The Top 3 Signs of a Bad Babysitter

You’ve landed the dream babysitting job. Congrats! Now, how do you keep it? By making sure that you’re the best babysitter the family has ever had. Or, you could make these signature bad babysitter mistakes and find yourself out of a job.

#1 — Ignore the Kids for Your Mobile Device
A bad babysitter is notorious for using her smartphone instead of playing with the children she’s been hired to care for. Rather than sit around and text or play Candy Crush all night, put the phone in your bag and break out some board games for everyone to play. Keep in mind, too, that the children will most definitely report back to their parents a play-by-play of everything that happened—or didn’t. Make sure they have a great report to give.

#2 — Empty the Fridge
You have been hired to care for the family’s kids, not eat them out of house and home. A bad babysitter will help herself to anything and everything she wants from the fridge or pantry. Avoid that faux pas and instead bring your own snacks. Save the family’s food for the family.

#3 — Invite People Over
The most disrespectful thing a sitter can do is invite her friends or, worse, her boyfriend over to hang out while she’s on the job. Even if you’re caring for a sleeping baby, you shouldn’t have guests over to distract you from your duties. It’s best to save your social time for another time.

The best way to ensure a successful babysitting gig is to make sure you do the job you’re hired to do. And that is, to pay attention to and interact with the children. Let the bad babysitters make the mistakes; that’s all the more work you’ll get!

Have we forgotten any mistakes? Share your suggestions for what NOT to do in the comments section.

 

Determining a Fair Babysitting Rate

Babysitting is often a person’s first real job. That is, it’s the first time that they are working for a wage. And since it’s not a job with a company, no rate is set in stone. This means that you need to determine the babysitting rate and how much—or little—you’re willing to work for. But how do you determine a fair babysitting rate? Take these tips to heart when you’re trying to establish your market value.

Location is (Almost) Everything
As with most things, where you live will help determine how much you can fairly charge for a babysitting job. For instance, if you live in New York City, where the cost of living is higher than, say, St. Joseph, Missouri, you can easily charge around $10 (or more!). But if you live in a smaller, more rural town, you’ll likely need to adjust your asking price to something more reasonable.

Numbers Matter
What babysitting rate you set is often dependent upon how many children you’re caring for. If you have only one child, you’ll not charge as much as if you have five children on your watch. Use your best judgment, though. If you have five children versus just one, you can’t charge five times what you normally would. Be fair to both yourself and the family.

Do You Have Any Experience?
In life, the more experience you have, the more value you bring. And it’s no different for babysitting. If this is your first gig, you’ll need to offer a fairly low rate to simply get your foot in the door, so to speak. But if you’ve been sitting since before the dawn of time, you’ve earned your stripes and are more marketable. You have the knowledge and the know-how, and parents are willing to pay more for this experience.

Ultimately, you are the one who will determine what your time is worth. The key is to be fair to both sides so that each party feels they’re getting a fair value.

How much do you charge your babysitting families? Share your suggestions for setting a fair price in the comments section.

Study Support: 4 Tips Every Babysitter Should Know

Schooldesk Empty Book BackpackHomework is a part of life with school-age children. As a babysitter, there will be times where you will need to provide study support for the children you’re caring for. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind to help with this.

Does the Child Have Homework Struggles?
The best way to provide good study support is to know where the child is having issues. With that information you can find ways to help guide them and give them the assistance they need.

Work on Their Level
It is important to work on the same level as the child because if you talk below their level you will bore them. At the same time, talking above their level will do them no good either. Ask them frequently if they understand what you are saying to keep them on track with you.

Use Real World Comparisons
For many children, it is easier to grasp a concept if they can see a real life scenario. For instance, if you are teaching a child about subtraction, grabbing some Goldfish crackers and having them eat the subtracted ones can be helpful.

Use Incentives
Incentives are a great tool in study support no matter what the age of a child. It could be something as simple as getting to play video games with you when they have finished their homework or going outside to play their favorite game. Using incentives can help keep the child on track for studying as well as for behavior.

Most kids can agree that homework is no fun, especially if it’s challenging. But by taking these suggestions to heart, which will enable you to provide better study support, the work can go by quicker and easier and you’ll be able to get to the fun stuff, like playing!

 

What study support tactics do you use with the kids you babysit? Share them in the comments section.

 

Childcare Discipline: What Babysitters Should Know

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CREDIT: Tiffany Terry

It’s a fact: children will act out. So there might be a need for discipline during childcare. As a sitter, you should know the appropriate ways to discipline a child when you are babysitting.

Talk With the Parent
Talk to the parent to find out if they have certain rules and punishments that they use in the home. This can help you maintain discipline consistency. While you may not feel comfortable with all punishments, you will have a basic guideline to use.

RELATED: Top Babysitter Tips for Parental Peace of Mind

Redirection: the First Course of Action
Rather than jumping to a punishment, the first thing you should always do is redirect a child to a more appropriate activity. For instance, if you have told them not to jump on the furniture and they are now doing this, send them outside to expend some energy.

Find Discipline Techniques That Make Them Think
If you are repeatedly telling a child to stop doing something, then the best thing you can do is find a discipline technique that will cause them to think about their actions. For instance, if a child is hitting their sibling, a common childcare technique is time out. This gives the child time to think about why they hit their sibling. Perhaps have them follow it up with a written letter of apology.

Remember the Age
The biggest thing you must do is remember the age of the child being disciplined as this will play a big role in what methods you use. Even if you use time out, remember the rule of one minute per year of age.

Ultimately, all children have their moments. If you’re faced with a situation that requires discipline, knowing how to handle it by discussing tactics with the parents ahead of time will get your prepared for the inevitable time when it happens.

Have you ever had to discipline a child you’re babysitting for? How did you handle it? Share in the comments section.

 

When Pets are Included

SeekingSitters_Dog_450There will be times when you will have to watch both children and pets. When this happens, you should be prepared with some of the ways to make the situation easier.

Find Out About the Pets
Ask as many questions as possible to get a better understanding of everyone’s needs, pets included. For instance, you may find that the pet needs to be walked every hour to avoid having an accident. You should also ask if there are any specific rules for the children with the pets.

Ask About Treats
Sometimes the easiest way to get on the pet’s good side is by bribing them with a treat or two. Make sure to ask if there are treats available for the pets, and how many its allowed to have. It is also good to know if they get treats for certain behaviors so you can keep up with the rules of the house.

Find Ways to Get the Children Involved
A great way to make your job easier is to have the children play with you and the pets. This can help you to learn more about the animal and the children. Talk to them about what the pet likes to do as well as what they like to do with the pet. For instance, you may find that the dog’s favorite game is fetch and which child loves to race with the dog to try and get the ball first. This can be a great way to spend time together and keep both children and animals entertained.

Ultimately, you’re there to care for the kids first, but if pets are a part of the family as well, preparedness is the key to ensuring that your job is enjoyable, not a hassle.

Do you sit for a family with pets? What tips can you share with fellow sitters? Share them in the comments section below.

5 Indoor Activities Babysitters Should Know

inside playingWhile taking children outside can be a lot of fun, babysitters know that there are times when this is simply not an option, such as on rainy days. This is why it is helpful to know some great indoor activities that you can do at times like these.

Sculpting
There are many different types of sculpting materials that you can bring with you for sitting. If store-bought sculpting dough seems too common, there are other options, such as foam or clay. You can make this yourself or buy them at a craft store.

RELATED: Crafting Up a Fun Indoor Activity

Reading
There are a number of books that are great for babysitters to read to children; it’s always good to bring some options along with you when you babysit. You might be surprised at how much the children enjoy being read to. Also, keep in mind that children learning to read will enjoy getting to help read the book as well.

Spy Training
This is a fun activity that helps kids develop their coordination while having fun. You simply tape red yarn in lines across the hallway in different directions. Then they can maneuver through the maze just like the spies do with laser beams in the movies.

Build a Fort
Every child loves forts. Babysitters can help build a great fort where they can play with their toys or simply make believe that they are the king or queen. Use items like couch cushions and spare blankets to make a fort as big or small as you like.

Coloring
There are many sites where you can download and print out coloring pages for children with different themes or characters. This is helpful for children who want to color the same pages as their sibling or friend as you can print out multiple copies of the same page.

What are some of the best indoor activities that you enjoy doing with children? Share them in the comments section below.

 

The Terrible-Twos: Sugar and Spice and Not Everything Nice

Toddlers tend to look their cutest at the age that their behavior is their ugliest: the terrible-twos. The worrisome news of finding out you are babysitting a child stuck in this defiant stage of meltdowns and hissy-fits can seem like a recipe for trouble; there are some things only a mother’s love can handle.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-portrait-smiling-young-boy-image9816080

Hope is not lost though, with these tips you can master the most artful, and trust me it is an art, way of keeping your cool as well as the kid’s.

36467109Make sure you have communicated well with the parents before you’re on your own for the night. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and make sure you know all the child’s likes and dislikes! Cover all the basics and then some: what to feed them, their favorite toys, their bed/nap time, what calms them down and what some signs are that a meltdown might be on its way.

36467110Since you’re not the mom, it is important to approach the situation as catering to whatever the child needs. If dancing around with their stuffed animal on your head makes them happy, dance the night away.

 

36467111Keep the little spitfire busy at all times! The busier they are, the less likely there is a chance for them to think about the absence of their parents. Boredom leads to fussiness and that is not your friend. Keeping them active will also make it easier when it is time to put them down for a nap or bedtime. They won’t throw a fit if they are actually tired from lots of activities!

36467112Don’t be afraid to regress back to your youth when it comes to playing around with a child! Have fun with the cutie and don’t be embarrassed to not act your age. The better you can get along and relate to them, the easier it will be on the job and your stress level.

Photo credit © Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com

Back To School Safety

It’s Back to School Season again & as a babysitter you may or may not have to pick up the kids from school, or you may meet them at the house. Either way here are a few safety tips from classbrain.com for back to school safety:

Car Safety

Please be sure everyone is properly seat-belted into your vehicle before putting the car into gear. Younger kids should be in car seats or booster seats, and they should sit in the back seat if they are under 12 years old. For a complete set of safety tips check our child transportation safety tips.
Drop kids as close to the school as possible. If the school has a drop off area, be sure to use it. Do not set a bad example by dropping them in a dangerous location. If the kids are young, wait until they are in the school yard or building before you leave.

Bike Safety

Please teach your kids that bikes have rules to follow, just like cars. Each year there are children injured or killed, because they are riding on the wrong side of the street, they fail to stop at a stop sign, or the fail to follow some other rule of the road. Don’t forget their helmets! It’s not only safe, it’s the law.

Walking to School the Safe Way
Plan the route your kids are going to take if they are walking to school. It is important to try to minimize the number of streets they have to cross. Keep it as simple as possible. Then, do a dry run with your kids. You should have them do it at least once on their own before the first day of school, so they feel comfortable. Teach your kids to keep away from vacant lots, fields, and any other locations that have few people around.
Also, please make sure that your kids do not walk alone, especially if they are young.

Family Meeting Spot
Make sure to pick out a family meeting spot that can be used in case of an emergency. Parents with kids in middle school and high school should make sure they do not forget this. When there is a crisis, things get confusing. If they know where they are supposed to meet you, you will both be more calm when you need it.

Stranger Safety

Teach your kids not to talk to strangers. They should not accept presents or rides from them. Also, be sure to pick a family password. This word will be used if someone different is picking them up from school, sports, or other locations. It should be a weird word, like spaghetti. One that someone would not be able to guess. If too many people have heard your word, change it!

We at SeekingSitters hope that all of your back to school babysitting jobs are safe and fun!!

It’s Back to School Season again & as a babysitter you may or may not have to pick up the kids you babysit at school, or you may meet them at the house. Either way here are a few safety tips from classbrain.com for back to school safety:
Car Safety
Please be sure everyone is properly seat-belted into your vehicle before putting the car into gear. Younger kids should be in car seats or booster seats, and they should sit in the back seat if they are under 12 years old. For a complete set of safety tips check our child transportation safety tips.
Drop kids as close to the school as possible. If the school has a drop off area, be sure to use it. Do not set a bad example by dropping them in a dangerous location. If the kids are young, wait until they are in the school yard or building before you leave.

Bike Safety
Please teach your kids that bikes have rules to follow, just like cars. Each year there are children injured or killed, because they are riding on the wrong side of the street, they fail to stop at a stop sign, or the fail to follow some other rule of the road. Don’t forget their helmets! It’s not only safe, it’s the law.
Walking to School the Safe Way
Plan the route your kids are going to take if they are walking to school. It is important to try to minimize the number of streets they have to cross. Keep it as simple as possible. Then, do a dry run with your kids. You should have them do it at least once on their own before the first day of school, so they feel comfortable. Teach your kids to keep away from vacant lots, fields, and any other locations that have few people around.
Also, please make sure that your kids do not walk alone, especially if they are young.
Family Meeting Spot
Make sure to pick out a family meeting spot that can be used in case of an emergency. Parents with kids in middle school and high school should make sure they do not forget this. When there is a crisis, things get confusing. If they know where they are supposed to meet you, you will both be more calm when you need it.

Stranger Safety
Teach your kids not to talk to strangers. They should not accept presents or rides from them. Also, be sure to pick a family password. This word will be used if someone different is picking them up from school, sports, or other locations. It should be a weird word, like spaghetti. One that someone would not be able to guess. If too many people have heard your word, change it!

We at SeekingSitters hope that all of your back to school babysitting jobs are safe & fun!!

Tips For A New College Student

Whether you are going to college for the first time, or you’re just headed back to school after a summer break full of babysitting, we found these tips listed on universitylanguage.com to be worth taking note!

1. Meet people.

The first week of college is when you’re likely to make the friends that will stick around for your entire college career (and hopefully long after that!). Take advantage of this opportunity to get friendly with your college roommate, as well as your neighbors. Keep your dorm room door open so that anyone can pop in and say hello, and do some meet-and-greets yourself! Lots of freshmen mill around the dorms in the first few days of college looking to meet new people and make new friends. Bring a doorstop or something heavy to hold the door open, and people will know you’re welcoming visitors.

2. Find the perfect study spot.

As you’ll realize even more in college, being comfortable is an important study tip. College campuses have countless places that you can escape to for some uninterrupted study time. Whether that’s a nook in the stacks, a shady patch on the quad or a local cafe, it’s up to you to find it — and now is the perfect time, so you’ll be prepared when that first test rolls around.

3. Go to class (and be prepared)!

Though this may seem like an obvious one, you’d be surprised how many students choose to skip the first few classes of college, thinking that the real lessons won’t begin until later. Well, they couldn’t be more wrong! On the first day of college, your professors will probably review the syllabus and talk about the plan for the semester. They’re also likely to list their office hours and contact information. Be sure to bring a notebook and pen with you so you can jot down this important information. Some professors also start lecturing on the first day, so it’s critical to come prepared.

4. Buy your books.

As soon as you know what textbooks you need, go out and buy them during the first week of college, so you can start on your reading assignments right away. Falling behind and not knowing what’s going on in class is not a great way to begin college!

College is a lot more fast-paced than high school. Assigned reading begins right away, and professors will not be sympathetic to your excuses. By the second class, you should have your textbook purchased and your assignments completed. Also, books can sell out, so whether you’re planning on purchasing them in the campus bookstore or ordering them online, it’s best to do so as soon as possible.

5. Find a good grocery store.

Now that you’re living on your own (and don’t have a fridge that magically restocks itself), you’re going to have to learn to feed yourself. At some point during your first week of college, go out and find the nearest (and cheapest) grocery store. Even if you are on a meal plan, it’s a good idea to keep a stockpile of food in your room, as you may miss a meal, have a late-night craving or simply get sick of the dining hall offerings.

6. Fill out your calendar.

Once you’ve gone to all your classes and learned about the requirements of each, jot down all of your major deadlines for the semester in a planner or calendar. Presentations? Term papers? Exams? It’s important to know when all of them are (particularly in relation to each other) so that you can manage your time effectively.

7. Get familiar with your campus.

Unless you paid incredibly close attention on your campus tour, chances are you’re still a little unsure where everything is on campus. In your first week of college, spend some time walking around and finding the buildings your classes are held in, your friends’ dorms and the library. It’s particularly important to find your classrooms before the first day of classes, as this can often be a challenge. Instead of wandering around the day of, take a quick tour the day before classes start to find out exactly where you need to be. You’ll be stress-free on the first day, and what’s more, you’ll be sure to arrive to class on time and snag a good seat!

8. Relax and enjoy yourself.

Your first week of college will be packed with exciting classes, meetings and events –- it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the things going on. Make sure you take time to relax and enjoy it! Meet your roommates for lunch in the dining hall or have a cup of coffee at that cool off-campus cafe. Your college will probably offer a bunch of freshman orientation events and gatherings throughout the first week of college, so take the opportunity to make the most of them and share your stories with new friends who just went through the very same thing.

We decided to suggest one more tip: try to find a flexible part-time job. We suggest trying to find a job on-campus, since they already know you have classes, and studying! Ask any upper classmen you meet where they found their first college job!

Another great flexible job is with SeekingSitters. SeekingSitters allows you to create your own schedule, & that is great for college students!



Back To School Craft : Decorated Pencils

Wondering what crafts the kids you babysit will love this time of year? Why not try getting them excited to go back to school with a super fun back to school craft! Nothing is better than having the coolest school gear to show off to all of your friends after summer break, & you will be the instant favorite babysitter! We found this fun craft on MarthaStewart.com

 

To create one, a kid winds extra-thin tape around a plain pencil, paints it, and then unwraps the tape. Each design has a personality all its own: A pencil with parallel stripes, for instance, makes math homework fun, while dreamy blue spirals are lovely for writing secrets in a journal.

Pencil How-To

You will need 1/16- to 1/8-inch-wide skinny masking tape, depending on the desired stripe size; acrylic paints; and plain pencils. Natural-color cedar pencils work well. Begin by wrapping tape around pencil; try a candy-cane design, or wrap in individual circles for parallel lines. Paint over whole pencil generously with acrylic paint. When paint is dry, remove tape. Kids can make different styles by varying tape size, wrapping tape in different ways, and painting alternating colors between bands.

 

SeekingSitters wishes you all a fun back to school season!

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