Hard work, care, and honesty – you have it all. You believe you can make the best babysitter there is. Of course, you get along fabulously with children and can keep them entertained and happy for hours. But what do you do in emergencies? What if the baby behaves out of the ordinary?
Whether it’s your first time with professional babysitting or you just want to get better at it, here are ten pithy tips to help you out.
1. Speak openly to the parents
The best way to start on the road to becoming a good babysitter is with a list of questions for the parents. Ask them what they want and expect from you. Tell them about yourself and let them judge if you are a fit for the family.
More importantly, keep the line of communication open while you are on the job. Dial them the moment you have a situation. It could be a small thing like locating the extra socks or an upset child that you just can’t calm down.
You are there to care for the baby and keep her healthy. Building trust with the parents is a great place to start. And you only do it by speaking to them.
2. Access as much information as possible
Before taking up a babysitting job, inform yourself about the job and babies in general. You can avoid the full list of tricky situations by expanding the scope of things that you know. One way of doing it is to speak to people who have done it in the past.
If you have the time for it, consider attending a training course for babysitters. It will shape you up well to handle and manage all kinds of babysitting possibilities.
3. Be prepared for emergencies
For a babysitter, nothing should be more important than the safety of the child. It’s implied that you should be qualified to handle just about any situational emergency. Feed your phone with important phone numbers. Include numbers of other people in the family.
Ask the parents for any allergy that the child has. Different children react differently to toys. Do not let the child near anything hazardous in the first place. If an emergency does occur, stay calm and levelheaded.
4. Plan your time with the baby
The best thing to do follow and respect the schedule that the parents have set. If you are watching over multiple children, work with a separate day planner. The calendar should help you mind the play, nap, and meal times for children. Be clear about the length of time for which the child should play and nap. Also be ready with the food that they are supposed to eat.
5. Define the limits
It is in the nature of kids to push your limits. That’s how they grow up and learn new things. It can be a tad tempting to let them break all rules and you become the cool babysitter. But you ought to be the good babysitter that respects the rules set by the child’s parents.
Self-discipline and self-control are values that children start learning from a very small age. The part you play in inculcating these values in the child is just as important. Even if you have a personal disagreement, stick to the pre-defined rules of the house.
6. And the fun too…
To be disciplined does not mean that you stop the child from having fun. A big part of the child’s upbringing involves playing. However, playing does not mean planting them right in front of the TV. Engage the child in a number of activities. Just make sure to get everything approved by the parents first.
If a kid has a certain disability, you will need to be extra careful about the kind of activities you plan. Make sure they do not feel left out.
7. Let the criticism come
Parents can be very particular about what they expect from a babysitter. So there’s every reason they could be miffed with you for some reason or the other. Receive their concerns with an open mind. Do not mind if they go a little overboard – it’s their child after all.
Interact with them on how you can do the job better. Let them know you regret what happened and assure them that you will not repeat the mistake.
8. Watch out for everything
Some emergencies can arise out of sheer carelessness. There’s always some risk lurking in the corner if you are not careful. This applies both inside and outside the house. For one, resist the urge to check your phone every other minute. Make sure your eyes are on the kid and not the phone screen.
9. Do not be too rigid
Sometimes, the parents run late or need to leave early. If possible, try to be slightly flexible with the timings. Come a little early and if required, stay late. Babysitting is that kind of a job where you might have to stretch a bit to ensure the safety of the child. That is what tells the parents that they can depend on you.
10. Be empathetic
Above and beyond every other thing, children are just children. Show them empathy and be kind to them. Even when you need to be stern, do it in a way that the child can forget it the next hour or so. Since they are still growing and learning, do not take to heart any behavior that could come across as disrespectful.
Babysitting is just like any other job. There are challenges and there are rewards, too. You need to remember that the safety of the children should be your first priority. Be prepared for what comes and have fun while at it.
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