Seventeen – As a former teen babysitter, I’ve seen it all: diaper explosions, crayon disasters, and tantrums that could be heard from outer space.
And no, I’m not trying to scare you away. Babysitting can be a great way to hone your *adulting* skills, find flexible work that fits into your schedule, and earn some extra cash along the way.
But there are definitely some tips and tricks that experienced babysitters know, and they’ll totally help you as you go into day one on the job.
Here are some tips to make you a top babysitter…
Score major points during the interview.
Just because you’re not going into an office doesn’t mean that babysitting isn’t still professional work. If you’re hired, you’re going to be in someone’s home with all of their most valuable possessions, watching their beloved offspring. You don’t need to wear a suit to the interview, but a button-up and dark wash jeans should do the trick.
You may just meet the parents during the interview (and then meet the children during a second meeting) or your interview might be a gathering with the whole family. Whatever the case, come prepared with questions for the parents and the kids. You might want to ask the parents if their children have any allergies or what’s expected of you while they’re out of the house. You also might want to ask the kids about their favorite hobbies (so that you know how to easily entertain them if you get the job).
And have a few talking points about yourself (what you studied in college/if you speak a second language/if you have an interest you think the kids will really love).
Kids have a sixth sense when it comes to detecting nervousness, so push your anxious feelings to the back of your mind. You’re the adult here! No matter how they might try to challenge you, know that it is not a reflection of your character, but rather a marker of their curiosity (they want to see how far they can push the limits). Stay cool and be clear about the rules when you’re home.
Bring the fun.
Worried about how to keep the kids entertained for hours? Supply some of the fun yourself. First, check in with the parents to see if they’re cool with you bringing come crafts over to their house (you want them to know the plan in case there’s a glue mishap). Then, raid your craft drawer for markers, construction paper, pipe cleaners, and more.
Keep in contact (if the parents are into it).
During your first few days on the job, the parents might feel a little anxious leaving the house. Ask them if they’d like the receive a picture or two during the evening just so they can see how much fun the kids are having. If they agree, send over a pic of them playing so that their minds can be at ease.
Go above and beyond.
If you know there’s a family birthday coming up or a holiday like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, think up a creative project for the kids to do while you’re watching them. Then, when the parents get home, you can to surprise them with something fun and make your babysitting time a joy for all parties involved.
Keep the house super neat.
If you really want to score points, leave the house a little neater than how you found it. After the kids are done playing, make a game out of cleaning everything up. Or if the kids had ice cream for dessert, make sure to the put the dishes in the dishwasher. The parents shouldn’t walk into a messy house at the end of the night.