Taking on babysitting jobs is a great side hustle for teenagers, college students, professionals, and even current or former teachers looking for extra cash. The hours are flexible enough to fit around your schedule, and there’s no shortage of parents looking for sitters. However, just because it works as a casual gig doesn’t mean you can’t turn it into a lucrative career.
Here are some steps to stand out in the babysitting industry. From forming simple habits like avoiding phone use at work and improving your communication skills to more strategic practices like networking and building a babysitting logbook, this guide will give you the information you need.
1. Present Yourself Professionally
A sense of professionalism can go a long way in any job and open doors to higher wages and better career opportunities. So, it’s important to understand the babysitting qualifications parents look for and present yourself in the best light. Here are three ways you can practice professionalism in your babysitting jobs:
- Dress appropriately. Keep your nails neat, tame your mane, and choose clothing that allows you to move around comfortably. You may want to skip wearing perfume, as most kids are sensitive to strong smells.
- Be punctual. Parents and children alike have schedules to keep. So, make it a habit to show up a few minutes earlier than the agreed time. This way, the parents can give you instructions and answer any questions you may have before they leave.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Your enthusiasm toward work speaks volumes about how you are as a professional. No parent would want a babysitter who constantly complains about his or her job. Similarly, they wouldn’t want to leave their child with someone who hardly seems up to the task.
2. Avoid Using Your Phone At Your Babysitting Jobs
Smartphones are great tools for keeping lines of communication open, but they can also distract you at work. A 2021 survey showed personal communications (8.4 hours/week) and surfing the web (7 hours/week) are the top workplace distractions.
More alarming than this, the latest Screen Education report on digital distraction revealed that 14% of employees said accidents have occurred due to smartphone distraction. Considering this, it’s easy to see how excessive phone use can keep you from being the best babysitter you can be. The child you’re looking after has to battle for attention with your device—which is bound to lead to accidents.
To remedy this, provide a screen limit for yourself during an appointment. For instance, don’t play games on your phone, and turn off social media notifications so you won’t be tempted to scroll through your feed. It’s also a good practice to limit calls, should you receive them, and respond to texts only when they’re urgent.
3. Prepare a “Goodie Bag” Filled With Crafts and Games
Children get bored easily. While preparing fun games is a great way to keep them engaged, you might not always have the time to do so. A prepacked “goodie bag” of activities will come in handy in situations like this. You can fill them with items such as:
- Crafting supplies. Some crayons, coloring books, glue, and colorful paper can be great for keeping kids occupied.
- Children’s books, card games, and puzzles. Choose ones that are age-appropriate and align with the interests of the child you will babysit.
- Parent-approved snacks and treats. Be sure to ask your employer if there are certain food items they want their kids to avoid or if the kids have any allergies you should know about.
It’s also important to have things kids may need, whether you’re staying at home, playing at the park, or going on an outing. These include medication, a first aid kit, diaper-changing items, spare clothing, and hand sanitizer, among other essentials. This prepares you for any unforeseen circumstance during a babysitting appointment.
4. Create a Log Book for Babysitting Jobs
Once you start taking on multiple babysitting jobs, keeping tabs on the children you care for becomes more difficult. To avoid confusing each child’s needs—which can cause problems with parents—create a babysitting log book with notes on the following:
- Local emergency contacts
- Daily schedule
- Allergy information
- Medications and dosages
- Eating habits
- Sleeping habits
You may also consider a babysitting checklist as a guide to getting to know the family and their expectations.
5. Be a Good Communicator
Babysitters interact with parents and kids, so top-notch communication skills are an expected part of the job. To start, you must listen attentively to the parents’ requests and ask questions when something isn’t clear. It’s also important to articulate what you can and cannot do in your capacity as a sitter so they can set expectations early on.
It’s also critical to talk frequently with the parents you are working with. Keep them informed about what their child did during the day and any milestones they achieved. You should also discuss any physical, developmental, or behavioral red flags you’ve observed so they can take action if needed.
6. Build Relationships for Future Opportunities
Fostering a healthy parent-babysitter relationship makes each appointment a pleasant experience for you and the family you’re working with. You can start by drafting a contract for the babysitting jobs you take. In addition, keep parents involved in your process by suggesting activities, talking to them about how their child is doing, and keeping an open line of communication at all times.
Establishing a harmonious relationship with your employer can also help you secure more babysitting jobs during summer or holiday breaks. In many cases, your employer may refer you to friends and family members so you can expand your professional network.
7. Show Empathy
Children aren’t the best at expressing emotions through words. They get easily overwhelmed by “big feelings,” which causes them to throw tantrums. With this in mind, practicing empathy is a must.
For instance, observe the child’s behavior, then sit down and ask them to slowly explain their feelings. From there, practice active listening or offer physical affection—sometimes, all a child needs is a hug. This helps you understand the child better, and it helps the child get used to communicating their emotions.
You can also practice empathy toward the parents of the kids you’re babysitting. After all, parents can easily get overwhelmed by their routines. Check-in on them and let them know you can lend a helping hand or some emotional support. This will surely make their day.
Make a Career Out of Your Babysitting Jobs
With more parents returning to the office post-pandemic, there’s an increased demand for babysitters. In addition, parents have become more than willing to pay a premium for reliable childcare. So, if there was ever a time to pursue babysitting jobs as more than a side hustle, it’s now.
If you’re ready to get more out of your babysitting jobs, partner with a platform like Call Emmy to find families to babysit for. Call Emmy offers on-demand babysitting, housecleaning, and other services to busy families. With our help, you can expand your network, get paid quickly, and gain access to development programs. Message us today to learn more and get started.