Are you great with kids? Would you like to make some extra cash without having to clock in every week? Babysitting may be the job for you. However, depending on your location, there are a few requirements to take on this type of role. If you want to know more about how to become a babysitter that parents can count on, here are the keys to your success!
Determine if You Can Legally Babysit
Maturity matters when it comes to caring for another human being. However, in the United States, there are 12 states that have clear designations surrounding when a child can legally stay at home alone. For those hoping to babysit siblings and younger children in the neighborhood, here is a look at the minimum age requirements for babysitting.
|State||Legal Age to Stay Home Alone and/or Babysit|
|Georgia||9 / 13|
|Maryland||8 / 13|
As seen in the table, 10 to 14 years old is the normal age range for kids to be left at home alone. What this means is that this is also the minimum age for babysitting.
However, many parents may want someone slightly older, depending on the age of their own child and what they will be doing while they are away from home. The ability to drive can be a big factor in getting jobs outside of your neighborhood, which is why many parents look for sitters ages 16 and up.
Nevertheless, once you determine if you can legally start babysitting, then there are a few steps to take before you start taking on jobs.
IMPORTANT NOTES: While Kansas allows children as young as the age of six to stay home alone for short periods of time, the Kansas Department for Children and Families recommends that parents wait until they turn at least 10 old to leave them for longer time frames. Also, Georgia and Maryland have minimum ages of nine and eight for a child to stay home alone, but state officials have specifically designated a minimum age of 13 for babysitting.
This lines up with the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation for children to be at least 13 years of age to babysit.
Take Babysitting Classes and Safety Certifications
There are no educational requirements in order to get babysitting jobs, but knowledge is power and experience matters. Parents are much more likely to hire a pre-teen or teen to babysit their kids who has taken certain safety training courses. The American Red Cross offers First Aid and CPR trainings, as well as babysitting and child care classes across the nation, for children as young as eleven.
Here's a quick look at what those classes entail:
CPR / First Aid Courses
Being in charge of a child's care is a big responsibility. Accidents happen and dangerous situations can arise when you least expect it. By taking CPR and first aid courses, you'll be prepared for an array of emergency situations, including burns, choking, asthma and diabetic emergencies, poisoning, and neck, head and spinal injuries. Why does all of this matter?
- Choking takes the lives of at least one child every five days
- Poisonings take the lives of two children every single day
- Burns bring 300 children to the ER every day
By knowing how to handle these types of situations, you could save a life. Best of all, you can take classes that are specifically designed to save babies and young children. This is extremely important because these techniques differ from those that are used on older kids and adults. Not only that, but these courses only take a few hours, and the lessons will stay with you for a lifetime.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Techniques change and practice make you more prepared, so teens who plan to babysit regularly should get re-certified every two years to maintain these crucial life skills.
Babysitting & Childcare Courses
You were a kid not that long ago, but that doesn't mean that it equipped you to take care of a baby or a young child. Babysitting courses are an amazing opportunity to learn about basic care for an infant, child behavior, activities for different age groups, and even ways to grow your business!
You can take these classes online or in-person, and they often only take an afternoon to complete. Having the right knowledge and skills about childcare can help you become a babysitter that parents can feel comfortable with and trust to take good care of their children.
Create You Babysitting Resume
Every young professional should have a document highlighting their accomplishments, certifications, and experience. When you're ready to start babysitting, create a resume that showcases your skills. Highlighting these things can help parents see your best character traits, such as reliability, trustworthiness, and willingness to work hard. These can include:
- CPR, First Aid, and Babysitting Certifications
- Current babysitting experience and job duties
- Ages of any children you have previously babysat
- Number of children you have babysat at one time
- Educational activities that you employ during babysitting jobs
- A list of any honors or AP courses you are taking or have completed
- Current GPA
- School awards
- Volunteer work
- Extracurricular activities
- Other jobs like lifeguarding or pet care
Another great addition to your babysitting portfolio is letters of recommendation. If you have babysat in the past for family and friends, ask for a letter of recommendation. If you don't have experience yet, then ask coaches, teachers, and community members to be a reference instead. Outside references can help show parents your best qualities and why they should hire you as a babysitter.
Start Networking to Get Babysitting Jons
Finding babysitting jobs can seem like a difficult task, but when you market yourself on the right platforms, it's easy.
- First, talk to your parents and inquire about any friends they may have who are looking for a sitter. Think about any neighbors that have young kids. A recommendation from an acquaintance or friend can go a long way with folks looking for someone they can trust.
- Another great option is to create a Facebook profile and join an array of mom groups. These are a spectacular spot to advertise your skills, certifications, available hours, and general location. However, it's important that you present yourself in the best way possible, so make sure your social page and your pictures reflect this. This can make or break job opportunities.
- Websites like SitterCity.com and Care.com can be a great resource as well.
- Lastly, if you are involved with your church or community groups, talk to the youth pastor or community group leaders about possible members looking for help.
Build Your Brand
Becoming a babysitter is essentially creating your own business. Invest in yourself! Until you get babysitting jobs, make yourself more marketable. Volunteer at the YMCA, your church, Head Start Programs, or your regional food bank. These will not only make you look good on paper, but you might also meet new people who are looking for a sitter.
If a parent is on the fence, offer to help with their kids on a trial basis for free when the parent is home. This can help them see your skills and your connection with their children.
Last, never stop selling yourself! Just because you posted in a Facebook mom group a few weeks ago doesn't mean everyone who needs a babysitter saw your posting. Be proactive and repost your information every few weeks and update your resume as you gain more accolades. That's a key component of how to get into babysitting quickly!
Other Things to Think About Before You Start Babysitting
Before looking for possible jobs, there are a few things that you need to figure out in order to make this a seamless transaction.
Determine Your Preferred Pay
The average teenage babysitter in the United States earns between $13 and $20 per hour. However, this can vary based on your experience, the number of children, the time of day, and whether the kids will be awake or asleep. Before you start babysitting, consider your age, experience, and training. Then determine rates you think are fair for daytime, nighttime, and weekend gigs.
You'll also want to decide on an additional amount to charge for each additional child. For instance, you may charge $10 an hour to sit and watch a sleeping baby in the afternoon, but $13 to babysit a toddler who is awake and ready to play.
Additionally, if you start at $13 an hour for one child, then you might charge $15 for two kids. Having a pay rate determined prior to setting up your first job can ensure that both you and the parents are happy with the arrangement and that no surprises occur.
Determine Schedule and Transportation
Before you start babysitting, you also need to talk to your parents about the hours and days that you'll be allowed to work - and if you're not driving yet, if they are willing to take you to and from babysitting jobs. If it's a gig that ends late on a Friday night and you have younger siblings, for example, your parents may not want to get them up in order to come and drive you home. If this is the case, then you will need to see if the people you are babysitting for can give you a lift home. This can also factor into your pay.
How to Get the Most Out of Babysitting
Babysitting can be a great way to earn a little spending money, save up for a car, and even start a college fund. If you want to get the most out of this experience, here are ways to increase your earning potential and help parents recognize you as a babysitter they can count on.
- First, get your certifications! The ability to handle a potential crisis is worth its weight in gold to parents.
- Second, as you get more regular jobs, ask for letters of recommendation. The more the better. This can tip the scales in your favor.
- Finally, think about doing more than just babysitting. When the kids are napping or have gone to bed for the night, clean up the dishes and tidy up their toys. When the kids are awake, help them with homework and bring educational games and activities to help their kids learn and have fun. Parents will likely notice your initiative and be willing to give you a raise after an appropriate amount of time has passed.
Become a Babysitter Parents Can Rely On
Children are precious to their parents. Your efforts in building your childcare skills and showcasing them with a professional-looking resume and through social networking can help you earn the babysitting jobs you're looking for. If you enjoy being with kids, learning how to become a great babysitter that parents can trust can be a great job option - as well as stepping stone towards your future goals.