There are many things that are vital to being a good babysitter, but it takes something special to being a great babysitter. "What makes a great babysitter?" you ask. There are several things. In this article you will find some of the most important keys to being a great babysitter. Parents and sitters alike will learn what to look for and what to do to help the children in your life have a great babysitter. This means happy children. Happy children are helpful children. Helpful children have happy parents. Happy parents mean job security for the babysitter! It is ALL good!
A Good Sitter Vs. A Great Sitter
A good babysitter is one who will keep children safe and sound in the absence of their parent. This person will attend to the child's needs and will make sure that the child is fed and kept safe. There are many things that can be done to make the babysitting experience more fun and successful for children, babysitters and even parents. It only takes a little planning and a lot of one-on-one contact to make a good babysitter into a great babysitter.
Children require attention. I know...duh! I mean real attention. If a sitter will take the time to talk to them and discover their interests and prepare accordingly, then the child and the sitter will both have a great time. A sitter who will take that time beforehand is a great sitter! Parents can make sure to tell the sitter about each child's interests. A sitter who knows that Tommy loves dinosaurs and Katy likes to draw will know what to do to entertain these children. A great sitter will bring a dinosaur cartoon or coloring book to share with Tommy and colored chalk to draw on the patio with Katy. Tommy and Katy will LOVE this sitter and will be more likely to cooperate when it is bedtime. The next time this sitter is coming, Tommy and Katy will be looking forward to having a good time and will actually be helping Mom get things ready.
A good sitter will be attentive to the children. A great sitter will be involved with the children. Playing ball together, going for a walk, building a block tower are ways to be involved with the children. A good sitter stays near...a great sitter gets involved.
A good sitter makes sure the children are fed and into bed before the parents are home. A great sitter cleans up the kitchen, straightens up the play space, and cleans up the bathroom before the parents return. This can be done together with the children as an activity, or it can be done after the children go to bed. The important thing is that it is done. Parents who return to sleeping children AND a clean home will call this sitter again!!
A good sitter keeps phone calls to a minimum. A great sitter only uses the phone for calling the children's parents or for calling in an emergency. Again, it is the sitter's job to attend the children. This CANNOT be done completely when on the phone. I know....I did it. Once. I had a parent who arrived while I was on the phone and he threw me, literally, threw me fully clothed into the pool! NO ONE can watch children 100% of the time, but I was being paid to JUST watch the children. He was right! It only takes a moment for a child to get hurt or disappear. A great sitter will KNOW where and what the children are doing because they are with them.
One last thing to help you be a great sitter...a good sitter knows how to take care of children. A great sitter can care for children in an emergency! Plan ahead. Do NOT allow a parent to leave without giving you information about allergies, medications and emergency phone contacts. Take a notepad and take your own notes. Get it in writing. In an emergency do not rely on your memory of what you thought the parent said. Know what to do. Take a class on children's first aid and CPR. Keep the emergency card in a spot near your phone. In an emergency you will naturally go for your phone...keep it all together. Better yet, keep your own notebook of information. A 3 ring binder with clear page covers makes it easy to slip instructions for each child into it and keeps it handy. This is great if you regularly sit for specific children. If you are a great babysitter, then you will be sitting for specific children regularly. You will make great friends in the parents and children. You will make a steady income. It is all good!
This goes for grandparents, older siblings and community sitters alike...take the time to take care of the child. They are so fragile and so very fun! Good luck!
Text and Photo Copyright 2011 Deborah M. Carey
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Share Your Thoughts And Comments
Debbie Carey (author) from Riverton, KS, USA on January 18, 2013:
Thanks for reading! If parents ask you back, then you must be a great babysitter! I loved it and the kids know it when you do! Keep it up! Have a great day!
felicity on January 16, 2013:
this is good advise. even though i alreasy know this stuff there are a lot of people that don't and your right the parents keep getting me to babysit, the kids love me and i have fun too!