Surprise! This week is for all those babysitters out there. Babysitting can be a very rewarding job, but there is no denying that it’s not for everyone because it’s freaking hard! Unfortunately, it’s even harder to find a family that treats you right and when you do find that family- you want to stay there. The bad news, your list is a little longer than the parent’s (see last week’s post for tips on how to keep your babysitter happy). The good news, everything on this list is totally doable, simple, and if you follow these guidelines that dream babysitting job is a guaranteed keeper.
*Just like any other job, don’t be late. The parents might be going to a wedding, a party, or have a reservation that they need to be there on time for- if you are late, they are going to be late.
*Most importantly, make sure the children’s parents leave emergency contact information. It’s usually pretty hectic around the house while they are getting ready to leave, so they may forget to leave the numbers so before they walk out the door make sure you know where that information is. If you don’t see it, ask!
*Ask about any special rules they have such as bed time, forbidden snacks, a certain amount of television watching, etc. Just because the parent’s are going out for the night does not mean the children can disobey their parent’s rules.
*Make sure that the house is as clean (or cleaner) as it was when you got there before the parents get home. Don’t make more work for them- clean the dishes, wash the counters, etc.
*Ask whether they want you to answer their house phone or not. If they do, make sure that you take full messages with names and numbers of the people who call.
*If the parents allow you to take the kids out (and only if), keep the receipts. You want to have proof of what you spent on the kids, you don’t want to be accused of lying (and keep the amount within a reasonable total).
*Always have a positive attitude. No one likes a babysitter that complains. If the kids are misbehaving (which is bound to happen at least once), stay calm and handle it yourself. Don’t immediately call the parent’s and whine- let them enjoy their night out.
*If the kids do misbehave, don’t try to be the cool babysitter and not tell the parents. You NEED to tell them- it’s not alright for their children to misbehave, especially in the care of other people. It’s just disrespectful. If the parents don’t know about their child’s ill behavior they can’t fix it.
*Really important: follow the same bedtime routine as the parents. No matter what the kids say, their parents do not let them stay up until midnight.
*Remember to complete any other tasks the parents ask of you such as bringing in the mail, etc.
*The less television you watch the better- plan activities to do with the kids a head of time, such as arts and crafts or outside activities. Also, if you give them a snack try to keep it as healthy as possible. The better role model you are, the better habits the kids will develop. Let’s face it, most kids idolize their babysitter. If they see you doing or eating something healthy they will most likely want to do it too.
*I wish I didn’t have to say this but I do: dress appropriately. You are spending a day/night with young children. You need to be comfortable and able to move around quickly. Jeans and a lose t-shirt are your best bet. There is absolutely no reason to show cleavage or your entire leg (no matter how cute the husband is- you’re only going to see him a few minutes, he’s married, and too old for you!).
*Don’t talk on your cell phone, even once the children go to bed. You are still at work and its never appropriate to talk on your phone at work.
*Don’t use their home computer unless the parents tell you that you can.
*Lastly, don’t let the children go anywhere with anyone else unless the parents gave your prior permission, even if you know who the person is.
Just use your common sense. Try to imagine what you would want your babysitter to do and how you would want her to treat your kids- go with your gut instinct, you’re probably right.
Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’ and make some money!