Congratulations on landing your first babysitting job! Caring for a child can be both an exciting and intimidating experience, especially for first-time babysitters. You can make the babysitting experience pleasant for you, the parents and children by following these ten simple babysitting tips.
Essential Tips for First Time Babysitters
1. Know Basic First Aid and CPR
As babysitters, it is your main responsibility to ensure the child's safety and well-being. Kowing how to administer first aid and CPR gives you the confidence to care for the child and will help you stay calm and focused on attending to the child when the need arises.
2. Be punctual
Always be on time. If it's your first time to go to their house, we suggest that you arrive at least 15-30 mintues earlier than your schedule so that you have time to settle in and talk with the parents and give the children time to warm up to you.
3. Know the expectations of the parents from you as their child's babysitter
Expectations from parents vary depending on the number of kids, their lifestyle, or the ages of the kids you need to care for, so you need to be clear what they need you to do for them. Your primary responsibility is to take care of the child and his/her needs. You need to check if you need to cook, help with homeworks, or do other light chores. Parents will appreciate it if you show concern and willingness to help around the house, but of course it's important for you to let them know if you agree to do other tasks as well.
4. Get the parents and other emergency contact information
Don't forget to get the parents' and another trusted adult's contact numbers. It will certainly come in handy if you have questions or if the situation needs urgent attention. In case of a life-threatening emergency, make sure to call the emergency hotline, 112, and then inform the parents after.
5. Ask about the child's routine, child's interest and house rules
Children thrive on routines, and they need to follow the house rules so you must understand the rules and follow their routine and the rules while their parents are out. Here are some common questions you can ask the parents:
- What is the child's favorite toy?
- What is breakfast/lunch/snack/dinner time?
- What food can the child eat? Does the child have any allergies to food?
- Is the child allowed to have screen time or use gadgets? How long can they use their gadgets or television?
- Does the child need help with homework?
- Does the child need medications? If yes, when does the child need to take his/her medicine?
- Where can you find the first aid kit?
- How do you discipline the child?
- Any bath time rituals?
- What is their bedtime? Does the child have a specific bedtime routine like reading book, pacifier or stuff toy to cuddle?
6. Familiarize yourself with the house
Ask the parents to give you a quick tour of the house, so you know where the rooms and the child's things are. Make sure to survey the environment and note of possible hazards like sharp corners without rubber corner protectors and fragile objects on display. Don't forget to check that all the doors and windows are locked too.
7. Always keep an eye on the child
When caring for a child, you need to make sure that the child is always within your eyesight. Set aside your mobile phones as it can easily distract you from looking after the child.
8. Always stay calm
Some children may need to adjust being under a care of a babysitter for the first time. They also might become irritable when they are unable to manage their emotions. As a babysitter, you need to stay positive, gentle and calm when the child throw tantrums. Sometimes tantrums are triggered by hunger, overstimulation or tiredness. Identify the cause of stress, and help address the problem.
9. Plan age-appropriate activities
Plan a fun day for you and the child. If you're taking care of a baby, you can play peek-a-boo, sing songs, sensory play and make silly faces. For toddlers and older kids, you can prepare fun activities like scavenger hunt, hide and seek, arts and crafts and messy play. As you get to know the child, adjust the activities to suit their interest.
10. Before you leave, talk to the parents about what happened during your shift.
Tell them about their child's activities like meal time, play time, nap time or milestones if any. Also, let them know if the child threw tantrums, not feeling well, misbehaved or had a minor accident (stumbled while running, bumped head). For sure, parents will be glad to hear stories about their child.
We hope these tips will help you on your babysitting work. Remember to show genuine concern and care for the child and they'll surely love you more.
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