2. Watch Carefully: If you are watching small children, do not let them out of your sight. If you have to go into another room, bring them with you. If they are playing together, watch carefully that they have the appropriate toys, and that they do not hurt each other.
3. Take Breaks: Remind children to take a break and eat or use the bathroom. If you don’t you might have a restroom emergency on your hands. If the kids do not eat, they will be hungry when their parents come home.
4. Infants: If you are planning to care for an infant, it might be helpful to visit a day before and watch how the mom does things. A baby will cry because she has a wet diaper, he is teething, she is hungry, or he misses his mom or dad. Do not take it personally. Ask how the parents soothe their child before they leave. Know how to prepare baby bottles. Know where the diapers and wipes are.
5. Play: Regardless of the age of the child, if you play with them, time will pass quickly and they will be happy. You can sing songs, read a story, clap hands, blocks, paste stickers, Play-Doh, peek-a-boo, and for older kids, cook, color, Simon Says, play food, dolls, playing store, movies, ball, puppets or do crafts.
6. Bedtime: If you are sitting at night, ask the parents about any routine that is followed when putting the children to bed. Sticking to a routine makes the children feel safe and comfortable. Start things like brushing teeth and putting on pajamas an hour ahead.
7. Naps: Ask if there is a naptime and how long to let a child sleep. There is nothing worse than having a child sleep too long during the day, and then not want to go to sleep at night.
8. Safety: Ask if there the kids have any allergies. Bring or know where the Band-Aids are. Get the important phone numbers list from the mom and dad. Bring your phone with you. Let your parents know where you are. Keep the doors locked.
9. Eating: Older babies usually have a bottle as well as semi solid foods. Babies need a bib and should be buckled into the high chair. Only give food the parents suggest. Always cut larger pieces up. Don’t let the child run around while eating. Make sure food and bottles are not too hot. Don’t let older kids eat a lot of sugar. It will increase hyper and bad behavior.
10. Fighting: If the toddler is having a tantrum, keep him away from furniture and stairs and let him tire out. If children start to fight, try to distract them with something fun.
11. Be responsible: Don’t bring a friend or boyfriend to work with you. Don’t spend all day on your phone. Clean up after yourself and the kids.
There is a lot more to know about babysitting besides these few tips. You will learn some from experience. You can also take a course at the Red Cross, or learn more online. YouTube has some good videos, and we have more for you to read here.