When a babysitter starts working for the first time, there are a few things they should know. Not all of them are self-evident or intuitive. Parents spend so much time with their children that they can take a lot of what they’ve learned for granted. As a result, they may fail to explain certain things to you that you will need to know when you begin babysitting.
So let’s go over some first-time babysitting tips and more. That way, there won’t be many surprises when you’re left alone with a child for the first time.
1. Younger Kids Need Help When Going To The Bathroom
When it comes to infants, it goes without saying that you will have to change the diapers when they go to the bathroom. This chore can get pretty messy, so if you’re squeamish, it may be a good idea to concentrate your babysitting services on older children. Diaper changes should happen frequently to help prevent diaper rash – a painful soreness that makes the little one in your care very uncomfortable and will likely keep the parents up at night.
Even toddlers (who are typically potty-trained by age 2 or 3) may need help in the bathroom. Yes, this likely includes wiping little bottoms!.
2. Get Safety Training
Many parents prefer – and some even require! – the completion of a basic First Aid and CPR class before you can even set foot in the door.
Accidents are sometimes unavoidable when you babysit for a long period of time. But knowing what to do in an emergency can make all the difference in putting the parents’ mind at ease about relinquishing their children to your care.
3. Know How to Handle Common Kid Behavior
What will you do if a child refuses to take a bath or go to bed and instead throws a tantrum?
How can you handle separation anxiety if the child does not stop crying for its parents?
The most simple tasks like getting a child to put on their jacket before going outside can be difficult at times. (We actually know of a babysitter who broke a teeth because a kid throw a toy at her in defiance. Now she has a dental implant!).
Be sure to speak with the child’s parents beforehand about acceptable forms of discipline. Parents can be very touchy about this subject! Ask about time-outs, taking away privileges (TV or a toy, for example), and other methods. Never assume that a light smack on the bottom or hand is okay! It’s not.
4. Different Kids Want Different Things
A play activity that appears exciting to a toddler will likely appear ridiculous to an 8-year-old kid. The kind of toys and games children will enjoy, as well as how you interact with them, will be largely determined by their age.
Different ages of children are also more vulnerable to various types of dangers in the home. Younger children, for example, are more likely to choke on small objects and certain foods. When in doubt, talk to the parents about off-limit items and activities to avoid unnecessary hazards.
5. Be Respectful
Parents who hire you to babysit are paying you for your time, but they are also taking a risk by allowing a stranger into their home to care for their children.
Show respect in all your interactions while babysitting. This includes when speaking with both parents and their children. But there are also minor details, such as not eating food from their refrigerator without first asking permission, watching TV when your attention should be on the child, or inviting friends to make the time pass more quickly.
6. Avoid Babysitting When You Are Sick
If you have the flu, it’s probably best to notify the parents that you won’t be able to babysit for them. While having to cancel the plans that they have or find another babysitter is inconvenient, they will understand. It’s preferable to having their child become ill and having to take time off work to take them to the doctor’s office and make other arrangements.