The Art of Babysitting:  Best Practices for Sitters

Working as a babysitter/sitter is as much about making the parents happy, as it is about making the children happy. The best sitters, the ones that all of the families in the neighborhood want, the one that gets all of the jobs on, the one that gets asked to return every time parents need someone to watch their children, are the best for a reason, and simply put that reason is because they put in the time and effort to be the best. In this article you will find some of the best practices that have proven most effective in making both the parents and children happy.

  • Think about what sort of activities would be age appropriate for the children, and come up with some ideas of your own. Many sitters actually bring their own goody bag. Children generally like to play with things that are new, so it’s always fun for them when the sitter arrives with some special surprises and/or activities planned.
  • Actively engage the children at all times. Don’t just put them in front of the TV or the iPad. Participate in the activities, projects, and arts & crafts that you have planned or are working on with the children.
  • Take the time to talk about and learn about the child’s interests. What do they like to do, and what are some of their favorite things? When possible, participate in these things with the child while you are there.
  • Initiate an open conversation with the parents about things such as the house rules, what activities they would like to see their children engaging in (guarantee it’s not watching TV or playing on electronics all day), what things are off limits, how they would like discipline to be handled, etc. Also, if you have taken the time to plan an activity or some sort of art/craft, discuss it with the parents.
  • Ask for a tour of the home as well as the parents emergency contact list.
  • When preparing food, provide fresh and healthy options when possible.
  • Leave the house a little cleaner than it was when you arrived. Take the initiative to empty the dishwasher, tidy up the kitchen, organize the children’s toys and ensure they are picked up. No parent wants to return home to find the home in disarray.
  • Be prepared to provide the parents with an update as to how things went, and what you did. If you were working on arts & crafts, show the parents what they have done.

The above practices will have the children telling their parents how much fun they had, and asking when you can come back. That in and of itself is often enough for parents to ask a sitter back, however when you are also able to demonstrate to the parents that you are responsible and actively trying to make their life easier, that is what makes the best, the best.
By: Kelly Welker, MBA, President of Crunch Care of Orange County

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