First Night on the Job: Everything a Babysitter Should Know

The first night babysitting for a new family can be nerve wracking since you’re not sure how the kids will react or behave once their parents have left. To help calm the jitters, here are a few questions you should ask before the parents leave.

 

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Most kids are sneaky, and quite clever, so it’s good to know all the household rules. Make sure you know the areas of the house, like the parents bedroom or mom’s office, that they aren’t allowed to go and activities they aren’t supposed to do, like jumping on the furniture or going outside after dark. Also, make sure you know what foods they can and can’t have. It also wouldn’t hurt to know why, whether it’s because of an allergy or simply they can’t have sugar an hour before bedtime. Some parents are clear on disciplinary action, like losing dessert or time out. Others aren’t clear or will ask you to take note of their child’s misbehavior so they can handle it upon their return. So, make sure to ask the parents their preference on how to handle those situations.

If you are watching a child that requires special care or timely medication, be sure to get clear directions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you aren’t certain about something, and if needed, ask for written directions beforehand.

Bedtime can be the hardest part. Kids will fight and fight, claiming they aren’t tired through their endless yawns. Ask about the child’s bedtime ritual. Some kids like to have book read to them, others like to be sung to, and some may just want a back rub. The child may be used to a certain routine, so be sure to ask the parents the typical order. If you’re watching a child who is being potty trained, make sure to have them go before they get in bed, even if they say they don’t, have them sit on the toilet. Be firm and continue on with the bedtime ritual.

Have fun with the child and don’t fret too much. Remember to stick to what the parents tell you and ask of you, but have a good time!

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