How to get a babysitting job as a teenager
When people type into Google "how to make money aged [insert age here]", one of the answers most commonly thrown back at them is "get a job as a babysitter." These webpages make it sound incredibly simple. The most common solution seems to be "put a leaflet through your neighbour's doors." Now I'm sorry, please let me know if you know anybody who has actually done this. It may just be my neighbourhood, but I'm pretty sure I would be laughed out of my street. Little lemonade stands may look cute if you're six (preferably in an American movie) but the whole "can I wash your car for you please" thing never worked where I live. Maybe everybody's just too possessive of their cars. Anyway, hopefully this page will give you some insightful advice on how to actually get a babysitting job without appearing in your local newspaper.
So how to do it?
I stumbled upon a very simple method completely accidentally. My Mum was having a dinner party and was really stressed so I helped her out by cleaning the whole ground floor of our house, making starters etc. (the details aren't important.) The guests arrived and saw me furiously scrubbing some sticky stain off the granite work surface and were suitably impressed. Then after they had eaten their meal I did all the dishes. I had mentioned to my Mum that day that I reaaaaally wanted to get a babysitting job even though I was only fifteen, and she happened to mention that to all her friends. (I totally didn't remind her every few minutes that day.) To my surprise they all came to the conclusion that they would love to have me as a babysitter and I have been besieged with requests ever since.
So what I've been trying to say is... show potential employers you are responsible. I believe that one of the main reasons they were so keen was seeing me be helpful. A complete contrast to my little brother sitting shouting at his Xbox upstairs. I'm not telling you to do exactly what I did but remember that actions speak louder than words. Not only will Mums want someone responsible to look after their kids but the great thing about a younger babysitter is that the children completely idolise them. And parents are always on the look out for a good role model. Them seeing me doing helpful things was much more effective than my Mum just telling them how great I was.
Another thing I do, as voluntary work for my Duke of Edinburgh Award, is supervise craft activities at my local church. It's lots of fun and I get a lot of practice dealing with children who just want to cover the world with glitter!
So the bottom line is be responsible. If you have a bad reputation then obviously it will be unlikely parents will entrust you with their children. And try to show them that you are mature beyond your years. If you behave like a typical sulky teenager then well.. guess what'll happen. You'll be treated like one. (My darling, dear, beautiful brother for example.)
Well once you have your first job your primary objective is obviously making sure the children are safe, but almost as important is making sure they like you. I've always found this is quite easy. Children love to look up to someone.
The only problem can be getting the right balance between fun and control. My tips are...
- Don't say no too often (they'll stop listening to you)
- If you do have to say no then be firm (don't be a pushover!)
- Try to do fun things with them like drawing or playing board games
- Enjoy yourself! (If you're miserable then they aren't exactly going to want you around)
The key to getting continual jobs after you have the first is to make the kids want you to look after them.
How to make money
After you have one regular family you will find yourself in quick demand. In my experience Mums will chat (a lot!) and you want your babysitting skills to be a topic of conversation. Word of mouth is the best way to build up your repertoire. My first proper babysitter when I was younger was my Mum's friend at work's son's girlfriend.
You may wonder about pricing. I must admit I think I get paid way too much! On my first babysitting job I was handed a twenty pound note just for walking two children home from school and sitting playing a game with them for half an hour. This was of course not what most people would pay (the woman's husband paid me half that the next week) so it's best not to expect too much. Try to view your first few jobs as trial runs rather than just trying to make as much money as you can as fast as possible. Test your market and see what people in your area are willing to pay.
If you are asked how much you cost you will then have an idea after you have worked for a few different families. Of course, if you are asked how much you want and you really have no idea then just say so. If you begin to get more serious then you could consider charging per hour, or a certain price per child if you are looking after a lot at once.
Don't expect to make an absolute fortune. Babysitting is time consuming if you want to do it regularly. However it is usually better paid, more diverse and more fun than your average Saturday job for a teenager. It also looks great on your CV as being entrusted with people's children shows that you are responsible and hardworking.
But the main thing is to have fun and enjoy yourself!
I really hope this works for you! Let me know in the comments if it does, or if you have any questions or advice.
I've created a poll below to see how much anybody who gets paid earns an hour. Hopefully it will help people to see how much they can expect on average.
How much do you get paid to babysit/hour?
© 2015 Anna Mitchell