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Teen Babysitting Tips

One of the top ten jobs for teens is babysitting. It is agreat job for teens who love children, or who at least have the ability to get,and keep, young children's attention. It is one of the few jobs that provideson-the-job training, and you won't need a work permit to do it.  If you're one of the thousands of teens whois considering babysitting to earn some extra cash, read on for tips fromsomeone who has been in the trenches!

Photo by Jeanne Hatch at

Photo by Jeanne Hatch at

Top 5 Babysitting Tips

  1. Set your babysitting rate. If you're new to babysitting, you may be unsure of how much to charge. The amount you charge should be related to your experience, certifications (if any), and the amount of work (in addition to babysitting) that you may be doing. Most teens start out charging between $5 and $10 per hour, depending on these factors. Hint:  If you're doing a lot of housekeeping in addition to babysitting, charge $2-$3 more per hour than straight babysitting.
  2. Advertise your services. If you aren't well known in your area as a babysitter, you'll need to get the word out. One of the fastest ways is through word of mouth- this means telling people who may need a babysitter that you're available and via your parents spreading the word. You may also advertise your services with fliers posted in parent-traveled areas such as libraries, post office bulletin boards, and daycare centers. Don't forget that the job wanted section of your local paper works too.
  3. Don't bite off more than you can chew. This means don't offer to babysit a baby if you've never been around one, nor should you babysit someone who is only a year or two younger than you are. Both of these scenarios pose problems:  babies, though small, can be very demanding and cry a lot. Knowing how to soothe a cranky baby is a must.  Babysitting someone who is near to your age group can be problematic if they won't listen to what you're telling them to do.
  4. Get certification, where available.  Do you need certificates to babysit? Absolutely not, but in some locations, they are preferred.  Babysitting certificates are usually offered through 4-H clubs, Girl Scouts, YMCA/YWCA, and fire departments.  Call these clubs or organizations to see what certificates or other classes they have that can help you be a better babysitter.
  5. Take a child/infant CPR class.  These classes, which also will give you a certificate of completion, are usually offered through the local Red Cross, fire department, or YMCA/YWCA.  Call them to find out when these classes will be offered in your area and if there is any associated cost.

Questions to Ask the Parents

When you're interviewing for a babysitting position, or even if you're on the job for the first time, there are some important things you should ask before the parent leaves you alone with their children:

  • How can I reach you if there is an emergency?  The parent should leave you with a list of emergency contact phone numbers, including a physician.  Of course, in a true emergency, always dial 911 first.
  • What are the house rules?  Kids will always test a babysitter, so it is always best to have the parents walk you through their house rules.
  • When will the parents be home?
  • When do the kids need to be in bed? 
  • Are any foods or drinks off limits?
  • Are the kids allowed to go to a friend's house/be on the Internet/watch unlimited TV?
  • Are you supposed to do any housekeeping- like washing dishes after dinner or laundry?

There are other questions that you may come up with as you start babysitting.  Each family that you will sit for is different, so make sure you understand what you are expected to do, as well as what the children should not do, before the parents leave the house.

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Rockergirl100 on January 10, 2012:

cool, good for other people to know these things, i have been babysitting for years and this really does work (i have more then 400$ from following these rules of babysitting) thank you vary much for posting this :).

amanda2424 on January 05, 2012:

thx 4 the tips i can't wait to start babysitting!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Sarah Writes from California on January 22, 2011:

Great tips, can't wait to pass them along to my little neice whos getting ready to start babysitting.

Suzannah1997 on December 24, 2010:

Hey, could you email me any other tips? My email is: thanks xx

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