Is Babysitting Considered Self-Employment?
Learn what constitutes an employee and a self-employed independent contractor and see how they relate to working as a babysitter.
When you're babysitting, there's a lot of information that you need to keep track of.
The problem is trying to keep all of it organized!
A babysitting binder is perfect to keep all of your critical babysitting info together in one place.
I really like having a physical paper copy of all of my information. You could create a "digital" babysitting binder on a mobile phone or tablet, but if your battery gets completely drained then you lose access to all of your information.
What kind of things should you include in your babysitting binder? You'll want to get a large high-quality binder to hold your babysitter's manual and all of your certifications. As well as family-specific information including rules of each household, important information about each kid, emergency contact information, and more.
In this article, I'm going to show you everything you'll need to get your babysitting binder all set up.
A binder is a perfect place to store all of your babysitting documents and information.
I recommend getting at least a 1-inch thick binder that can easily hold A4 documents. If you're storing information for multiple families in a single binder, your paperwork will really start to add up fast.
I'd also suggest buying a binder that can be sealed shut with a zipper. That way you don't need to worry about all of your papers falling out or needing to hold your binder in a certain way. Particularly if you're walking or taking public transport to your babysitting jobs.
It's definitely worth paying extra to have a good quality binder. The difference between a high-quality and low-quality is usually only a few dollars, but it can make all the difference.
Otherwise, you may find you're constantly struggling with closing the binder rings, having the outer coating of your binder peel off, and other hassles.
If your binder has got a clear plastic sleeve on the front of it, you can create a printable cover to slide inside. If not, I'd find some other way to personalize your binder so that you can easily recognize it at a glance.
OK, now what do we put inside?
The first thing you want to include in your babysitter binder is your babysitter's manual. If you've completed a babysitting course to get your certification, you should already have one of these.
It's just a really handy reference in case anything happens that you don't know what to deal with. For example, if you can't get a child to go to bed.
Even babysitters with years of experience still refer back to their babysitter's manual at times.
New families that you're babysitting for may want to see qualifications like your babysitter's license and First Aid / CPR certifications.
Just make photocopies of your documents and keep extra copies in your binder. That way you don't need to carry original licenses and certificates around or remember to bring them when babysitting for a new family for the first time.
See our guide on babysitting qualifications to see which ones to include.
You want to keep a few copies of your "all about me" page inside your binder and give them out whenever you're babysitting for a new family.
It's basically your babysitting business card.
You can include information like:
It just gives parents a chance to learn a little bit more about you. Plus it's a quick reference so they know how to contact you if they need a babysitter again in the future.
Some families may even keep it on their fridge so it's always available!
You can make one page in your binder to summarize all of the important things that you need to remember and have easily available.
This is generic information that will apply to all families you babysit for.
Some good points to include are:
It's a great idea to keep a pad of sticky notes in your binder. You never know when parents might give you a piece of miscellaneous information that you need to remember.
It might be a small detail that's only applicable for one babysitting shift. So it doesn't warrant its own page in your binder. Using Post It notes is more organized than having a scrap piece of paper in your binder that you scribble miscellaneous notes on.
Each family that you babysit for should have their own little section in your binder.
You can separate your binder using divider sheets and tabs with the name of each family. That way it's easy to flip right to the information that you need.
When you start babysitting for a new family, you should arrive 5 or 10 minutes early to collect some information from parents before they leave. You can call this the "parent interview."
You might even want to email a copy to parents a couple of days in advance if they'd prefer to fill out all the information for you before you get there.
Download our printable parent details form, it's perfect for keeping family information in one place.
Every family is different in what rules they have and how they enforce them.
Some common house rules might include:
Parents should also let you know what punishments (such as a time out) they feel should be used if kids disobey the rules.
It's a good idea to review the house rules for a family each time you babysit. That way you can make sure that you're keeping yourself consistent with what the parents want.
This is a sheet of information that summarizes important information that you need to know about each child.
It includes things like:
This information will be different than your own "important information" page earlier in the binder. This information is family-specific.
It includes details such as:
It's a good idea to have some blank "meal plan" pages that you can fill in for each babysitting shift.
Parents can let you know food details before they go and you can fill in details like snacks, breakfast, lunch, or dinner that the kids will need, as applicable.
Your meal plan should also include some brief instructions on how to prepare the meal if they're more complicated than just reheating leftovers or frozen meals in the microwave.
If you're going to be ordering food, it's a good idea to get the name of a restaurant that the kids enjoy from the parents as well as their usual orders.
For each babysitting session, You may like to create a babysitting plan in advance.
This is a schedule that just gives a rough idea of what you want to do to keep the kids busy that particular day, broken down hour by hour.
That way you're way less likely to run into a situation where the kids are bored and you have no idea what to do.
Of course you can always run through our over 200 babysitting games and activities for all ages to get new entertainment ideas to try.
This is a short page that you give to parents when they get home after you're done babysitting.
It just gives them some basic information like how the day went, what the kids did and how they behaved, any crafts they made or games they played, etc.
This is kind of a miscellaneous detail that doesn't go on any particular page. But many parents will give you their WiFi password, so you should take note of it somewhere in your binder.
It can be useful if you want to play kid's shows from Netflix or Youtube while you're babysitting. Plus it will save you from using your phone data if you want to use the Internet once the kids have gone to bed.
See our list of things to do when the kids are asleep to make the most of you downtime.
You can buy really small First Aid kids that will fit easily into your binder. They include just the basics like band-aids, a pair of tweezers, and other essentials.
It's important in case kids get hurt, so you should always have one with you.
Keep your wallet in your babysitter binder. It's a good way to keep things like your driver's license and other identification all in one place.
You might also want to have some extra money in case you need to order pizza.
If the family that you're babysitting for doesn't have a landline, then you'll need someone's phone to use during emergencies.
Most babysitters nowadays have their own phones. But you can borrow one from your own parents or a parent of the child you're babysitting if not.
It's a good idea to have some storage in your binder to keep some of the items listed below organized. That way you won't just have a whole bunch of things sliding around inside your binder, and everything will be easily accessible.
A two-pocket folder is useful for storing miscellaneous paperwork. And a pencil case is a good way to store more awkwardly-shaped objects.
If it's a rainy day or kids are just really bored, coloring is an awesome way to keep them busy.
You can turn it into a contest and see which child can color the most pictures inside the lines, and give them a prize afterward.
You can buy coloring books. Or you can find lots of free coloring sheets online that you can print off and put into your binder.
It's a good idea to get a wide variety of different coloring books based on the age, gender, and interests of the kids you're watching.
Younger kids might want Paw Patrol or Frozen coloring sheets, while older kids might want to color Star Wars characters or dinosaurs.
Download our free kids coloring book and print off as many copies as you need.
Kids love coloring, but they love drawing too. It doesn't take up much extra room to add some extra printer paper or lined paper to your binder.
Plus you have something to take notes on if needed as well.
You might just want to add a journal or notepad to your binder. Then you can tear out sheets of paper as kids need them, but keep any of your personal notes organized instead of on loose sheets of paper.
Brown paper bags can be used to make several different kinds of crafts. Plus they're light, compact, and easy to transport.
Get kids that you're babysitting to make puppets out of brown puppet bags and then they can use them to put on a puppet show!
Check out our kids craft activities for other awesome entertainment ideas that kids love.
Sticker books are another way to keep kids entertained if they're sick of coloring or drawing.
You can buy sticker books with their favorite Disney or cartoon characters for a couple of Dollars and it's often enough to keep them busy for an hour or two.
It's a good idea to have a pencil case with several different pens and pencils. As well as pencil crayons, markers, and crayons.
The family you're babysitting for will probably have their own stuff at their house, but it's a good idea to bring some of your own just in case.
You can get little action figures and other small toys cheaply from the Dollar Store and give them out to kids as rewards for good behavior.
Playing cards and bubbles are also a couple of fun ways to keep kids entertained for a few hours.
Throw in some rulers and stencils to make drawing more fun as well.
Reinforce good behavior by giving kids rewards!
You can load up on stickers that say things like "great job!" or even just gold stars.
You can even buy little "good attitude awards" and other certificates to give to kids who are well behaved.
Some babysitters have a "treasure box" with inexpensive little toys or other rewards that kids get to pick from if they're well-behaved.
Decide what books you should bring with you based upon the age of the kids you're watching.
Older kids may just read by themselves which gives you a bit of quiet time. Younger kids will need you to read to them.
Either way, it's more educational and engaging than simply sitting them in front of the television.
See our recommended kids books for babysitters then try a fun follow-on activity to keep them entertained for hours.
Have a little zipper section in your binder where you can store other random items you might need.
Stuff like lip balm, hair ties, hand sanitizer, a phone charger, and gum.
Sometimes you may need to babysit kids for several days if parents need to go out of town for a funeral or family event, or even just to take a vacation by themselves.
If that's the case, be sure to get a full travel itinerary for the parents.
That includes things like:
If you can't fit everything that you need in a binder, you may want to get a babysitting bag. You can put your binder into your bag, plus lots of other items as well.
You can use a designated backpack, handbag, or fabric shopping bag as your babysitting bag. That way you won't need to constantly empty out your school backpack and fill it with babysitting materials, or vice versa.
It's a good way to store larger objects like a more comprehensive First Aid kit, or even just a book for yourself to read after the kids go to bed. You'll also need a bag if you want to bring any larger craft materials like kinetic sand, or for bringing your own special food.
If you need to carry much more than a stack of papers and a pencil case worth of larger items, then a babysitting bag is the way to go.
Refer to our article: What do bring on a babysitting job for more details.
Lastly, if you're buying stationary and other items to use on the job then...
Keep the recipts!
You can claim these purchases on your tax return to lower the taxes you need to pay. Learn more about which items can be claimed by reading this article: Babysitting expenses tax guide.
Learn what constitutes an employee and a self-employed independent contractor and see how they relate to working as a babysitter.
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