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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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