With a job like babysitting, each and every time you work is a chance to prove your prowess. It only takes small and frequent gestures to quickly build up your reputation as a great babysitter and expand your network of employers. That being said, negative news spreads just as fast. It only takes one small mishap to cost you a job, a client or even a future in the business.
Take a look at our babysitting no-nos to help you know how to keep your babysitting business booming:
1. Share on social media
Although the children you’re looking after might be the cutest little creatures to walk the earth, think twice before you snap a quick photo, post to your newsfeed or even check-in where you are babysitting. The child’s parents are trusting you to keep their privacy. If you’re unsure of the boundaries, always ask them.
2. Speak no evil — stream no evil
“Feel free to put on a film or watch TV while we’re out.” This is a pretty standard statement for babysitters to hear as parents head out the door, but this doesn’t mean you can put on an R rated film without a second thought! As child care providers, we all know just how observant children can be. The last thing you want is a phone call from the parents questioning their child’s new nightmares, or why their child has suddenly started using foul language. From music to video games to television — even on the privacy of your tablet or smartphone — keep it PG (or even G!) at all times. Little eyes and ears are always watching!
3. Relinquish authority
“Well, Daddy lets me” Whether it’s an extended bedtime, that extra cookie or wearing mummy’s lipstick, remember that you’re the boss and need to enforce the rules. It may be true that the child is allowed to eat cookies in bed, but, when in doubt, follow your gut and stand firm. It’s better to say “no” and check in when your employer returns than explain why there are cookie crumbs all over the bed. Parents need to know you are confident and capable of caring for their children.
An easy way to avoid this: confirm all house rules with the parents before they leave.
4. Stray from home
Unless you’ve been given permission, under no circumstances should you take the children out of the house. Parents expect to know that their little one is safe at home with a trusted supervisor. Even an unapproved walk to the park might give way to raised eyebrows. “Okay” all potential plans with the parents before they take off.
5. Enforce new discipline
Temper tantrums, shouting and hitting — oh my. Part of being a great babysitter is effectively implementing discipline and maintaining consistency. Your form of discipline may be effective, but can also be somewhat shocking to the children. When your client needs to call a sitter again, they may feel uneasy if their child protests, “I dont like him/her, they made me sit in the corner.”
It may feel awkward, but talk with the parents about how to handle issues that come up while they’re gone.
6. Invite people over
No matter how benevolent your bestie, friendly your father or sweet your significant other, don’t let anyone else in the house. Remember what’s at stake: your job. You wouldn’t want a stranger in your house or eating your porridge, right? Magnify that anxiety by a couple of million and you get a taste of what a parent may feel when exposing their children to strangers.
7. Let your attention wander
Don’t let your focus ever stray from the children. It takes one wandering eye, private phone call or catnap for tragedy to strike. Never leave a child unsupervised.
If you make sure you avoid all of these babysitting no-nos, you can be pretty confident that you will be a great child carer, with a long and prosperous babysitting career ahead of you!
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