6 Traits of a Good Babysitter

By Allie Caton on November 8, 2017

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Think you got what it takes to take care of kids? Looking for some extra money? Consider babysitting!

If you love kids and feel like you have a pretty good handle on how to take care of them, babysitting could be the perfect part-time job for you. Babysitting is not only fun but also often pays really well depending on who you are babysitting for.

However, it’s not just about gusto; you have to have the skills and traits that parents want in someone who is taking care of their kids. You also, of course, have to be someone who kids want to hang out with.

Here are some traits that kids and parents look for in a babysitter.

1. Energetic

Kids usually have boundless energy, so you need to be able to keep up with them. You need to have enough energy to keep up with them physically, mentally, and emotionally. You need to be energetic and outgoing and ready to take on whatever your kids might throw at you (sometimes literally!).

Kids want someone who is fun and outgoing rather than reserved and laid back. Make sure before you go to babysit that you are well rested and ready to go!

2. Engaged

You have to be willing to stay engaged with the kids the whole time. It can be incredibly exhausting to look after even just one kid, and you might be tempted to retreat for just a few minutes to check your texts or just take a breather, but try and resist this.

Going back to the first point, you need to draw upon your energy reserves and push through. Don’t be that awful kind of sitter that just plops the kid in front of the TV and sits back on their phone the whole time. This isn’t good for the kid, and it won’t leave a good impression of you on the parents either.

3. Flexible

Because babysitting isn’t a set 9-5 job, twists and turns can arise. The parents might be running late for pickup, they might call you last minute for a job, or they might have flimsy pay rates. No matter what, it’s best for you to stay flexible with your time and expectations.

Don’t go into a babysitting job expecting to clock in and clock out exactly on time. The more flexible you are with your schedule and expectations, the more attractive you are to parents as a babysitter. You don’t want parents to grossly overstep and take up hours of your free time, but it’s best to expect that they might be a few minutes late here and there or that plans will change last minute. After all, life is unexpected!

4. Authoritative

Babysitting isn’t all fun and games; you will indisputably have to discipline the kids you are babysitting at one point. Don’t be a pushover when it comes to discipline, or the kids will definitely take advantage of you. Kids are smart and they can be cunning — any sign of weakness they will take advantage of, so stand your ground.

Be kind and gentle, but show authority so the kid knows who is in charge. Sometimes kids see the time with a babysitter as a time where their parent’s rules can be bent. Don’t give into this. Enforce the rules of responsibility and care.

5. Prepared

Come prepared! Don’t just show up the house with no plans. Take a few moments to think of some games and activities that you can do with your kids once you are there. Bring some craft supplies or board games from home in case the kids get bored with their own toys. Bringing activities of your own is a great way to shake things up for the kids and give them the opportunity to play with some new toys for a few hours.

6. Loving

Lastly, and most importantly, you have to be loving. You have to want to take care of the kid and to make them happy. You have to be caring and sensitive and there to help the kid through whatever they may need. You need to be able to put the kid’s wishes before your own at times like a real parent would.

Kids can easily tell who loves them and who doesn’t. You don’t want to be harsh and uninterested because the kid and the parents will quickly pick up on this. Work to create a bond with the kid that draws strength from the care you have for them.

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By Allie Caton

Uloop Writer
Allie is a creative at heart. She loves to draw and fawns over comic book illustrations and animation. She hopes to be able to use the skills she has cultivated as a Communications major to bring value to the creative industry. Her goal is to one day work somewhere where she can be around creatives while utilizing her writing and illustration skills.

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