17 Top Babysitting Tips

Babysitting can be challenging at times, which is why it is always good to have as many different babysitting tips as you possibly can. We have gathered some of our favorite babysitter tips from babysitters who have years of experience and want to share their knowledge with others. Whether this is going to be your first time ever babysitting or you have been a professional for years, we guarantee that you are going to want to use several of these babysitting tips.

  1. Watch the kids at all times – This might sound like a ‘duh’ moment rather than something that belongs on a list of good babysitter tips, but you would be surprised how many babysitters are not constantly aware of where the children are.
  2. Do not spoil the kids – Even though it might feel awesome to be the ‘cool babysitter’, you have to understand that if you give young kids an inch, they are going to take a mile. If you are lax once and let things slide, chances are that they are going to try again later.
  3. Remain positive – It may sound straightforward, but using positive language to provide criticism, instructions, and directions is always going to have a better result. Remember that kids would rather hear what they are expected to do than NOT supposed to do.
  4. Plan ahead – Yes, technically you could show up and just ‘go with the flow’ but why not try to come up with a fun game or activity to play before you head to work? This is always appreciated and shows you are passionate about your job.
  5. Positive reinforcement – Using positive reinforcement is going to encourage good behavior. For example, verbal praise or a pat on the back is going to go a long way towards building a positive relationship with kids instead of a negative one.
  6. You are the role model – Remember that this means listen, laugh, and smile. Be patient, gentle, and kind while remaining firm when needed. Lead by example, because children are very impressionable.
  7. A courtesy confirmation – It is a good idea to confirm the appointment 24 hours before you are scheduled to work. Confirm the time and if this is your first time somewhere, confirm the address as well.
  8. Discuss payment beforehand – You would be surprised how many parents seem to think that pay is negotiated afterwards. While you certainly do not need to ask for any money upfront, you want to make sure that payment details are agreed upon.
  9. Remain focused – Yes, it is very tempting to check Facebook or your email whenever you are working, but remember that your primary role is that of a caretaker. Keep your eyes on the kids at all times and limit your distractions.
  10. Make sure be prepared – This is one of the best babysitting tips to get you out of potential problems. Make sure that you have information on every child that you babysit. You can have notecards with preferred activities or interests, children's allergies and medical information, parents' cell numbers, and anything else that might help you do better.
  11. What happens if the parents are late – This has happened countless times, parents have fun and forget about the time completely. It is important that you know what is going to happen if you do end up having to stay later than planned. This is not something you want to discuss afterwards.
  12. Get the details before the parents leave – You want contact information, medical information, anything that might be relevant to what children eat or what they would do before bedtime. This is important information to have.
  13. Honesty is the best policy – It may not always be comfortable to tell parents that their ‘little angels’ were difficult from the moment the parents closed the doors behind then. However, this is one of the most important babysitting tips we can offer, because it allows parents to respond the right way.
  14. Dress appropriately – Remember that you still want to wear neat, casual clothing even if you are not going to leave the home.
  15. Leave a clean home – Unfortunately, this is one of those babysitter tips that often goes ignored. While you certainly are not expected to clean the home, you want to leave it in the same or close to the same state as it was when you arrived. If you eat something, clean the dishes or put them in the dishwasher.
  16. Are the kids sleeping? - Unless parents specifically tell you not to, make sure the children are actually sleeping soundly. Oftentimes children might be uncomfortable with a new babysitter or want to test boundaries by staying up extra late.
  17. Respect the privacy – There may be certain areas of the home that are ‘off-limits’, even if the parents do not specifically mention them. One such example is the parents’ bedroom.
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