Teens who are looking to earn some extra cash can turn to babysitting as a flexible option. Caring for someone else's children is an immense amount of responsibility, as babysitting isn't as simple as you might think. Prepare for your babysitting jobs, be reliable and responsible, and the parents may want to use your services on an ongoing basis, or they may refer you to their friends for more work. The opportunities for a reliable babysitter are endless.
Take a babysitting class, if your community center, hospital, police station or Red Cross offers one. This can help prepare you for unexpected issues and teach you what to do in emergencies. Attend a Red Cross CPR class; being certified in CPR may make you stand out from other sitters and enable you to handle a life-threatening emergency with confidence and knowledge. Have a list of phone numbers saved in your cell phone or on paper, such as the police and fire departments and the poison-control hotline. Never answer the door to a stranger or give any information out while you are taking phone messages. Ask the parents if any of the children have any food allergies, and only give them food the parents have specified. Cut food into small, bite-sized pieces for toddlers and younger children to prevent choking.
You're there to watch the children, not talk on the phone, do homework, play video games, watch TV or entertain friends. Your focus should be on the kids at all times. Have a plan in place to keep them nearby when you're preparing meals or snacks. Never leave a child unattended in the bath or a swimming pool, even for a minute. Follow the parents' instructions regarding video games, TV time, computer time, bedtime or any other house rules. Deviating from the house rules might make you seem "cool" to the kids for a moment, but it could cost you the job in the future, or cause the children to lose respect for you.
Come prepared with activities, games or other distractions that are suitable for the children's ages and interests. Put together an activity bag with coloring books, movies, board games, books, puppets or anything else you might enjoy doing with the kids. Having something new to play with will likely excite them and hold their attention, at least for a while. Take the kids outside in the yard or to a park if their parents approve. Playing outside games, such as tag, can help tire them out, entertain them and provide them with some fresh air and exercise.
Ask the parents where they'll be and for a contact phone number, in case of an emergency. Write down the address and phone number of the house, in case you have to call emergency personnel, and keep it next to the phone or program it into your cell phone. Find out where the first-aid kit is and if any of the children have special needs, such as medication or dietary restrictions that you should be aware of. Ask the parents if you can come early the first time you're hired. Getting to know the children and interacting with them for 30 minutes or so before the parents leave may make the children and parents more comfortable with you. Find out what the house rules are, what the parents expect of you and the schedule you should be following.
- Photo Credit Young woman playing with the child image by Vasiliy Koval from Fotolia.com
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