Babysitting Glossary For Caregivers

(Commonly Used Childcare Terms)

When you're just starting out as a babysitter you will come across many new words and phrases. On this page we've collected some of the more common ones along with a short explanation of what they mean. Where necessary, there are links to further information.

Address
The particular location where a family lives. Tells you where the building, apartment, or plot of land where the family you're babysitting for lives. It's also important to have in case you need to call for emergency services
Allergy
A reaction in the body caused by hypersensitivity to a usually harmless substance. An allergy may cause mild symptoms like red eyes or a runny nose or maybe as severe as anaphylaxis. Common allergies in children include peanuts, shellfish, milk, gluten, and soy
Anaphylaxis
A serious, life-threatening allergic reaction which can cause swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat. If left untreated, anaphylaxis can completely restrict a child's airway and result in death
Autism
A developmental disorder that can result in difficulty communicating or interacting socially. It may also lead to repetitive or restricted behavior or thoughts. Autism normally appears during the first three years of life, and its severity can range across a wide spectrum. No two people with autism will have exactly the same symptoms. Some autistic children may need very minimal support, while others may need very substantial support
Baby
Any child under 4 years old. Learn the secrets to caring for a baby by reading our beginner's guide: How to babysit a baby.
Baby food
Any soft food that eas easily consumed and made specifically for human babies. This does not include breast milk or infant formula. Baby food comes in a wide variety of flavors. Parents can make their own baby food, or purchase it ready-made in stores
Babysitter binder
A binder used to hold all of your babysitting documents in one place. Including a babysitting manual, a copy of your certifications and qualifications, an information page to give to parents, and any family-specific information relating to the children that you're babysitting. Read our guide: How to make the ultimate babysitting binder.
Babysitting printables
Pre-made babysitting forms and documents that you can fill out to conveniently track all of the important information related to babysitting. Parents may also use printables to leave notes for you including emergency contact information and any special instructions. Download our list of free babysitting printables.
Background check
A series of checks run by parents to confirm that babysitters are really who they say they are. Parents may ask to see identification such as a driver's license or passport, as well as proof of certification from a babysitting course or First Aid / CPR course. Most parents also follow up with references you provide to see what past employers have to say about you
Bib
A piece of fabric that is fastened around a baby's neck to keep their clothes clean while they eat.
Bottle
A container used to store liquids. For a baby, bottles are exclusively used for breast milk or formula. Older children can drink juice and other liquids from bottles. Bottles can be made of plastic or glass. A baby bottle consists of the main body, a silicone nipple, a collar or ring to fasten the nipple to the bottle, and a hygienic cover
Burp
A noise caused by air being released from he stomach through the mouth. It's a good idea to manually burp a baby by lightly tapping them on the back to release excess gas, especially before putting them down for a nap. Otherwise, they may wake up in pain from the trapped gas in their stomach
Change diaper
The act of removing the dirty diaper from a baby, cleaning the area, and then applying a fresh diaper
Chores
Routine household tasks. Things like cleaning, cooking, or tidying up. Parents may ask you to complete some chores during your babysitting shift, especially after children have gone to bed. For more details on the types of chores babysitter do read our article: Should babysitters clean.
CPR
Stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It's an emergency procedure that combines artificial ventilation (breathing) and chest compressions to preserve brain functions in someone whose heart has stopped beating. The goal is to keep oxygen entering the body and blood circulating long enough that EMS has time to arrive with a defibrillator or rush them to the hospital
Crib
A bed for babies with raised sides to keep them contained and safe from falling out of bed during sleep
CV
Stands for curriculum vitae. It includes a summary statement, a list of your work history and experience, and any special skills you have. It also lists any professional licenses or certifications, or other relevant information. Parents may ask to see your CV or resume before they will interview you for a babysitting job. The term CV is commonly used in the UK, whereas the term resume is preferred in North America. In many other places, the terms CV and resume may be used interchangeably. Learn how to create the best CV by reading our guide: How to add babysitting to your resume.
Diaper
(Also called a nappy) A type of absorbent underwear or material wrapped around a baby's bottom and legs to retain urine and feces before they are old enough to use the toilet. Diapers can either be disposable or cloth diapers. Disposable diapers go in the garbage, while cloth diapers are rinsed out, put through the washing machine, and then re-used
Entrepreneur
Someone who takes certain risks to start and run their own business to make a profit
EpiPen
An injection containing epinephrine which is used to treat allergic reactions (especially life-threatening anaphylaxis.) The injection process is automatic. You just have to jab the pen against a person's thigh and it will inject them. EpiPens are color coded for ease of use, with the needle located in the orange tip: "Blue to the sky, orange to the thigh." An EpiPen works by opening the airways in the lungs and narrowing blood vessels
First Aid
Assistance that you give to someone after they've suffered a serious injury or illness. The goal of first aid is to stabilize a person's condition, prevent the condition from getting worse, and promote recovery. It's recommended that babysitters complete a First Aid course
Formula
A type of food for infants made from cow's milk or soy protein. It's used as an alternative to breast milk
Homework
Assignments that children receive to complete at home after the school day is done. As a babysitter, you may need to help children in your care with their homework
Infant
Used to describe any child from birth to 1 year old
Kid
Another word for a child or young person
Late
Tardy, not on time. As a babysitter, you want to never be late to a job as it can greatly inconvenience parents who already have plans. Some parents may also come home later than expected when you're babysitting
Nanny insurance
A type of liability insurance specifically made for qualified nannies and babysitters who are caring for children aged 0 to 17. It provides legal protection in case of any damages to a family's home or lawsuits from the parents of the children in your care. Learn if nanny insurance is right for you by reading our article: Do babysitters and nannies nead insurance?
Newborn
Generally a baby that is less than 2 months old
Parent
A father and mother. The caregiver to a child. A parent usually refers to a biological parent, but not always. As a babysitter, parents are your employer or client that you're performing work for
Preschooler
A child who is older than a toddler but not yet old enough to attend school. Usually 4 or 5 years old
Poison Control
A number you can call for assistance if a child you're babysitting eats something that is poisonous or that you suspect is poisonous. Different kinds of chemicals require different kinds of treatments. In some cases, you'll need to induce vomiting, while in other cases that can cause even more harm. Whenever a child eats something poisonous, call your local Poison Control Center and get advice from an expert
Police check
Also called a criminal background check. This is a search run by your local police department to determine if you have been previously convicted of any crimes that you have not been pardoned for. You can obtain and provide a criminal background check to parents who potentially want to hire you to give some peace of mind
Positive Discipline
A style of discipline used in parenting and by childcare providers and schools. It focuses on positive points of behavior instead of the use of punitive measures such as time outs or spankings. For more information see our guide: How to babysit a difficult child.
Potty
A word commonly used by children instead of toilet. Potty training and toilet training are commonly used interchangeably
Qualifications
An accomplishment or quality that makes you particularly suited for a job. For babysitting, taking a babysitting course, and having First Aid or CPR training are great qualifications to mention. See our complete list: Babysitting qualifications.
Red Cross
An international humanitarian movement. It was founded to protect human health and life. They offer a number of babysitting, First Aid, and CPR courses across the globe
References
The names and contact information of previous families that you've babysat for, or other people who can give a positive impression of you to a new family that you want to babysit for. Parents will often ask for a list of references before hiring a babysitter
Resumé
See CV. Resume is the more commonly used term in North America
School-aged child
Generally refers to a child between 5 and 12 years old
Special needs
Any kind of mental or physical disability that a child may experience. It can include things such as ADHD, Autism, or conditions like cerebral palsy that may restrict a child to a wheelchair
Taxes
A mandatory contribution that must be made to the government based on your income or business profits. Babysitters may need to pay taxes on income that they earn, depending on how much they make per year. For more details see our babysitting tax guide.
Toddler
A child between 1 and 4 years old. The word comes from "to toddle", which means to walk unsteadily. Learn more in our beginners guide: How to babysit a toddler.
Wage
Monetary compensation that you receive in exchange for your babysitting services.
WWCC
Working With Children Check. A government screening process that is required for almost anyone in Australia over the age of 18 who wants to work or volunteer with kids.

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