The Essentials for Your First Babysitting Event!

Congratulations, you’re on your way to your first babysitting event! Nervous?  With technology today it is safer than ever to be a babysitter!  Here’s some advice to help you have a fun, safe event!

  1. Meet the family! –When you arrive you’ll be greeted at the door by the kids who are so excited to meet you. It’s easy to jump in to the fun of getting to know the kids, but be sure to plan ahead to make sure you have enough to time speak with Mom and Dad!  You will want to be sure you know the rules of the house- bedtime, bath, TV time.  Even if you are around these kids regularly, you may not have their routine memorized.  Be sure to ask questions!  Ask where their pajamas are or if they have a favorite book to read, this will help your event go smoothly.  Some families may have already written out a Family Information Packet that can be used as a guide for sitters, so double check!
  2. Get the emergency contact info, address, and phone numbers – Try to think about when you would need emergency contact information-if there is a list posted by the phone, would you be able to find it quickly and know who to call if there was a problem? If you can’t get ahold of the parents, who should you call?  Do any of the kids have medication they need to take or allergies you should be aware of?  Where is the nearest hospital?  You hope to never need the information, but it provides some serious peace of mind when you know where to find the information.
  3. Know if there’s a landline! Many families only have cell phones!  In 2013, it was reported that 41% of homes in the USA did not have a landline!  So make sure your phone is fully charged and you might want to grab a charger to keep in your bag, just in case!  Take a picture of the emergency contact information so that if you are out of the house, you still have the information.
  4. After the parents leave, secure the house. Make sure all outside doors and windows are shut and locked.  Seems like common sense, but the one time you forget to check might be the one night there’s a storm that blows open the back door!  A quick walkthrough and check of the locks will put any doubts to bed!
  5. Do not answer the door unless expressly told by the parents they are expecting someone! – Again, seems like common sense, but it’s important to remind yourself. When in doubt, call the parents and have them on the phone when you answer the door.  This can even include other kids from the neighborhood.  It is easy to think it is no big deal to add a couple other kids, but depending on how you have arranged to charge for the event, adding additional kids may add to the parent’s bill.  If you haven’t discussed it beforehand, it is always better to ask them to come back another time.
  6. Come prepared to have fun! When you called to confirm the babysitting event, did you double check what the kids interests are?  Stop and pick up a coloring book of their favorite action hero to use as a wind-down activity when you are getting the kids ready for bed or grab a couple of kites with their favorite characters on them to have lots of fun in the sun!  Adding a personal touch to the activities you bring to an event doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can make a great impression on the kids, which will translate to the parents!
  7. Have fun and stay safe! – There is no comprehensive list of all the safety tips for babysitting, but you can be better prepared for sitting events by taking a local CPR & First Aid class or the babysitting course offered by the Red Cross. When in doubt ask questions!  The parents are more than happy to give information to ensure a safe event for their kids.
  8. Make a great exit! – Parents notice when they come home to a clean house where the dishes are done. While you don’t want the focus of a babysitting event to be all about cleaning, taking fifteen minutes after the kids go to bed to tidy up the kitchen and start the dishwasher can really make a lasting impression on parents!  When the parents come home, let them know what happened during the sitting event.  Take a few minutes to wrap up your evening with a synopsis of what you and the kids did during the time they were away.  This can also emphasize that you didn’t watch television all night and they can talk to the kids about the activities the next day!

When it comes to babysitting events, it can definitely get easier with time!  You will learn what fits your style best and be ready for whatever disasters- big or small come your way.  Technology makes it easier to be safe but always remember that the kids are most excited to play with you when you are excited to play with them!  Don’t waste babysitting events playing on your phone- play with the kids!

Babysitting Summer Safety!

Summer is just around the corner and it’s going to be a warm one! Here are few safety tips and reminders of how to beat the heat and stay safe this summer!

  1. Emergency Training- Make sure you CPR and First Aid training is up to date going into summer season!  It’s always better to be prepared and never have to use the knowledge than to really need it and not have it.  Practice makes perfect, so be sure to get hands-on training!
  2. Water safety-  Many families have pools in their backyard, make sure you know the rules and if there are child locks.  Never leave children around or in the pool alone under any circumstance!  When planning for the water, be sure to ask parents what the children’s skills levels are and if there are any special instructions for water play.  Some children may need earplugs or swim diapers.
  3. Sun Protection- Wear it, reapply it every 2-3 hours, and learn to love it!  Be sure to get at least SPF 15 with UVA and UVB protection. After checking with the parents that the child isn’t allergic to sunscreen, be sure to apply it if you know you are going outside.  Most sunscreens recommend applying it 15 minutes before going in the sun, so plan ahead!  The most important part here is remembering to use it; small children likely need to be helped with the application to ensure even coverage and reapplication. (Don’t forget the tops of their ears and the back of their necks!)  Sun safety will promote good health habits for life!
  4. Heat-related Illness- Make sure to drink lots of water and stop for breaks in the shade when playing outside. Young children (under 4) should be closely monitored when playing to verify they are not becoming overheated.  If a child is overheated, they may be susceptible to heat rashes, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  Know the symptoms of each and how to prevent or treat it!  1:00 pm to 5:00 pm can be the hottest part of the day in the summer; try to stay inside or enjoy shady activities during this time.  Also check the heat of the equipment if you go to a playground by pressing the back of your hand to the surface for 5 seconds.  If it it too hot for your hand, it is too hot to play on.  You want to make sure the kids won’t get burnt bottoms on that slide!swing set sitters
  5. Bug bites- With the warm, sunny weather comes bugs! Ticks, mosquitoes, and chiggers are just a few of the bug bites you might see over the summer.  Make sure you apply insect repellent before going outside, especially in grassy areas.  Always check for bites when returning inside; many of these bugs can carry disease like Lyme Disease and West Nile, so it’s important to protect yourself and the children you are watching!  Beware of allowing the children into tall grass, as larger predators like snakes may not be easily seen until too late!
  6. Poison Ivy/Oak- Make sure you know how to recognize poisonous plants, and if you or the kids run into it, how to treat it! While typically not life threatening unless there is a severe allergy, you still want to be sure to let the parents know so that they can continue treatment and if possible, to have them remove the poisonous playing

Always stay in communication with the parents so they are up to date with any concerns. No matter how hot or cold your summer is, be prepared by following these babysitting summer safety tips!

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