Babysitting small children can be intimidating. It’s quite the responsibility to look after children, especially someone else’s. Parents put their trust in you to care for their cherished little sprog. But it’s OK; the vast majority of babysitting jobs go off without a hitch and there are some good basic rules to stick to which should make sure yours do too. Here’s our handy list of things to keep in mind when babysitting small children.
1. Safety first
Safety, safety, safety! This is of course the most important thing when it comes to looking after little ones. No one wants to be responsible for any harm and luckily with a bit of sensible planning you won’t be. When you start a babysitting job begin by surveying the environment to check any potential hazards for you and your charge: think wires that you might fall over (or a little one might chew on), sharp corners or knives perching on the edge of a work surface. Make the place nice and baby/child friendly before you even begin.
2. Have all the equipment to hand
Secondly, it’s worth doing a quick check to see that you have everything that might be needed during your babysitting duties. Interpret this broadly – of course you’ll need nappies and cleaning bags, snacks and toys, but consider also anything that could go wrong. Maybe you’ll need new clothes for yourself or your little ones. Definitely get some handy wipes in case things get spilt. When doing this, it’s also worth ensuring you know about important basics like washing newborn baby clothes or cleaning up spilt milk. If you’re unsure, have a look at useful articles online like this one. Also, make sure your charge has a prized soft toy or blanket with them to help them feel safe in what may be a new environment – or, if you’re babysitting at theirs, a new person in the household.
3. Usual routines
Before they head off, check with the child’s parents about their usual routine. Keeping to a fixed schedule is often important in giving babies and children stability, so babysitters usually stick to the normal structure of the day. Find out from Mum or Dad what your little one would be doing and when – napping, eating, playing, chilling – and plan your day around it.
4. Regular monitoring
A key thing to remember when babysitting is to be checking on your ward regularly. Even if you’re off washing newborn baby clothes or cleaning up the kitchen while they sleep, remember to check on them at least every 10 minutes and if possible, use a monitoring system that allows you to hear when they are awake or crying.
5. How to contact the parents if needed
Finally, make sure to store a primary and secondary contact in your phone and ask Mum and Dad to check their mobiles are fully charged before leaving. You can always get in touch with them via the UberNanny app either by chat or by calling them (you can contact us via the app as well), but it’s always good to err on the side of caution.
Despite the planning and preparation involved, babysitting is a really fun job and particularly great for people who love spending time with babies or children. Get the basics right and you’ll have a lovely, enjoyable day with your little protégé!