PayScale: What is your babysitter job description?
As a babysitter within my neighborhood what is expected of me is typical child care. Parents often hire me to take care of their kids while they either take time for themselves or have appointments to attend to. It’s important to make a strong first impression when meeting the parents and especially the kids. Typically, if the little ones don’t like you, then the parents often won’t hire you again. I feel that when it comes to babysitting, the kids are your most important judges. They are the ones that know whether they want to keep you as their babysitter. When babysitting, my goal first and foremost is to make sure their kids are safe, fed, and entertained. To ensure the children are safe, I always keep my eye on them. I judge whether or not a child’s choice of activity is something that may end in danger or create a mess within the house. I recognize that the parents are putting quite a bit of trust in me to make sure the house doesn’t burn down and their children are safe. It’s also important to play with the kids during the time that you are babysitting them. For example, when I’m babysitting I typically pack a “fun” bag to bring along with me, which includes little toys, movies, and crafts the kids and I can do to pass the time. Babysitting is a lot easier when everyone is having fun and tantrums are avoided.
PayScale: How did you get started doing babysitting jobs?
I grew into babysitting as a result of having a younger brother and also many younger relatives. The motivation was simple for me: take something I already have to do as a sister, but with another set of children, and earn money doing it. I lived in a neighborhood packed with kids, so once I became older I took my knowledge from having to take care of a younger sibling and offered my assistance to other parents. It’s a fairly easy job to get into if you enjoy spending time with other kids.
PayScale: What do you love about babysitting?
There are many great things about being a babysitter. I love connecting with the kids and taking care of them. It’s rewarding to know they had a good time when I hear the complements from their parents. Every time I see a kid jump up and down when they answer the door, or when they request for me to read them a bedtime story before I tuck them into bed, it reminds me why I love my job. The fact that I have the opportunity to influence them in a positive way is motivation enough for me to do the best that I can, even if I only get to spend a short amount of time with them. I think that children often see older teens as a role model. It all depends on how that role model chooses to behave around the kids. When the kids tell me that they had fun that day or that they learn something when I’m with them, that’s the kind of positive feedback that lets me know I’ve done my job right.
PayScale: What are the biggest challenges you face as a babysitter?
The biggest challenge I face within my job is keeping their energy under control. I have a hard time when I’m babysitting more than four kids at a time and their energy level gets to the point where they disobey me. Also, when that energy is spent on activities that could end up causing a huge mess in the house. What I have found that helps with settling kids down is suggesting a movie or TV to distract them while I clean. When they’re focusing on the cartoons they often tend to mellow out after a few minutes.
PayScale: What advice would you give to someone looking for babysitting jobs?
Babysitting is a fairly simple job. My only advice is to be patient with the kids. Acquire the knowledge of how to provide basic care to the kids you are looking after. Open yourself up to them so that they don’t feel like a stranger is in their house. It’s important to make that positive first impression to the parents in order to instill a sense of trust. Also, it always helps to have a plan or idea of what kind of activities you think the kids would enjoy. I have found that each family custom is a little different and the way the child behaves always varies as well.
PayScale: Do you have any babysitting stories you want to share?
The most inspiring thing that has happened while taking care of a child would be my experience with my brother Max. Even though there was never any pay at the end of the day, the way we interacted with each other and what I had to do to ensure he was taken care of was life-changing enough for me. To start off my story I must inform you that Max had cancer. The cancer that he was diagnosed with was leukemia. Since he was having such a battle with cancer, he needed extra care. My job as his big sister was to take care of his special needs while my mother was out running errands. These special needs included having to run his IV bag, check his morphine pump, and have my full attention on him at all times. I was always there for him through each and every stage of his battle with cancer. There were days when the stress was immense for me but it was all worth it in the end to see him smile ever so often throughout the day. My experience taking care of him was like no other; it has influenced me to stay strong and positive even at the worst of times. Even though I did not earn a wage for the continual help I gave to my little brother, I earned the title of the best sister in the world. He passed away seven years ago but his amazing memories live on, and I was a part of that experience.