Babysitting is an awesome gig for several reasons.
First, you can do it anywhere, regardless of whether you live in a big city or in the middle of nowhere.
Second, you likely won’t have to pay taxes on what you earn – you might not realize this if you’re a teenager, but that is a serious win.
Third, you get to play with cute little squishy humans and get paid for it – that in itself is a victory. But perhaps the best thing about babysitting is that you can increase your earnings just by being good at what you do.
Consider these 10 tips for being the best babysitter possible, and see how quickly your cash grows:
Whatever time you’re asked to show up, try to be there five to 10 minutes earlier. That way you can see what the situation is and help the parents get out of the house more efficiently. But remember not to get there too early – it might look a little strange if you show up at noon for an evening watch.
Don’t count on the family to have everything all set up for you when you get there – families are busy! Consider bringing a craft activity or puzzle for the kids to play with. It’ll probably be a hit no matter what it is, since it’s new for them.
Take a CPR Certification Class
Most parents won’t ask you if you have one, but it’s always good to be prepared in case of an emergency. And it certainly boosts your credentials. Plus, if you’re registered on an online website like Care.com, it increases your appeal to parents that don’t know you personally.
Be a Parent, Not a Friend
As much as we all want little kids to like us, you need to remember that you’re there to watch them, not to be their buddy. Parents will feel more comfortable leaving their kids with you (and for longer periods of time) if they see that you’re capable of being firm with their children if they need it.
Suggest Fun Activities
Everyone loves a babysitter who goes above and beyond to entertain their children in safe and educational ways. If you have a driver’s license, see what events are going on in the area and then ask the parents if you can take the kids. You could take them to a kids’ night at a museum, or you can make it as simple as a trip to the local ice cream shop. Everyone loves a road trip.
Don’t Complain If They’re Late
Everyone’s been there: you’re babysitting and they say they’ll be home at 10, but then they roll into the driveway at midnight. It can be seriously annoying, but don’t let them see you sweat it. Just smile and be gracious, and the parents are way more likely to tip you extra for your “trouble.”
Have a Backup Babysitter
If you have to cancel your babysitting plans, make sure you do it as promptly and smoothly as possible, and have a backup babysitter to suggest to them. But remember, whenever you offer a family another babysitter, you might end up losing their regular business!
Clean Up the House
They may not expect you to do it, but parents always appreciate somebody cleaning up a little around the house. Make sure the dishes are clean, the toys are put away and the house is tidy by the time you leave the house. They will most likely tell you it’s not necessary, but they will appreciate the extra mile. Trust me.
It’s tempting to want to wear a cotton sweatsuit for maximum mobility and comfort, but no one wants to leave their kids with someone who looks homeless or someone who shows too much skin. Think about how you would dress for a casual interview, and then dress somewhere around those lines. You can chill out a bit once you get to know the family, but always make sure that you look well put together.
This is a tip that you learn with waitressing, but it’s useful for babysitting too: always try to have a few small bills available in case the parents only have big bills to give you. If they have two twenty dollar bills and a fifty, your offer to break the fifty might be the difference in ten more dollars for you.