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How To Be A Great Babysitter - What You Need To Know

Updated on November 19, 2016
  babysitting the right way
babysitting the right way

So you want to be a babysitter? To help look after a baby or small child there are a number of things that you should learn before going for this job.

Its not so bad if you are asked to look after a friends baby or even a neighbors. But if you want to babysit professionally then you must take child care lessons and pass the tests.

But this article is purely for the teenager who wants to earn a little money taking care of children for someone they know.

First of all looking after an infant is not as easy as you might think. Just because you are staying in your own home, or just across the street doesn't make it easy.

You may think that because its only for a short while it will be all fun and games. Put the child to bed, turn on the TV and open the popcorn. Sorry that's not good enough.

The first thing you have to know is that each and every child is different. Some stay awake for hours, others nod off at the first sign of the sun going down.

Always check for temperatures.
Always check for temperatures.

Babysitting Tips

I have done a number of babysitting jobs over the years. Mainly for friends and relatives. And there are a few tips that can make your evening go great.

On the other hand if you know nothing about the child then you may have the evening from hell! So, in a nutshell here's a few ideas that are not only good for your peace of mind, but will keep the baby or small child safe when they are in your hands.

  • Get to know the child before you start babysitting. Even if its only for a couple of hours twice a week, make sure they are familiar with you. Otherwise you may have a screaming infant on your hands when you get them on your own.

  • Always find out if they are on medication, where it is and how to use it. There have been many accidents purely because the babysitter has forgot to ask about the dosage of the medications.

  • On the same subject, write down each and every med that may be needed and keep it with you at all times to stop you panicking if and when its needed.

  • Always keep the parents telephone number handy. Don't just put it on the side and hope it will stay there. When you are in a panic you may forget where you put it. Keep it in your bag or pocket at all times.

  • Check out on the Internet about any illnesses a child may get. Your charges may be totally healthy, but if you take a look you will see that sometimes kids get night terrors, temperatures and so on. By making a check list you will see when and how to get help, and of course ask the parents first. By learning about children's illnesses you will get a good idea of whether the temperature is really high or just because the baby is hot. If in doubt always call the parents or doctor.

  • Here's one that I encountered. If the child keeps crying for your attention and there is nothing wrong i.e. wet diaper, needs a drink etc then make sure that when you go and check on them you don't make a fuss of them. A good idea is to give them a drink but look out of the window while they are drinking it. Keep the light down low and show them that you are having non of it. They soon get the idea. This is only good for two years old and up. If the child is a tiny baby then always check and double check for problems. Never leave a baby to cry. They may choke or have a fit if they get into a real state of crying.

  • Make sure the room is warm, but not too hot. Babies are a veritable temperature gage! One degree out and they know it!

  • Never ever leave the child and go outside to chat with your mates. You won't be able to hear them if they cry. It only takes a second for an accident to happen.

  • And please do not invite round a load of friends. A child needs stability and calm. Hearing you play music loudly or a lot of strange noises can really upset the child.

  • If there is a baby monitor in the house try and keep it near you. If you can hear the child breathing properly then its fine, but this is a great way to notice even the smallest change in their behavior.

  • And last but not least, keep checking on the children even if they have been quiet for ages. Just remember these are not your kids. They are in your charge, and their safety is paramount.

 play is an important part of babysitting
play is an important part of babysitting

Older Children

If you are planning on babysitting slightly older children, then there's a good chance that you may have to bath them and put them to bed. Most parents make sure the kids are already tucked up, but some are slightly older and, well, more obstreperous!

The best idea is to not let them affect you. Screaming and crying, throwing toys around and just generally playing up is not a good start for you and them. Make sure you set them some ground rules. Don't be shy. Stand up for yourself and say NO! If they keep on just keep calm. They will either get fed up with baiting you, or you will have to threaten to tell their mom and dad. No sweets for a week!

Try and keep to their routine and you should be fine. If they are a bit grizzly and crying for their parents, try and take their minds of it by playing a game, reading to them or just making them laugh. Kids like laughter it makes them feel safe.

When you do get them to bed read them a story of their choice. Keep reading until you know they are fast asleep. So many times I walked out the bedroom only to be confronted with, 'Aw please keep reading to me!' So read it until they are totally zonked out.

Then you can relax!

Safety and Common Sense

So as you can see, just by using your common sense and a little bit of knowledge you should have a great time babysitting. Just remember, the child must come first. You are there to look after the most precious little people in the world.

Once you have the parents trust you should have a long and happy babysitting job. That is until they get older and start throwing their weight about, but that's another story!

(c) copyright nell rose


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    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Thanks michelle I remember those days well too! lol!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Have a friend who is into early childhood and will certainly agree with these tips. Thanks for sharing them with us, Nell!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      lol! thanks Jackie, yes I totally understand! they can be so demanding! I remember my babysitting days so well, phew!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I kept kids many years when growing up and had four younger brothers. By the time I had my own kids I was wore out!

      Great advice though! ^

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Thanks so much pstraubie, I hope they find it helpful, as you know there are so many things to watch out for when babysitting, I learned the hard way! lol!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Nell

      I have passed this along to my nieces who are beginning their own baby sitting experiences. Although their Momma's have told them many tidbits, sometimes finding answers from another source is a good thing too.

      As a young girl from about 10-16, I baby sat my sister's children, ages 2-6, seven of them, every summer. It was quite an adventure mostly very positive. thanks for sharing this, Nell. Have a lovely Friday

      Sending you Angels this morning :) ps

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Thanks so much Lady E, glad you found it useful, my friends daughter just started so it gave me the idea! lol!

    • Lady_E profile image


      5 years ago from London, UK

      Excellent tips. Baby sitting is an easy part-time job to get for students and people looking for extra income who don't have kids of their own. So, articles like this will definitely help the first-timers. Voted up.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi Kathi, that sounds horrible! and yes I totally understand, I remember when my son decided in his wisdom to take a dive of the sofa, two years old, not very high up, but he bumped his head big time! lol! thanks as always, nell

      Hi Glimmer, glad you liked it, and yes I know what you mean, too pushy puts me off too! lol!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      I'm not a teenager, but always look for babysitters. I would add that teens looking for jobs not be overly pushy with prospective parents. Too much enthusiasm and it can put an overprotective parent off. I loved babysitting when I was a teen and could have used some of these tips.

    • Fossillady profile image


      5 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Good tips Nell, I remember those days and could have used these. One time I had set a baby down on a counter and turned away for just a second and he fell to the floor. It was horrifying and I was so scared he was seriously injured, but he was okay. It happened so quickly, I was too young to have been taking care of a baby like that. Parents could use a few tips too!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi M Zees, thanks again for reading, nell

      Hi lex, thats great! glad you liked it and I hope your daughter finds it useful, nell

    • lex123 profile image


      5 years ago

      Great tips for a baby sitter. My daughter is looking for a baby sitter for her 3 yr old, and these tips will be very helpful while hiring a new baby sitter.

    • M Zees profile image

      Muhammad Zeeshan 

      5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Great hub ! especially for people like me who happen to have a couple of young guys in their families.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Thanks Ruby, my friend who's grandaughters name is, well, ruby! lol! is having a baby soon, so maybe more babysitting for me? yeah!

      Hi Qudsia, thanks so much for reading, and great to see you, nell

    • QudsiaP1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Nell those were fantastic tips on babysitting. :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is great Nell, i've had my share of baby sitting when i was a teen-ager. I could have used your tips.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi drbj, thanks so much! its just something I learned over the years, usually the hard way! haha! one of the kids I baby sat was really hyper so it was a lesson worth learning! glad you liked it, and the share, nell

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Your sensible suggestions, Nell, should be required reading for every parent and potential babysitter. I'm sharing your hub with everyone I know who has small children and hires babysitters. They need this info!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi Genna, thats the problem isn't it? they are so caught up in their texts that they forget everything else, thanks again, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Thanks christopher, I must have babysitted at least three different families and about 7 kids in my time! lol! maybe more, if I am honest. thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Excellent points, Nell! These should be bookmarked, printed, and placed on the fridge of any parent, and certainly for babysitters. Although I cringe when I see who's babysitting out there today. Cell phones, texting and twitters every nanosecond of their day seem paramount.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      I used to babysit when I was a teenager. Kids seem to love it when you play with them a lot. It also helps to tire them out and then everyone can get a rest.

      Some great tips there Nell. You obviously know a lot about children.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      They just don't do things the same these days, it makes me cringe sometimes! lol! don't leave a baby on its back for crying out loud, arghhhh! lol!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Exactly my point Nell. The youngens just don't get it. They need our advice! :)

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi Linda, I know what you mean about not doing what the younger parents say, we know best because we are older and wiser! lol! thanks as always, nell

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Nell! I rarely used babysitters for my kids and now I'm a babysitter for my grandkids. I usually do the opposite of what the parents request so I have no advice for sitters, but I'm glad your advice is so useful :)

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi mary, thanks so much, a good babysitter is well worth paying a bit extra for, our kids are well worth it, thanks so much mary, nell

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      5 years ago from Florida

      I remember back when I would have to hire a babysitter for my and Hubby to go out on our rare dates. It was such a chore to find a good one. My married girls don't have to call a baby sitter: they just call me!

      Good advice, here Nell Rose.

      Voted UP and shared.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi rumanasaiyed, thats great! hope its helpful to them, and thanks!

    • rumanasaiyed profile image


      5 years ago from Sharjah, UAE

      Great hub!! I can pass on this information to few of my friends who are planning to work as babysitter!!


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