Top 5 Do's & Don'ts for Your Summer Babysitting Job
Babysitting is a favorite summer job for young girls. You can make good money, work a decent schedule, and have a lot of fun doing it. However, it's not easy as some make it seem. Some girls get into babysitting because they think it will be an easy buck, but there is a lot of work that goes into the job. Here are the top 5 keys to being a good babysitter, and the top five things you should steer clear of:
Top 5 Do's
#5. Always Be on Time:
Not only does this show that you care about the family and your job, it also shows that you are responsible. If you are showing up late because someone is driving you to the job, then you need to sit down and have a conversation with that person. Many times you could be babysitting for someone who needs you to babysit because they have to work, and you don't want to make them late because you were late.
#4. Have a Schedule for the Day:
Always try to have each day figured out before hand. Come to your job with a plan. If you show up and have no idea what you're going to do with the kids, they will run all over you. While it's good to be spontaneous and have some freedom, having that as your plan for the day will only lead to chaos.
#3. Follow the Rules:
Always make sure you follow whatever rules a family gives you when you start the job. No matter how small or odd it may seem, you are not the parent. You don't get to choose what rules to bend or ignore. Your responsibility is to take care of the kids in the manner the parents expect. If there is something that they want you to do that you don't agree with or feel isn't your place, then look for a different job. Don't put yourself in an uncomfortable position, it will only make your job harder and affect your performance. To help make sure you follow the rules, make sure you plan time before your first day babysitting for the family to go over all the rules of the house. Write them all down, and ask a lot of questions. Here are some great ideas to get you started.
#2. Know Your Limits:
You don't want to bite off more than you can chew. If you are falling asleep on the job, or showing up late because of another job, you may need to re-evaluate things. Make sure you know how much you can handle. If it's a summer job, make sure you leave yourself some time to hang out with friends, but don't be so busy that you always have to hang out late at night (which leaves you tired the next day). If this is a job during the school year, make sure you leave time for homework.
#1. Get CPR Training:
Not only does this make you more marketable, but it also makes you more responsible. Having this sort of training will give you more confidence and will make the parents more comfortable. Having training like this will increase your chances of getting hired. The Red Cross offers different classes you can take to get certified. While these do have a fee, it's worth it in the long run.
Top 5 Don'ts
#5. Do Not Spend Your Time on the Phone:
You are there to take care of the children, not talk to your friends. The only time you should use your phone, or the family's phone, is to call the parents. Don't invite your people over either, there should be no one else in the house besides you and the kids. Make sure to ask the parents about rules as far as the kids having anyone over, and what to do if someone stops by the house. Don't be afraid to tell someone that they can't come in if the parents didn't tell you they were coming and you can't get a hold of them to ask.
#4. Don't Make Yourself at Home:
It is important to know the boundaries. Don't eat their food, or go rummaging looking for things like band aids, toys, medicine, etc. You should already know where everything you need is. This is someone's home, and you don't want to go rummaging through it. If you're babysitting for a long time, bring your own food. If the family is fine with you eating their food, be discerning. Don't eat a lot, only eat when the kids do, and try to eat what they are, especially the vegetables.
#3. Never Leave the Children Alone:
If you are watching several kids, always try to find a way to have them all in the same room, especially the younger kids. If some of them are teenagers, it's okay to leave them alone but make try not to make it a usual thing or be close enough so that you can easily check on them. If you are staying past children's bedtimes, make sure you check on them occasionally. It is your job to watch the children, even if they are sleeping. This is also important if you are allowed to take the children out places. Never let them leave your side or let them go to the bathroom by themselves. If one has to go, they all have to come.
#2. Do Not Give the Children Medicine:
Unless you have specifically been told by a parent what medicine to give a child, do not give the children anything. If a child is complaining of an ailment, try to find another way to relieve whatever it may be first, and, if that doesn't work, call the parent to ask them what you should do. Make sure you know if any of the children have any sort of health issues that require medication throughout the day. Also, make sure you know of any allergies a child may have and if any of them require an epipen. If you personally take any medication, and need to have it with you, keep it in your purse at all times and make sure it is out of reach of the children.
#1. Do Not Use Electronics as a Babysitter:
This is number one because it can be easy to do, but is a big turn off to parents. As a babysitter, it is your job to entertain the children, not the TV. Even if the parent is okay with the kids spending most of their time in front of the TV, you should still try to find them other things to do. If the parents have rules about television, video games, or the computer, make sure you know them and follow them. If you need help figuring out some alternatives, this site has some great ideas.