Getting hired is one thing. Getting hired over and over again is quite another. What does it to be a great babysitter? What can you do to become a parent’s “go-to” babysitter?
We asked 6 moms what sets a great babysitter apart. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Positive reviews (from the critics who matter most!). “The real bottom line is the feedback from the boys,” says Kelli Cochran-West. Moms are happy when their kids are happy. Yes, you’re there to make sure the house doesn’t burn down, but you’re also there to make sure the kids have a good time when their parents are away. Don’t know what to do? We’ve got a list of ten activities you can do with kids when you’re babysitting.
2. Enthusiasm. “My favorite babysitters are the ones who say, ‘I’m exhausted, it’s a lot of work to keep up with your son.’ That tells me she or he played with him and did their best to keep up with a 4 yr old,” shares Shari McGuire. “Our son knows who plays with him most and gets more excited for the active babysitters to come over than the not so active ones.”
3. Availability. If you’re never actually around to babysit, you’re probably not going to become someone’s regular babysitter. “I have received referrals [for babysitters],” says Jeanine Sipple Dougherty, “but they all seem to be involved in so many school activities, that it leaves them practically unavailable.” Of course you’re going to be busy, but what’s important is that you clearly communicate when you’re generally available and when you’re not. (You can do this easily via your SittingAround babysitting calendar.)
4. Manners. “Show interest in not only our children but in holding a polite and adult conversation with us,” says Carrie E. Carroll. Being able to communicate well with the parents shows them your manners — manners which they hope you’ll model for their kids. Plus, it lets parents know you’re comfortable discussing issues or concerns they (or you) may have.
5. Punctuality. Be there when you say you’ll be there. They’re counting on you. Running late? It happens. Make sure you call and let the parents know you’ll be late — and don’t make it a habit. Also, don’t be late to the interview. “A prospective babysitter should report to the interview in a punctual manner. If a babysitter is late to an interview, [it tells me] she will be late to work as well,” says Candi Wingate.
6. Safety. Tracy Gibb says, “THE most important thing for me is that my son is safe. I look for babysitters with CPR training.” Beyond training, showing an awareness of and concern for safety is important, too. “I pay attention to babysitters that ask safety questions such as, ‘Where are your emergency phone numbers?’ and ‘How can I reach you in an emergency?’,” says Gibb.