the time pass a lot faster.
Do not play on your phone
Even if you think the child is too young to notice, they will. Playing on your phone causes two problems: one, they will want take it from you and play the games you have, two, they will get mad that you are not listening to them or playing with them.
Clean up whatever mess is made while you are there, and then a little bit more
After a night out, the last thing parents want to do when they get home is clean up the mess that the kids made while they had a babysitter. This is easiest when you clean up before moving on to the next game, toy, or activity. If you go above and beyond and clean up the mess that was there when you arrived, you might just get tipped.
Wash or at least rinse the dishes
You would not leave dirty plates and cups out at your own home, so you shouldn’t do at anyone else’s either. Washing dishes is another task the parents will not want to do when they get home.
Make bedtime fun
There are many tricks to making bedtime more of a game and make it seem like they are still playing. Instead of calling it “bath time” call it “swimming in the tub”. Tell them you will time them to see how fast they can change into their pajamas. Let them choose a book to read if they get in bed in time. Get creative, kids do not want to do anything unless they are having fun while doing it.
Do not watch bad shows even if the kids are asleep
You never know if little eyes and ears have snuck out of bed and are listening or watching what you have on the T.V. You do not want to be the reason a child has discovered the “d” word or is having nightmares because of a scary movie you were watching.
Fill the parents in when they get home
It is always good to give the parents feedback on how the kids behaved while you were there. It is good to tell them if they misbehaved so that you will not encounter the same problems next time. Good feedback is also appreciated. Often kids are better for the babysitter than they are for their mom and dad so it’s refreshing for the parents to hear that their child listened well and went to bed exactly when you told them to.