Tips for Parents of Aspiring Babysitters

Prepare Your Child Before Accepting a Job

Many tweens and teenagers babysit to earn money. Babysitting can instill responsibility in children as they’re on the cusp of becoming more independent. Would-be babysitters who have cared for younger siblings may know what to expect, but parents of prospective babysitters with no such experience may want to heed the following tips before their youngsters agree to look after a friend’s or neighbor’s child.

  • Discuss the responsibility of babysitting. Babysitting is a big responsibility, and parents can discuss this with their children before they accept any babysitting gigs. Children old enough to babysit should be old enough to understand the trust others are placing in them when paying them to look after their children. If would-be babysitters cannot recognize that or downplay just how big a responsibility they’re taking on, then they might not be ready to be a babysitter.
  • Ask your child if they have any questions about babysitting. Prospective clients will no doubt feel more comfortable with babysitters who ask thoughtful questions, and one sign that a child is ready to accept the responsibility of babysitting is asking such questions. If kids are hesitant, parents can quiz them about what to do in certain situations, such as how to respond to a baby crying or what to do if a child is asking for his or her parents. Going over these topics before kids begin seeking babysitting jobs can help parents gauge if their children are ready to babysit while also helping them prepare for interviews.
  • Get the contact information for guardians of the child your son or daughter will be babysitting. Before kids accept their first babysitting job, their parents should not hesitate to ask to meet the parents or guardians of the child they will be babysitting. This can calm parents’ nerves about sending their children to look after a stranger’s children. Such a meeting also provides an opportunity for parents to get the contact information, including name, address, home, and mobile phone numbers, of their children’s clients. In addition, visiting a client’s home in advance gives kids a chance to learn how to use home security systems if necessary.
  • Program emergency numbers into babysitters’ mobile phones. Parents trusting their children to neighborhood babysitters may or not leave a list of emergency contact numbers on their refrigerator doors. But parents of would-be babysitters can exercise caution and program such numbers into their childrens’ mobile phones in advance. This ensures babysitters will have access to the numbers no matter what.
  • Arrange for transportation home. Arrange transportation home in advance. If a child’s clients will be going out for a night on the town where they expect to consume alcohol, parents can pick up their own children so they recognize the importance of never getting into a vehicle with someone who has been consuming alcohol. If clients will not be consuming alcohol, sitters’ parents can speak with them directly to ensure they will provide a ride home at the end of the night.