I've been a babysitter for five years now, with over ten different places I have worked, and every time I walk into a new job I feel completely unprepared. Each set of kids are different which makes each job unpredictable. But I have picked up some tips along the way, so here they are:
1. Pray a lot.
I try to use my drive to work to pray. I am not a naturally patient person, so I usually pray for a lot of patience, that I would be a good influence on the kids, and that they would react well to my authority. It's hard for a lot of kids to have someone different come in and be in charge, so I pray extra for them, knowing it's not going to be easy for them.
2. Cultivate genuine love for the kids.
I have walked into jobs before where there are 10 kids I'm helping watch and I don't like any of them, but choosing to love them despite not liking them makes a world of difference. You can't change how the kids act necessarily, but you can change how you react to it. Choosing to like them to doesn't hurt either. ;)
3. Get down on the floor.
Kids like to be played with. I personally love sitting on the couch and watching kids play, but they do well with adult interaction. Sit down, play with the toys, let them knock down block towers you build. It's really fun, trust me.
Don't let your focus get off the kids for to long. Phones, books, movies, they're all fun, but even if it's a pretty casual babysitting job, it's a good idea to just leave your phone in your purse (With the ringer on so parents can contact you) and focus on the kids.
5. Don't take it personally.
My mom told me this and it has been the number one biggest help in my babysitting career. If you work enough babysitting jobs, you'll hear a lot of stuff (i.e. I hate you, you're mean, go away) none of it fun to hear, but you don't need to take it personally. More often then not, kids are just upset that they're parents are gone, and are taking it out on you. Choosing each time a kid acts out to not take it personally but it just deal with the issue helps way more than getting flustered.
6. Be willing to work (and play) hard.
When I go into a job, I try to let the kids have as much fun as possible. I'm here for only a short part of their day, and I want them to look forward to coming back. Parents may not always have the energy to play tag with their kids after a long day of work, so I try to do it. I don't always feel like showing kids how I can do a cartwheel (Which is still lopsided, but I guess that's beside the point), but I never regret it when I see how happy they are. So go the extra mile, read a book when your voice is tired, iron 20 pearler beads and get burns, play hide and seek for an hour. You'll enjoy the memories.
Bonus tip: Keep track of funny things kids say. I have started doing this recently and it is the best!
I may not be a world-class babysitter, but I do love working with kids and I hope these tips help.
What's your favorite thing a kid has said to you? Comment below and I'll tell you my favorite kid quote from this week.