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Posted in Babysitting on 30th August 2011

Babysitting – a guide for sitters

Babysitting while a parent goes out for a few hours can be a good way for young people to earn some extra income. While it can be fun, rewarding and an invaluable experience, it also demands a sensible, flexible and mature outlook, as you will be responsible for the child’s safety and wellbeing. This factsheet answers some of the more common questions about babysitting and offers some tips to help you make a good job of it.


What information should I get from the parents?

It is always best to arrange to meet the children you will be looking after well before the first time you babysit. On the night, try and arrive 10 or 15 minutes before the parents are due to leave. This will give you plenty of time to run through what’s expected, such as the bedtime routine and bathing etc. Before the parents leave, make sure that you have agreed what time they expect to return home and how you will then get home. You will also need to know the following contact information:


Their mobile phone number, if they have one.
The address and telephone number of the people or place they are visiting.
The telephone number and address of a relative or friend nearby who would be prepared to help in an emergency.
The telephone number of the child’s doctor and the local hospital.
If they have tickets for a play, concert or show, ask them for the row and seat number. In the event of an emergency, this would help you to contact
Other useful question to ask parents
Does the child have any favourite toys or special songs, rhymes and bedtime rituals that will help put them at ease?
How long can their child watch TV and play computer or video games?
Can they have snacks and drinks and do they have any allergies?
When parents are out, don’t forget to …
Lock all the doors.
Keep a close eye on the child at all times.
Keep children away from any dangerous objects and household chemicals, such as bleach.
After the child is asleep, check on them regularly. Make sure you stay awake and alert until the parents return.
Keeping a child occupied and safe

Infants: An infant under a year likes to throw, hold, drop, tear, grab and roll. Rattles and bright toys that have different textures and sounds are often good sources of entertainment. So are children’s songs and music.

Infants may try and put everything in their mouths, so watch for small objects. If you are asked to bath a small child, remember they are vulnerable in even a few inches of water and can drown easily. Also, don’t take your eyes off them if they have to be placed on any raised surface – a bed or high chair, even for a second, as they may roll, or fall.


How much should I charge for babysitting?

The amount that you charge for babysitting will depend on several factors including your age and experience,how many children you will have to look after, whether it will be later than midnight and, finally, what the going rate is in your area. Ask friends who babysit what they are paid so that you can get a fair idea. Once the child’s parents have asked you to babysit for them, it is a good idea to agree rates of payment at that stage. That way, there is less chance of any misunderstanding later on.


What do I do if the parents are unhappy with my babysitting?

If you have followed the advice contained in this leaflet, it is unlikely that parents will be unhappy with your care. However, if this does happen, calmly ask them to give an explanation for the way they feel. Write down what they say so that you can remember later.

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