Strapped for cash? This may seem like the perfect solution! Whether you’re looking to make some extra money or just fill your free time, babysitting is an excellent activity. So long as you like children and have some experience, you should be able to get yourself a tidy little job looking after them. Before you start applying, though, there are a few things you need to know. So, here’s the complete guide to babysitting! Enjoy.
Get some experience first
Before you do anything at all, it might pay to get some experience. Rather than starting to babysit for strangers, it will be way easier to start at home! If someone in your family has small children, you could offer to babysit for them for an evening or two. This small gesture is just what you need to help you build your experience. It means that people will trust you when you apply for a serious role and that you will have references should they need them. The fact that you are trusted to look after the young children in your family will mean a whole lot when it comes to landing that first (and crucial) babysitting role.
Figure out your rate
Okay, one of the things that many people struggle with when it comes to babysitting is their rate. After all, how much is a fair hourly fee? What should you expect to be paid for your time and, indeed, your services? These are questions that are likely to be whizzing around in your mind right now.
So, where do you start? Well, one of the easiest ways to determine how much you should be paid is to use a babysitting calculator. All you need to do is pop in how many years experience you have (likely 0-1), how many hours you intend to work, how many kids you will be watching, and your postcode. In just seconds, the calculator will suggest how much you should be paid. Failing that, you may simply want to go with the national minimum wage for your age bracket. That way, you can ensure that you get a fair fee for your hard work.
Many people wonder how they can land a babysitting gig. While spreading the word among friends is one way to advertise yourself, you may wish to look further afield. Popping an advert in your local community centre or posting one on Gumtree may indeed mean that people call you and use your services. Be sure to list your experience and provide references if needed here. The key is to show that you are a trusted person who is capable of looking after children.
There are also dedicated babysitting sites where you can advertise yourself and your services. For example, Find a Babysitter is an easy-to-use webpage where you can look for jobs in your particular area. You will, of course, need to create an account before you do anything else and provide some details as well. If you’d like to make the entire process easier, you can actually sign up with your Facebook account. Aside from babysitting gigs, you will also be able to find au pair positions and nanny jobs to boot.
Of course, no one is going to allow you to watch their kids without having an interview with you first. Here’s where you really need to shine if you want to bag the gig. There are some things that you need to consider before you head to meet these people.
First of all, you should plan some answers to some of the questions that they may ask. Obviously, they will want to know about your experience, what you would do in an emergency situation, and how you plan to entertain and/or educate the children. These are things that you should prepare answers for in advance. The very last thing you need is to be put on the spot and not know what to say. If that happens, you will look like you don’t know the answer and that you’re incapable of doing the job.
Remember! When you’re meeting people that you don’t actually know, your safety is just as important as theirs. Rather than heading to their home to meet them, you should arrange and interview in a public place, such as a cafe or a restaurant. Doing so will mean that you are safe at all times.
Educate yourself on child safety
Looking after someone else’s children is a massive responsibility. Before you take on this task, you need to make sure that you understand how to keep the little ones safe at all times. It may be worth taking a first aid course before you take on any jobs. (Note that some parents will ask for this as standard!) You should be able to find a course near you with little to no trouble. After all, people from all walks of life need first aid training in their job roles so this really is something that’s in uber high demand.
It will also be necessary for you to have an official DBS (previously called a CRB) check before you start babysitting. This is to provide the parents with peace of mind. The standard version of the check will cost you £26 and will take around eight weeks to process. This is something that you will need to do way ahead of time. When you’re working with children, it’s essential that you get this document.
If you plan on babysitting on a regular basis, it may be worth doing a course. There are many e-learning sites where you can sign up and begin learning about childcare and, of course, child protection. What’s more, some of the resources you will find online will be 100% free. That means that you can do them in your spare time and it won’t cost you a penny. Having these qualifications will set you apart from the pack when it comes to babysitting, which means that you’re sure to land a whole bunch of jobs!
According to UK law, if you happen to provide more than two hours of childcare per day, you must register as a childcare provider with Ofsted. To do so, you will need to be over the age of 18 and have the right to work in the UK.
Failing to register when you’re providing an ongoing service could land you in a whole load of trouble. In fact, you could face charges or have to pay a rather hefty fine. Before you start offering long-term childcare services, you will need to look into your options. If you’re planning on turning this into a business and you earn more than the minimum threshold, you will need to pay tax on your earnings.
Once you’ve done all of the above and actually got yourself a babysitting job, there are some things that you need to remember. First of all, you should be on time when you turn up to the house. The parents have hired you so that they can go out. You don’t know what their situation is. They could be heading off to an important meeting or going to a play or concert that starts at a specific time. If you turn up late and let them down, they will not be using your services again. Remember, these people are looking for someone who they can rely on to look after their children. The best way to make sure that you get a second gig from them is to be on time and ready to work!
You should also consider what you wear and how you act when you turn up at the property. You want to show these people that you are mature and that you’ve got things together. Wear something that is smart casual, such as some jeans and a plain top. You will also need to be as polite and friendly as possible. The better the relationship you build with these people, the more chance they will hire you on a regular basis!
Plan some activities!
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail… Or so that annoying old phrase goes. When it comes to babysitting, though, it’s worth making sure that you plan ahead as much as possible. You should never underestimate just how much energy children have. The best thing you can do is figure out some ways that you can keep them busy throughout the evening or day. Otherwise, you will find that they get bored sooner rather than later! (Spoiler: When children get bored, they tend to play up!)
So, what activities can you plan? It’s worth noting that the parents may have something in mind for you. For example, if the kids happen to have homework, they may suggest that you help them with that. Still, like Mary Poppins, you should have a few things in your bag to keep the kids happy and entertained. If you’re struggling for ideas, it’s well worth looking online. There are actually loads of sites where you can find games and educational worksheets for young children. Arming yourself with some of these will mean that you have things for the kids to do when they get bored.
The last thing you want is for anything to go wrong while you’re babysitting. However, you can’t always control what happens and some things will be out of your hands. You should know what you need to do in an emergency situation. These are some things you need to consider:
If a child tries to run away
If they have a minor accident
If they choke on something
If there’s a fire
If someone breaks into the home
If you somehow get locked out of the house
You should know what to do in all of the above situations before anything else. Make sure that you educate yourself on these things so that you can prepare what you need to do. Plus, before the parents head out, be certain to grab a phone number from them in case you need to contact them!
Be sure to clean up!
When all the hard work is over, there’s just one more thing that you need to consider. You should clean up any mess that you (or the kids!) have made while you’ve been there. The last thing the parents want is to come back to a house that’s a tip! Clean up and you’ll be far more likely to get a call back the next time that they have plans.