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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!