Babysitting is not just for teenagers. As a busy college student seeking an easy way to make quick cash, babysitting can serve as a wonderful part-time job. If you have a love for kids, a dose of responsibility, and exploration for the inner child in you, babysitting is right up your alley.

What is your criteria?

What is your pay rate? Are you going to babysit at other people’s homes or your own? How far are you willing to drive to someone’s house? What days and times are you planning to babysit? Are you offering to tutor, drive, prepare meals, clean the house, or bathe the children?  What ages do you specialize in? Figure out your babysitting plan. This way, you’ll know exactly what to say to parents who want to find out more information about you.

How do I get started?

Advertise that you are a sitter looking to be hired. Figure out what days and times you’d be available to work, skills and experiences that make you a qualified candidate, references, and contact information. A resume or outline works to organize your portfolio. Flyers, Facebook, and Care.com also work wonderfully.

Search around and find parents in need of a sitter. Ask nearby neighborhoods, churches, daycares, and schools if they know anyone with younger children that need to be cared for .

Become certified in CPR and First-Aid. You never know if an emergency will arise when you’re on the spot. Showing that you have credentials such as CPR and first-aid will give you the upper hand in landing a sitting job. Children’s safety is of upmost importance and parents care that you’ll be qualified to keep them safe. Red Cross offers an informative day-long certification program that is easy to complete.

Interviewing Tips

  • Remain calm and confident. Meeting the family can be intimidating initially if you don’t know what they are like, but demonstrate kindness and professionalism when you meet them. Show them that you are a responsible, caring adult and feel capable to care for their young ones.
  • Come prepared with questions to ask the parents. What does a typical day-in-the-life look like for the kids? What things do they enjoy? Are they allergic to any foods? Asking good questions will show the parents that you want to be prepared for the job.
  • Show up on time and dress appropriately.  If you were  interviewing for a new sitter to care for your children, would you hire someone who arrived 10 minutes late in unkempt clothing? Or, would you feel more confident in a person who showed up on time and dressed nicely? First impressions can definitely influence whether you get the job or not.

     Typical Interview Questions from Parents

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • What previous babysitting experience do you have?
  • Have you worked with difficult children?
  • How do you handle conflict? Misbehavior?
  • Are you good with pets?
  • Will you be available to drive my kids to (school, sports, church, etc.)?
  • What does your schedule look like?

     The Babysitter’s Ultimate Packing List

Kids love new toys, food, movies, games, and activities. It gives them something exciting and different to do for a change.  With that being said, make sure you ask for the parents’ approval for anything you anticipate on bringing. Here are some key suggestions that I would recommend as a general guide.

  • Puzzles
  • Paper and crayons
  • Beanie Babies, dolls, or action figures
  • Stickers
  • Children’s books
  • Snacks
  • First-aid kit
  • Pen and paper
  • Cell phone (for emergencies)
  • Copy of child’s daily routine/schedule

      Key Points to Being a Great Babysitter

Keep them safe. This is your number one priority. Make sure everything is baby-proofed, all doors are locked, and any potential hazards are out of site.  Never leave children unattended.

Stay off your cell phone and laptop. You are being paid to give your full attention and energy to these kids – not by texting your boyfriend or browsing YouTube. Be there for them and have fun!

Stick to the schedule. Believe it or not, kids are built into a routine if their parents implement it. You don’t want to mess it up. They are programmed to eat and sleep at certain times. Throwing off their daily habits can be detrimental to their eating and sleeping patterns.

You must demonstrate tough love. As a babysitter, you are a temporary parent. You are there to love, play, and care for the children. But, you are also there to abide by the rules and let them know when they are misbehaving. Saying “No” can be hard. Yes, the kids might cry or throw a tantrum if they can’t stay up late or eating ice cream for dinner. But, you must do what is right and necessary.

Babysitting can be hard work, but it is definitely worth it.

Take care!

Julia