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Babysitting for Beginners!

Wanna start looking after little ones but not sure how to break into the babysitting biz? GL babe and babysitting pro Katie Shutt gives you the 411 on how to kick-start your sitting services.

I really want to start babysitting, but I don't know where to start. What do I do?

First thing you should do is make sure you're ready to babysit. Do you feel comfortable being alone at home? Do your 'rents trust you with responsibilities such as using the stove or oven and going on errands by yourself ? Think you can handle basic first aid dilemmas such as cuts and bruises? Babysitting is a big responsibility so you wanna make sure you're up for it! Next step? Finding a fam to sit for.

How do I find a family to sit for?

Word of mouth is usually best. Ask your neighbors, relatives and family friends if they, or someone they know, need a babysitter every once and a while. You don't need to book an everyday kinda gig, since you've prob got a lot goin' on too. Most parents will be thrilled that you've offered a weekend night here and there! Make sure you only ask people that you and your family know. You don't wanna get stuck sitting for a fam that makes you super uncomfortable.

If you don't know the fam you're potentially gonna sit for, get a good recommendation from a previous sitter or whoever pointed you to them.

Not getting very far from word of mouth? Try posting fliers in a familiar place, like a church hall or girl scout gathering room. Try to stay away from posting signs in grocery stores and schools where almost anyone can see it. Just ask as many people as you know, and you're bound to land a babysitting gig eventually!

How much pay should I ask for?

Each family is different, but they probably already have a set price per hour that they are used to paying so they most likely will be up front about the pay. If they ask you how much you want, and you're not really sure what's appropriate, give them a range from low to high and they'll probably pick somewhere in the middle.

When you're talkin' about money, it can feel a little awkward, but you're there to give the 'rents a service, and you deserve to be compensated for it so don't feel bad. Speak up if you think the parents underpaid you at the end of the night. If they can get away with not paying you the full prince just once, they might keep it up which can be really frustrating. So plan out the pay before they leave. Then, make sure it's all there at the end of your gig.

What should I ask the parents before they leave me with the kids?

You def want to ask the important questions before they go because you don’t want to interrupt their dinner to ask a silly question. Make sure you get both of the cell phone numbers, place(s) they're going to be and any emergency numbers. Also, get the bedtime routine down from the parents before the kids can trick ya into staying up an extra hour (or several)! Ask about what snacks they're allowed to eat, if there are any restrictions on TV or the internet and what time the kids go to bed.

When is it OK to call the parents?

Feel like the kid’s behavior is so out of control that you want to pull your hair out? Oh yeah sistah, I've been there. Your best bet to dealing with a kiddie temper tantrum is to keep your cool and remain calm. You might be really tempted to just call the parents and tell them they need to come home because you just can't take it anymore! But kids act out sometimes and there are ways to handle it. Save calling the parents as an absolute last resort.

Just let the child get over the temper tantrum on his own unless he's being very violent or seems like he might hurt himself or someone else. Give it some time and unless you have no other option to calm the kid, don't call the parents.

DO call the parents if one of the kids gets hurt or sick. Little cuts and bruises don't require a call but if it's a serious injury call 911, or get a neighbor and call the parents. If the kid seems very sick and really wants his or her parents, then you can go-ahead give them a call.

If he simply misses mom and dad tucking him into bed, try to distract him with a book instead of calling the 'rents. If you're on the fence about whether you should or not you should ring the ‘rents just give them a quick call. It's not a big deal and the parents will be glad that you're taking such good care of their kids. They’ll bethankful, not mad.

-Katie Shutt

ARE YOU A SUPER SITTER?! How did you start babysitting? Send us your tips and tricks for breaking into the babysitting biz HERE and you could be featured on our site!


3/5/2010 7:00:00 AM