Think of why you want to be a babysitter.
- Do you like caring for kids?
- What ages of kids do you want to care for?
Preschoolers (ages 3-4)
School age (age 5 and older)
- Can you balance your school work and babysitting?
Will babysitting affect your school work?
What types of children will you be able to handle, and perhaps do your school work at the same time you are babysitting them?
- Can you balance your social life and babysitting?
Are you willing to sacrifice spending time with friends, going to the mall, or other social activities?
- Can you take a babysitting or first aid course?
Again, will it affect your school work or social life?
Think about the qualities of a babysitter:
Are you responsible around the house? People will leave not only their children, but their homes, in your care and you must be responsible to make sure the children are taken care of, and everything in the home is the way the parents left it when they return.
Are you safety conscious? The safety of the child, and your personal safety, are very important when you are a babysitter.
Can you put the needs of the kids before your own? You will often need to put the needs of an unhappy child before your personal need to finish your homework assignment.
Can you handle problems with discipline? You may have to be the peace maker between quarreling siblings without taking sides, or discipline children for not doing what you ask them to.
Can you respect people's privacy? Remember, you will be in their homes and should keep away from drawers, e-mail and other personal information.
Do you panic easily? Or are you able to handle emergencies in a calm manner?
- Think of the types of kids you want to babysit. (Infants, toddlers, or children)
- Remember, you may not be allowed to babysit infants if you are under 18 years of age.
- Try to remember the qualities of your own babysitters. What did you like and dislike about them?
- Think about the real reasons you want to babysit.
Is it simply to earn pocket money? Remember, babysitting is not easy, and if this is your only motivation for taking on the job, this may not be the best job to be involved in.
Put your thoughts down on paper as bullet points. It will help you remember things when you have to discuss them with someone, and also when you go to the next step, which is your plan.
Now that you have thought things over and decided that babysitting is really what you want to do, you can put together a plan of action. However, before you begin planning, discuss your thoughts with your parents because:
· You may need to have your parents' permission to babysit if you are under 18 years of age.
· You will need dependable adults to support you in case of an emergency while babysitting.
· You may need transportation from your home to your babysitting location.
· You may need to know some of the laws governing babysitting that apply to your area.
· You may want to take a babysitting course, like the one offered by the American Red Cross, and will need your parents to enroll you in it.
· You may have to buy a babysitting toolkit and want your parents to help you get it.
Once you have gotten your parents' approval, you are ready to start on your next phase -- the plan --
Preparing Yourself for the Role
· How old do you have to be to babysit?
· What age ranges are you allowed to babysit?
Get Some Experience
2. Volunteer at a nursery or daycare program, if one is available.
What we discussed above is called job shadowing, and it is great for learning how things get done in the real world.
Note: Whatever you do, make sure you do it with your parents' permission, and always keep them informed of where you are.
Get a Reference
Once you have worked with an experienced babysitter, or volunteered in a group child care setting, you should ask an adult to write a reference for you. A reference gives you an edge, because it tells the person wanting to hire you that others have confidence in your ability as a babysitter.
Now that you are confident that you can handle things on your own, the next part of the plan is to spread the word about yourself.
Here is what you have to do:
Start with relatives, your parents' friends, and neighbors -- people you know and trust -- who may need your services as a babysitter.
You can also ask friends who are currently babysitting. They may know of someone looking for a babysitter, or may pass on a job that they are too busy to do.
Another approach is to advertise your services. If you have a lot of experience you want to include, make a flyer; otherwise make up a small business card. See the sample flyer and card below:
Note: You can buy colored paper or ready-made cards at your local stationery store and use your printer at home to print your flyer or card. Ask a parent or older sibling to help if you don't know how.
Once you have your cards or flyers, you need to get them to your customers. The following section tells you how to do this safely.
Plan on how much you will charge for work. This may depend on where you have to go to babysit, and how many children you babysit. The normal price ranges from $6 to $8 per hour. To be sure you are charging a fair price:
· Talk to other sitters in your neighborhood to find out what they are charging.
Things to Consider
· Think about how much you will charge if the parents are late in returning home. Some sitters charge extra to make sure parents keep their side of the bargain and return home at pre-arranged times.
Notes on Safety
Because your personal safety is always so very important:
Make sure you hand out your flyers or cards only to people you trust. They could be relatives, friends, and people you know in religious groups, volunteer groups, and local schools.
If you decide to place your flyers or cards on neighborhood doors, be sure they are only placed at houses where you know there are kids.
If you are invited into a home to discuss a potential babysitting job, always have a parent or adult accompany you, so you can get to know the family.
Once you begin to give out your flyer or business card, you will soon be getting those calls where people want you to come in and talk to them about babysitting their kids.
Exciting as this may be, remember that good planning and preparation is always important for success. You must remember that the parents you talk to are looking for someone special to care for their little ones when they are away.
So here is what you should do before and during the interview:
1. Prepare yourself by writing out a little script of what you are going to say. Talk about yourself, how old you are, your interests, your school, and what you enjoy most about babysitting.
2. Stand in front of a mirror and practice using your script. This will give you a good idea of your facial expressions and how you present yourself.
3. Once you are comfortable with your script, run it a few times in your head to help you remember.
4. Prepare the questions you want to ask. Use the sample form provided in this lesson. Take a copy of this form and fill it out as you talk to the parents. Add your own questions to it.
5. Arrange to go to your interview with a parent or adult if you are visiting people for the first time. This will give your family a chance to meet the people you will be babysitting for.
6. First impressions are very important, so make sure you:
· Dress neatly.
· Be warm and friendly when you introduce yourself to the parents and children.
· Talk about yourself, courses you have taken, your other babysitting experience, and show them any references you may have.
· If you have no previous experience, be honest about it and say this is your first babysitting job, but you are confident you can handle any situation.
· Answer all of their questions politely.
· Ask the parents as many questions as you want.
· Be prepared to tell them what you charge, and if your rates are higher than what others charge, tell them why. Perhaps you have to travel longer, stay later, or need transportation. Whatever the reason, say it with confidence, because people are always hesitant to discuss money.
· Make sure you ask when you will be paid – daily, weekly etc.
After the Interview
· After the interview, politely thank everyone before you leave.
· If you are offered the job on the spot, you may accept if you feel comfortable with the parents and children.
· If you have not met the children, make sure you meet them before you make a decision, because the parents may be wonderful, but you may find the children hard to handle.
· If you are not comfortable with the family, you can politely let them know that you will get back to them the following day. This gives you time to think about it and also to talk it over with your parents.
· Make sure you call them the next day and let them know whether or not you are taking the job.
Client Interview Form
Here is a sample form you can use to ask questions. Add your own questions to it, and take a copy with you when you go for an interview. Fill it out as you speak to the parents.
Note: You should leave this form with the parents until you accept the job as it contains personal information about the family. Ask the parents to place the form in a safe place, and to let you know where it is once you accept the job.
Client Interview Form
Restricted Area in the Home
Any Other Information
Things to Consider
You should consider the following observations to help you decide whether the family you want to babysit for is the right fit for you.
· Did you feel comfortable talking to the parents and children? If you did, it is a good indicator that things will work out between you and the family.
· Were the children well behaved? If they were patient and did not want to run away and do other things, it is a good indicator that they liked you and that they would listen to you.
· Did you feel the parents had unrealistic expectations? If you got the feeling that they wanted you to do more than babysit, then maybe this job is not for you.
· Did the house look neat and tidy? A tidy house is a good indicator that the parents are safety conscious, and the kids are manageable.
· Were there any animals? Animals are great, but they could be a distraction and may need too much attention, which takes you away from your primary responsibility -- the care and safety of the children.
Notes on Safety
· Make sure you never go for an interview without a parent or an adult.
· If you don't feel comfortable taking on a job you cannot handle, then thank them for offering, and politely decline, by saying something like, "I don't think I am the right babysitter for you. "
· Always return an interview form back to the client and ask them to store it in a safe place accessible to you after you accept the job.
This section was all about interviews and how to make the right decision about accepting or saying "no" to a job. This is quite an important lesson, as it shows you how to prepare and present yourself to your future employers, and what to do after an interview.