Babysitting: 10 mistakes you should never make

Okay, you got the job. During the interview, the parents ascertained that you have sufficient experience, are competent, are passionate about children, dress appropriately and, perhaps, you are also nice. Well don’t relax, exams never end! A parent never stops evaluating your behavior. So, how about putting these helpful babysitting tips into practice? 

Babysitting is a job.  Like any job, there are rules to be respected. In this post we want to give you some useful tips for babysitting. We figured you are at your  first job with no experience . In fact, pay attention to it: some of these babysitting tips also apply to other business sectors. Indeed, perhaps in all.

Useful tips for babysitters (and not only). 3 things to never do

As we said: take advantage of these tips. You will need them not only to do a good job as a babysitter, but also to perform well in all the jobs you find yourself doing. They are some of the basic rules, which you may not think about but which can make a difference. So what are the mistakes you just never have to make?

1 Smoking and drinking alcohol

Just a cigarette after lunch, I go to the balcony . No no, it doesn’t exist. First reason: your essential task is to never lose sight of the child, especially if they are small. If you leave it indoors while you are on the balcony, you are committing a serious breach. If you take it out on the balcony, you bring it into contact with your smoke, even when outdoors. And in case you are babysitting a newborn, the ban must be multiplied by three (have you ever heard of the harm of third-hand smoking?).

Have you ever seen a bank employee who smokes at the counter, or a nurse who smokes in the ward? It would be an absurd scene, right?  Here, while you are working you are exactly like an employee on duty and a nurse on the ward. The cigarette, if you really can’t do without it, you will smoke it when you are finished, on the way home.

Same goes for drinking (alcohol). While you work, whatever work you are doing is not being done. Imagine if it is appropriate to have a beer or a glass of wine while you are caring for a child, and your attention must always be on top.

2 Always be on the phone

Hey, I’m not paying you to mind your own business . This sentence can be told to you by the mother of the child you babysat as well as any employer. Remember that in any job it is your time that is paid, and the time you paid must be dedicated to the work. This is one of the useful tips for babysitters that we care about the most because it impacts on safety. It’s easy: if you stay on the phone, you lose focus and stop controlling the baby. It only takes a moment, especially with pre-school children, and anything can happen.

By the way, even if nothing happens, it is not pleasant that the baby says about you the babysitter has been on the phone all day . Even if it’s not, and you made him wait five minutes to play or eat because he’s busy on the phone, those five minutes will turn into an hour. And you won’t make a good impression on it.

3 Arrive late

The golden rule of any job you do. And one of the most important babysitter useful tips. The baby’s dad and mom called you because they have to go to the theater, tickets bought for a century. You show up half an hour late and find them very nervous, to say the least. It goes without saying that you have already lost your job by the end of the first quarter of an hour. Equally exhausting, for a mother, is the delay with which you arrive every morning, those five or ten minutes that are enough for her to arrive late for work.

Punctuality is synonymous with reliability and a sense of responsibility, qualities that are among the main qualities of a good babysitter. If you are unable to meet a schedule, you will hardly be able to keep your job (indeed, most jobs).

The other 7 mistakes that a babysitter must absolutely avoid

We now come to the “typical mistakes of the trade”. Behaviors that a babysitter must absolutely avoid if she wants to have a good relationship with the child and with the family and a lasting working relationship.

4 Get people to come home

Whether it’s your dad, your mom, your best friend or your boyfriend, you don’t have to invite them to the home of the family you work for. Remember: it’s not your home, it’s your place of work. Would you take mom to school with you if you were a teacher? Put yourself in the shoes of a parent who learns that a stranger has entered his home, has taken a seat on the sofa, has spent time – neither requested nor authorized – with his child. At worst, if absolutely necessary, warn the family that you will receive a visit, and explain the reasons. Never act secretly, the children, as it should be, when their parents come home they tell everything! Even less, do not let anyone in who has not been previously authorized by their parents, for any reason.

5 Don’t enforce the rules

But mom lets me do it! Any self-respecting child will try, sooner or later. To snatch an extra hour of video games or after-dinner chocolate. You resist: one of the tasks of a good babysitter is to enforce the rules, as a very experienced professional tells us in a post we dedicated to advice on  how to be a perfect babysitter . The secret is to remain firm, inflexible but with sweetness: one of the babysitter’s tasks is to support parents in the educational process, not to please the child to avoid fuss and whims.

The secret to doing well: follow the instructions for the baby sitter that the family has prepared for you to the letter . And if he hasn’t prepared them, ask him to do it!

6 Imposing new rules

The rules are those imposed by the family. You don’t have to introduce new and different, additional ones. The child will no longer understand anything and his parents will be very, very annoyed. Of course, imposing discipline is part of your job, as we saw above, but before you invent new ways to enforce it (like a new punishment, sitting for five minutes in your bedroom, or staying silent) share them with your family. We have seen consistency and firmness are fundamental. But equally important is not to frighten or worse traumatize the child. Good, excellent communication with the family proves crucial, again. 

7 Share on social media

The baby you care for may be the cutest in the world, but don’t photograph him. Much less post photos of him, with you or without you, on Instagram or Facebook. Also avoid publishing your location or posting the address where you find (which is the home of the child). If you are wondering why all these precautions should be used, read this note from Save the Children on how to use social media safely . If, on the other hand, you are wondering why we are including this among the useful tips for babysitters, remember that it is forbidden by law to publish photos of minors on any media, even on social media, without the prior consent of their parents.

8 Keeping and showing inappropriate behavior

Assume that children learn everything (especially what they shouldn’t) in ten seconds flat. Among the useful tips for babysitters, the one relating to language and behavior control cannot be missing. Speak well, don’t swear, and don’t indulge in vulgar and rude behavior. For example, if someone doesn’t give you the right of way over the strips, don’t send them shouting to that country, even if you’re right about it.

The advice to pay attention to language and behavior is valid for you but also for everything you will show the child. If a mom tells you Feel free to use the computer and see what you want , keep in mind that your choice must – necessarily – fall on a cartoon or series suitable for children. Avoid horror, zombie, movies full of bad words or violence and so on.

9 Make as if you were in your home

Feel at home is a kind phrase said by a parent who opens the door for you to take care of their baby. A kind phrase that implies some common sense on your part. So: if you’re hungry, eat something, but don’t empty the fridge, don’t finish the tub of ice cream or cola. If you want to rest for a moment while the children are asleep, lean on the sofa, do not stretch out on the bed. Do not open closets and drawers, do not try on a dress you like, do not rummage around, do not use the towels of the hosts, if anything, ask for one for yourself. In short, be respectful of someone else’s private environment. Remember: even if you are told you right at home , do not like at home.

10 Leave the chaos behind you

Put yourself in the shoes of a mom who comes back after a day’s work and finds the bedroom floor covered with toys, a dirty and messy kitchen, baby’s spare clothes all over the place. He opens the door and finds himself in front of a house on which a tropical cyclone seems to have hit. What do you think it does? Primo is in despair; second fixes; third, consider never calling yourself again.

Keeping your baby’s things in order and leaving clean environments after your passage is certainly a task that touches you. We are not talking about cleaning or ironing, activities that are not up to you unless there are specific agreements, but of leaving (at least) the house as you found it.