Babysitting Tips for Teens

In an economy where breadwinners are applying for the same jobs as teenagers, the job market can be really difficult for both populations. This may be a good time for teenagers to look towards the age old babysitting jobs to make money. With this recommendation, comes a caveat that babysitting is a large responsibility and no easy job to handle. Therefore, it’s important that those who intend to babysit follow a few guidelines to insure their safety and that of their charges’.

Get to know your employers and the children.  The parents will likely want to know some things about you before they entrust you with their children. However, it’s equally important for you to get some background about the family.  Consider the safety of the neighborhood in which they live and the typical behavior of the children so that you can access your ability to work under those conditions.

 Always have emergency numbers with you.  Whether you have numbers stored in a cell phone or you keep a contact list handy, it’s important that you have contacts in the event of an emergency. Include the numbers for local poison control, emergency contacts for the children, your own emergency contact number, the number for where the parents will be, etc.

Be aware of allergies and concerns. It’s important that you’re informed of allergies and potential areas for concern (like illnesses or habits of climbing out of the crib) so that you can take precautions to avoid dangerous situations.  It’s also a good idea to ask this question before you arrive so that parents have time to think about it and create the list.

Be conscious regarding activities.  Be sure to consider the age appropriateness of games and activities and the individual characteristics of the children in your care.  Playing  hide and seek with young children could turn a fun childhood activity into a dangerous nightmare with young children who wander off or find small places to get stuck in.  It’s a good idea to brainstorm a few possible activities for the children before you arrive. Perhaps even consider bringing a game or movie with you.  While the game or movie might be one of your old ones, they will be new to the children you’re watching and that much more fun for them! This structured kind of activity can minimize the potential for chaos or a possibly dangerous suggestion by one of the children in your care.

Be attentive. Children may be content to play nicely in their room for a while or to watch a movie with siblings, but situations can change quickly with children involved. It’s important to stay alert and observant so that you can intervene if an argument or potentially harmful situation arises.

Always lock the doors. Once the parents have left, be sure to secure all of the doors.  While the likelihood that something bad would happen while you happen to be babysitting may be slim, you always want to take proper precaution. Additionally, young children who have a fascination with doors will be less likely to wander out without your knowledge if they have to unlock the door first.

Know where the fire extinguisher and exits are.  If a small fire erupts, knowing where the fire extinguisher is could be handy.  However, you should never try to fight a growing fire. Your primary concern should be to get the children to a safe place and call 9-1-1. This means you need to be aware of your exit plan and where you will go in the event of a fire.

Attend a babysitting class. If there is a class offered locally and you’re able to attend, consider the benefits that hands on training can offer. The class will also allow you to ask important questions that you may have.  The Red Cross is a good place to begin your search for a babysitting class in your area.

With these suggestions in mind, you should find yourself well prepared to care for yourself and the children in your charge. Safety and security is always the primary concern when dealing with children. But remember that babysitting can also be a fun and rewarding job, too.