While it sounds easy enough at a glance, babysitting is no easy task. You're responsible for someone else's children, which is a responsibility that many are not up to taking. So before you look at babysitting as a summer job, you must ask yourself if you are prepared to have families entrust you with their young.
Babysitting is one of the easiest professions to get your start in. If you had younger siblings and your parents ever trusted you to watch them while they ran errands, you already have on-site experience.
Your parents can also be a good way to promote yourself; ask them to talk to their friends with young children, and have them suggest you if they ever need a sitter. You will be surprised by how quickly you can become successful just from word-of-mouth.
Don't think that baby-sitting is just a job for teens, however. If you're home in the summertime and have children of your own, baby-sitting for a few more children is the perfect way to bring in some extra cash. Actually, it can even be a lot of fun, since the children can play together, making your job easy - primarily looking out for their safety, planning meals, and acting as moderator if there is a fight.
If you have never babysat before, you may want to ask yourself a few questions:
- How many children can you watch at one time? If you have never watched children before, starting off with four siblings under the age of ten may not be the wisest decision. However, if you're a parent already and used to a house full of children, adding more may not be hard at all.
- What age groups can you handle? Infants and toddlers need different kinds of care, and infants require almost constant attention.
- Are you able to work flexible hours? Some parents work third-shift and may need a sitter to watch the kids during the night, while other parents are gone all day. If you take on more than one client, you may have to adapt.
- Will you baby-site at your house or their house? If you're watching your own children as well, you may need to baby-sit at your own house, and this may mean child-proofing the house for younger kids.
The big question that you have to ask yourself is how you would handle a small crisis. With any child, especially younger children, accidents will happen. You should also have the parents contact information, either a cell phone number or the number to where they are spending the evening. Having the phone numbers for neighbors and family friends is also wise. Be sure to have the basic medical information for the children under your care, as well. If the child has allergies, or needs to take a medication at a particular time, you must know and if you aren't told by the parents you should definitely ask.