Adventures in Babysitting: The good, the bad and the ugly

As a teenager, babysitting has been a prominent way for me to earn money. Over the years I have picked up a lot of good strategies for babysitting. To help others, I have compiled a list of helpful tips.

First, make sure the children you are watching are comfortable with you by speaking with a warm and inviting tone. Children respond better to positive energy and will be more willing to cooperate with you.

I remember babysitting a toddler who feared being separated from her mother. After her parents left, she wouldn’t stop crying. I sat down with her and began to talk to her in a quiet voice so she wouldn’t be intimidated by me, and so she would know it was okay to trust me.

Second, children need to be constantly entertained because they have a short attention span. Personally, I think it makes the job go more smoothly when I have a couple of pre-planned activities ready in case the kids get bored.

Once when I was babysitting two energetic little boys, I decided to organize a game of kickball with other kids on the street to help expend their energy. We ended up playing for hours and everyone had a great time.

Third, sometimes babysitters have to handle difficult power struggles. Some kids see the babysitter as a friend instead of who someone who is in charge of them. They try to get away with things their parents wouldn’t allow.

I often babysit my five-year-old neighbor. One time, he really had to go to the bathroom but didn’t tell me, so he decided it would be a good idea to use the restroom in my yard.

He came and to me and said, “Did you see my poop?”

I was mortified. “No…” I said. “Where is it?”

“In your front yard,” he said.

I was absolutely speechless. I wasn’t trained to handle a situation like that, but I was able to keep my cool and explain to him why that wasn’t a good idea. I made him promise not to let it happen again.

Babysitting is not only a great way for me to earn money, it also gives me great stories to tell. Before you start babysitting, it’s a good idea to get certified. The YMCA offers classes that teach you all the necessary skills you need to be a good babysitter. The best way to get jobs is by word of mouth. If you or your parents know people with kids, tell them you are interested in babysitting. If you do a good job, they will be more than likely to recommend you to their friends. However you go about it, babysitting is definitely a rewarding way to earn money as long as your personality fits the job.