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Babysitting Guide

Is Babysitting a Real Job?

Babysitter on the job

27 Oct 2022

 Matthew James Taylor

Written & Illustrated by
Matthew James Taylor

 Renee Irving Lee, B.Ed.

Reviewed & Edited by
Renee Irving Lee, B.Ed.

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If you’re interested in working as a babysitter, maybe you’ve heard someone make the comment that babysitting isn’t a “real” job. Or maybe you’ve read harsh comments on forums saying sitters shouldn’t make much money because it’s not a “real” job.

Is babysitting a real job? Babysitting is most definitely a real job. Sitters get paid in real money and have real work. There's absolutely no need to diminish or devalue the work of babysitting.

Why is Babysitting a Real Job?

Let’s break down what “paying real money” and “being real work” actually means.

Did you know that babysitters often get paid well above minimum wage?

Or that hiring managers often value babysitting experience when picking candidates for positions as early educators?

Another thing to consider: what would happen if you showed up an hour late for work? You could lose your job. Babysitting requires discipline, maturity and responsibility. There are a lot of other “real jobs” that are significantly less demanding.

Really, there are lots of babysitters and nannies that have college degrees. This is an area where you can advance your career through experience, education and certification. You could also advance to other related fields, like owning a home daycare or studying early childhood development.

Many sitters even do babysitting as a full-time career because it has a lot of advantages over other occupations.

How Much Does Babysitting Actually Pay?

Next time someone grinds your gears about getting a “real job”, give them this to chew on: Babysitters often make well above minimum wage.

Actually, according to one study that involved 15,000 families, babysitters make a national average of $15.71 per hour. Honestly, there aren’t many entry-level jobs out there that pay this well.

Of course, what you can actually make will depend on your qualifications, reputation, and location. For example, sitters in big cities like New York or San Francisco typically make at least $16/hour. Compare that to a place like Denver, Colorado, where sitters often make under $12/hour.

Also, having extra boosts on your resume like a related college degree can skyrocket your wages. Lots of parents want personalized care for their children, and this can include educational goals like teaching them to read well before they’re school age.

Learn how to add babysitting to your resume to stand the best chance of getting that next job.

Babysitting usually pays much better than other “real jobs” like flipping burgers or working as a shop hand in a dirty facility somewhere.

Want to know how much you're worth? Check out our babysitting rate guide.

How Hard Is Babysitting?

Babysitting can be very demanding. It can also be super easy at times. For example, if you’re just watching a toddler for an hour during nap time, it’s generally not too hard unless the child wakes up screaming.

Looking after a sick child can be more difficult, but also more rewarding. See our tips for babysitting sick kids for help with this.

If you’re trying to do more than make sure that the kids are still breathing until mum and dad come home, though, you could really show off some skills.

You might need to change diapers, get babies to sleep, feed them, interact with them, and keep them safe for several hours. Any new parent will tell you that this is a really tough job. When my kids were little, occasionally my wife and I almost lost our minds trying to keep everyone happy.

Or maybe you’ll need to keep toddlers from fighting. Or help young children with homework, or to learn how to read and write. Reading books, playing interactive games, keeping them engaged, taking them to the park, these are all tough things to pull off successfully.

So, can babysitting be hard? You bet. Read our tips for making babysitting easier and more fun for you and the kids.

See our massive list of over 200 babysitting games and activities that help make child entertainment a breeze.

And learn how to pack the ultimate babysitting pack so you have everything you need on the job.

Beyond that, you might need a license to babysit in your location. This isn’t true of everywhere, but special training is always a great asset that can help you earn a higher wage. In most areas, you can take a one- or two-day course to help you take good care of the children. This can also include emergency training, like CPR and first aid.

Accidents can happen at any time, so getting training can really increase your value.

See my recommended babysitting courses.

Does Babysitting Count as Work Experience?

Babysitting can be a great work experience to put on a resume for any subsequent job applications. Babysitting most definitely counts as quality work experience.

There are also many related jobs that you can get into with a little bit of experience with children. For example, working at a daycare. There are lots of daycares at places like gyms and military bases that look for licensed sitters as employees. This could be a great way to get consistent work hours.

Read our dedicated article that shows you how to list babysitting as work experience on your resume, in a job application, or even on your college application.

What Can I Learn from Babysitting?

If you’re going to treat babysitting as your own business, there are a ton of skills that you’ll need to learn.

For example, time management and scheduling. How well will you be able to handle 10 families with different schedules and requests? Keeping a calendar and being able to keep yourself organized is a challenging skill.

See our recommended time management apps for some invaluable help with this.

Want to know what else you can tack on to your resume?

Here are some things that you can learn from babysitting:

  • Self-motivation
  • Responsibility
  • Patience
  • Multitasking
  • Communication
  • Relationship building
  • Childhood development
  • Etc.

Honestly, there are a lot more that you can add to this list. If you want to know more about what skills you’ll learn, check out our article: 28 Skills You Can Learn from Babysitting.

For career babysitters who are serious about childcare they often have multiple babysitting qualifications to help set them apart from other sitters.

How Can I Get a Babysitting Job?

One of the best places to start is by signing up for a babysitting course. At the very least, you should try to sign up for a first aid and CPR class. You can usually sign up at a local fire station, blue cross or some other businesses in your area. Once you have this under your belt, you’ll be much more qualified.

You can also start off by babysitting the children of your friends and family. This can be a great way of getting a bit of basic experience. You’ll learn how to handle challenging situations and be able to start with confidence.

Once you’re ready for the real thing, it’s time to land your first gig. Try taking the classic route by posting an ad in the local classified or on the information board at your supermarket.

Create some beautiful babysitting flyers with our free poster tool and poster them around your local area to find sitting work.

Be sure to read out top free techniques to promote yourself as a babysitter to attract more sitting work.

A more modern approach to finding babysitting jobs is to make a profile on network sites that specialize in care (See our profile writing tips). Usually, you can create a profile as long as you’re over 14 (although you might need to do it under parental supervision - see our guide on babysitting age). This is also a great way to work your way up as a child care professional.

Create a sitter profile here on Kidsit, it's free for babysitters to join and only takes a few minutes to setup. We find local babysitting jobs that match your requirements so you don't have to search.

Advertising your babysitting services online can turn a casual job into a full-time income with lots of benefits and flexibility!

Babysitting is most definitely a “real job”. You can make good money, become certified, and hone your skills to turn babysitting into a career.

Related questions

Is Babysitting a Job to put on your Resume?

Babysitting is absolutely a job to put on your resume. Actually, it can be a sought-after work history. For example, teaching children English online is a fast-growing market, and they love it when their applicants have real-world experience in dealing with kids.

See our handy guide: How to add babysitting to your resume for detailed instructions.

How do I put Babysitting on a Job Application?

If you operated by yourself, write that you were a self-employed babysitter. Then list the skills you acquired and needed to be successful.

If you balanced a high number of families as clients, add that too. That shows a lot of responsibility.

Remember to really sell yourself on your resume, too. Babysitting is great experience, and you should show it off. Parents of the children that you have babysat before can also be great references. (See our guide to babysitting references for more info.)

If this sounds like it’s up your alley, then this website is your ultimate resource. Take some time to look through our other babysitting tips to find out how you can be the best, most well-paid babysitter in town.

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