Babysitters Handbook

10 Basic Rules Every Sitter Should Adhere To

The rules and guidelines of childcare can be overwhelming for young babysitters that are just starting out. There’s so much information available for new sitters, but the most important rules to follow are the simplest. Here are the things you should always remember any time you accept a babysitting job. 

  1. Safety First! – This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to lose sight of things that can be potentially dangerous when your charges are running wild. Always be alert for the slightest sign of danger, and do everything you can to keep everyone safe.
  2. Leave Things as You Found Them – If you played a messy game with the children in your care, or have a sink full of dishes from dinner, be sure to clean up after yourself. Leave your employers’ home as you found it, or even straighten up the main areas that might have been strewn with toys when you arrived.
  3. No Breaking the House Rules – If bedtime is at eight, parents will be upset to come home at ten and find their children still awake. Older charges may try to bargain with you or convince you to let them break the rules, but it’s important to remember that your employers are trusting you not to break their rules.
  4. Ask Questions – Arrive early and ask any questions you have. Before parents walk out the door, you need to know if your charges have any food allergies or medication to take. Harried parents can need a bit of reminding about small details, but asking questions will help them remember the information they need to pass along to you.
  5. No Visitors – Even if you know the family that you’re working for very well, it’s important to remember that you are providing a service that they will be paying you for. Like any other job, you’re expected to keep your attention focused on that service; that means no visitors that can distract you from watching the children.
  6. Put Your Phone Away – Unless it’s an emergency or you have a question related to your job, you should not be on your phone. Chatting with a friend or trading text messages can keep you from spotting potentially dangerous situations or interacting with your charges.
  7. Know All Emergency Contacts – Everyone knows to dial 911 for life-threatening emergencies, but there are other contacts you should have on hand as well. You should have a number to reach the parents, an alternate contact in the event that they are unable to answer, and the local poison control number in case a youngster swallows something they shouldn’t.
  8. Respect Your Employers’ Home – This means no smoking, keeping your shoes off of the furniture, and no snooping.
  9. No Swearing – Little ears pick up much more than grown-ups realize. One accidental curse word can be mimicked by a toddler or young child, which may cause their parents to suspect that you were swearing in front of their children deliberately.
  10. Be Reliable and Trustworthy – Always show up on time, and maintain a reputation for being honest and dependable. Word of mouth can be a great way to get more clients, but it can also cost you business if your reputation is tarnished by bad behavior. Remember that parents want to feel that they’re leaving their children in good hands, and do everything you can to reassure them that they are.

By following these rules and keeping your charges safe and happy, you’ll have parents begging you to watch their children in no time.