For many teenage girls, learning how to become a babysitter is the initial step to landing their first-ever job outside their families.
In most states, there are no specific laws about minimum age requirement of babysitters, but 11 to 15 is an acceptable age range.
Unfortunately, here’s the dilemma most teens face: how can one become a babysitter, if parents are looking for experienced babysitters?
This guide is exactly for future babysitters like you who are looking to land their first paying gig.
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Tools of the Trade: Learn How to Babysit
Aside from your age, you should also be mature and responsible enough to look after another child’s life.
It may sound easy, but babysitters have three main roles:
1. Keep Kids Safe
Accidents and injuries happen all the time.
The difference is when someone present during these emergencies is able to help.
Arm yourself with pediatric CPR training and first AID, so you know exactly what to do when someone is drowning or chocking.
Learn emergency procedures. It’s not enough that you know how to call 911.
You should read up on fire rescue, what to do with an open wound, and other scenarios. Be sure you have emergency contact and numbers of kid’s parents listed on a notebook.
2. Keep Kids Taken Care Of
Aside from basic care, you should also know how to handle behavioral issues.
For example, if parents of the baby leave during your shift, what will you do if the baby cries non-stop and looks for the parents?
How will you handle toddlers not listening to you?
Prepare meals of infants and toddlers. Make sure you take note of food allergies and items that are not allowed, such as fruit juice or junk food.
When you babysit for a family, it’s most likely that you end up as the oldest kid in the house.
Always talk and act as a good example because younger kids could copy what you’re doing.
3. Keep Kids Entertained
If you’re babysitting multiple kids, the easiest way to handle them is to keep them busy.
The best babysitters bring a “sitter bag” that contains games, art supplies, puzzles, and other surprises that younger kids would love.
Stimulate the& young minds of with age-specific knowledge included into play.
If you don’t have an idea how to do this, check out Blippi on YouTube. That guy knows how to incorporate kinder concepts into day-to-day objects.
How to Start Babysitting
Before you apply for babysitting jobs, take a course from Red Cross first.
Available as both an in-person and online course, teens age 11 to 15 can learn basic care for infants, basic first aid, age-appropriate activities, emergency protocols, and managing your babysitting business.
And this free video will show you exactly everything you need to do to get started. Click here to watch it now.
Red Cross also have special courses for CPR, First Aid, and AED training, among others.
The Red Cross course isn’t really required, but it would give you an edge over other babysitters, when the position boils down to experience level.
You should also work on:
- Your Communication Skills – Parents usually choose a babysitter who can communicate properly. If you are open to talk about anything from their kid’s behavioral problems to increasing babysitter fees, this openness would help build your relationship with families you work for.
- Being Strict, but Fair – As a teenager, bigger kids may not be quick to listen to you. You should work on being stern and strict with the rules given to you by their parents.
- Your Decision-making Skills – You should be ready to handle unexpected situations that require quick decision making. For example, the toddler you’re looking after asks you about sex (how well you answer questions like this will affect the kid and parents once you leave that house). A forest fire begins a couple of blocks away and you’re all alone with 2 toddlers. You get them to safety without waiting for the parents to call you back anymore.
- Your Work ethic – This will probably be your first job, so you have a lot of time to develop your work ethic. But working on it too early wouldn’t hurt. Be on time for all your shifts. Listen and follow rules from your “employers.” And generally do things in such a way that would make you feel proud.
Before you begin your job search, think about your transportation to the job.
Will your parents be able to bring you to the house where you babysit every time you have work?
If you don’t have transportation available, will you be open to walking? How about being driven to/from by your employers? Will your real parents be fine with this set-up?
If your parents are working and your new job cannot provide you with transportation, maybe you should consider online jobs for teens instead?
How to Find Babysitting Jobs
If you’re a big sister to younger siblings and you love being so, you might consider babysitting as one of the easy ways to make money.
Now that you know the tools of the trade and what to expect on the job, here’s the most challenging part of all: finding babysitting jobs for you. So where do we start the job hunt?
- Recommendations – Ask your friends and family about possible babysitting jobs they know. If you’re up for it, make flyers and ask your parents to spread the word. Look around your area: your neighbors may be in need of help.
- Check in school – Go around the school and ask your classmates if their parents are in need of a babysitter. How about your teachers? If your school has a job board, check if there are babysitting listings available.
- Community center – Does your town have a community center? Look for “wanted” posters and see if anyone is on the lookout for a babysitter.
When you’re marketing your babysitting services, create a Facebook page or website.
You’d be surprised how many people are trying to look for babysitters in your area.
Online Babysitting Jobs
Two popular sites for sitters to sign up with are SitterCity and Care.com.
The original sitter site, was started in 2001.
It is available in all 50 U.S. states and features over 6 million babysitters. At SitterCity, you can not only hire out a babysitter, but a nanny/au pair and/or regular childcare too.
To get started with SitterCity, complete your profile and include pertinent information about your past experience, preferences (e.g., non-smoking or smoking house), average hourly rate and availability. You will also be given the option of having SitterCity perform a background check on you (for a small fee).
It is highly recommended that you agree to the background check because that will increase your work requests.
You can also peruse job postings placed by parents and solicit your services via the SitterCity site.
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Care.com is a global care site that spans 18 countries and has been around since 2007.
This site has millions of members and offers a range of care services, from childcare to assisted living services.
You can fill out a form with Care.com, which includes creating a detailed profile containing your photo, preferences, experience, skills, hobbies, etc.
Just as with SitterCity, you can use Care.com to look for sitter jobs and have families contact you directly about your services.
Parents and relatives can also leave detailed reviews about your services, rates, skills, etc. If you rack up enough good reviews, your odds of securing steady work will increase.
Monster.com, Craigslist, etc. can also be taken advantage of for listing your babysitting services.
These sites are free to use and are widely viewed.
How to Stand Out as a Babysitter
When there are hundreds or even thousands of sitters to compete against in your neck of the woods, how do get more babysitting jobs?
The answer lies in add-on services and extra/special skills.
Parents are most likely to hire you if you do or know the following:
You can drive.
If you have a car and can use it to drive kids to their soccer matches and piano recitals, you’ll become a valuable asset to parents everywhere.
With SitterCity, you can have your driver’s license verified for an extra fee to ensure that you are legally certified to drive.
You know CPR.
Kids get into all kinds of odd situations, and knowing how to rescue them from injury and/or death is critical when someone leaves their young ones in your care.
To this end, get certified in child CPR and other first aid techniques.
You have early childhood education.
Kids are rarely logical, polite and obedient.
However, you can induce them to become that way, at least for an evening, if you know a little bit about childhood psychology.
Community and online colleges offer different classes in childhood development and psychology, and completing them will definitely make you stand out amongst anxious parents.
You are punctual.
Believe it or not, the single biggest complaint that parents have about babysitters is that they are late.
So, as an up-and-coming babysitter, do your part to arrive on time at your destinations.
You are crafty.
Do you know how to fill an evening with card tricks, painting projects, or an expedition to the local park? Can you pick up and play the latest PC games or discuss cartoon characters?
The more you ‘get’ your clients’ kids, the more likely those clients will be to call you for repeat babysitting.
And it never hurts to be known as the “favorite babysitter” either.
How much money do babysitters make?
Nowadays, the going rate for babysitting services is $15/hour. The days when you would see someone paying $20 for an entire night of babysitting are long gone.
For urban centers and mega cities like New York or San Francisco, it’s common to earn around $20/hour.
Even novice babysitters that have extra skills and training can command rates in the high teens.
The Babysitting Bottom Line
Interacting with children as a side hustle may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like it, the money is certainly waiting for you.
And if you land a babysitting position, do a good job. Take care of your reputation.
And consider your services as a full-blown business.
Even if you’ve outgrown your teen years, you can still continue the babysitting business if you wanted to.