It seems like an easy job - until youíre facing a bunch of kids under the age of eight. Babysitting can be tough, but there are certain things that can make it easier or at least more tolerable until the parents come home with your hard-earned money.
Bring Something New and ExcitingKids
are rowdy, and they like things to be new and exciting. If you bring something along that keeps them occupied and interested, your job will be a lot easier. Of course your budget isnít huge or you wouldnít be babysitting in the first place, but there are plenty of cheap things to throw in your backpack. Consider dominos, a new box of markers or gel pens, coloring books and a deck of cards. You might also bring a movie or CD if you know ahead of time that television is okay according to your chargesí parents.
Save Your Energy
When the parents leave, donít use up your energy all at once. Running, chasing, playing outside and doing crazy dances are great ideas, but can wear you out fast. You want the kids worn out for bedtime or nap time, but you donít want to be worn out, too.
Pace yourself. Play hard and rest. Play hard again and rest again. Use those neat things you brought to keep the kids occupied. Donít become the main attraction yourself or youíll wind up sore and tired.
Donít Break the Rules
As tempting as it may be, donít break the rules. Sure you might come off as the coolest babysitter around if you let them drink juice in the living room, but how are you going to explain the inevitable stain on the carpet to an angry mom? You may not agree with the rules the parents have set, but until youíre the parent of your own kids, you have to live with them. And then youíll probably forbid juice in the living room, too. Follow the rules and play it safe. After all, you donít want to ruin your babysitter reputation.
Use Common Sense
Think before you act. These are kids youíre dealing with, not friends. Donít tell them your secrets or try to pull pranks on them. When we were growing up, a babysitter locked my sister outside as a kind of joke. My parents never hired her again and we also never spoke to her family again.
Doing something stupid, even as a joke, can really hurt your reputation and it might also hurt one of the kids youíre supposed to be watching. Save stunts, dare devil tricks and your more off color vocabulary for the privacy of your own home Ė not someone elseís.
Bring Some Homework
Finally, when the kids are asleep, you need something to keep you occupied. Bringing some homework along is far better than sitting around surfing the channels, eating all the good stuff out of the fridge or maybe poking around in closets. Keep yourself busy with something you need to do anyway and youíll be set. Watch the kids, make a little money, and get your homework done Ė all before you get home to chat with kids your own age.