Many people want some quick cash and immediately think of an easy gig like babysitting. Sitting around playing games, watching some TV, and reading a book seems like an easy way to make some cold hard cash. But is that all there is to babysitting?
Is babysitting an easy job? Babysitting can be an easy job if you’re taking care of a sleeping child, or one that is watching a movie. If you are hired to interact with the children for a period of time, it’s not as easy, but most days will be somewhere in the middle; not super easy and not super difficult.
The truth is that whether or not babysitting is easy depends a lot on you. The child might be challenging and demanding but that behavior can be improved quickly under your care. Let’s talk about some things that you could do to make your babysitting experience an easier one.
What Makes Babysitting Easy?
Things like how many children you have to watch, how they were raised and everyone’s personality type, are factors that determine how easy your babysitting job will be. Here are some examples:
If you have multiple children to care for it can be a challenge to keep them all happy at the same time. A 2-year-old and a 5-year-old have different interests and capabilities. Craft time would have to be changed a bit. The younger child couldn’t use scissors or small beads, but the older one could. This might cause a fight because of the “injustice” of it all.
You might have to come up with crafts or games that both children could do together. Thinking ahead so that multiple children could be engaged in an activity could make your job a bit more challenging.
See our 200+ babysitting activities to find the perfect games to keep kids of all ages engaged.
Or try one of our recommended kids books that are perfect to take on babysitting jobs, they have exciting follow-on activities that kids love and parents will think you're amazing.
The personality type and upbringing of the child factor into having an easier time babysitting as well.
There are many similarities in personality when you group kids together by age. Two-year-olds start showing the desire for independence and dependence at the flip of a switch. They’re more prone to tantrums at this age, too.
Read our essential guide: How to babysit difficult children for helpful strategies for dealing with tantrums.
4-year-olds tend to be very independent. They have more control over their emotions.
The child’s upbringing affects their personality, too. If the parents don’t have consistent rules or don’t discipline to curb unwanted behavior, you will probably have a more challenging child on your hands.
The amazing thing is that children learn quickly what behavior is acceptable depending on who’s around. You can set the tone for what is acceptable under your care. The parents will have some rules too. But if they tolerate hitting, name calling, or dangerous behavior, you can enforce different rules.
Whatever form of discipline that you and the parents agree on should be consistently given for challenging behavior. For example, some children respond well to timeouts, taking away privileges, or having a reward system. Many sitters have noticed after just a few weeks of being consistent with discipline that the behavior of the children is much better.
Having a child that is respectful and follows rules for the most part definitely makes watching them easier and more enjoyable.
But some babysitters don’t really like children. They chose the job simply because they wanted money. If you don’t enjoy being around kids, getting dirty, having a somewhat noisy environment, or have low energy or patience, babysitting will likely be hard for you.
What Effect Does Having a Routine Help with Babysitting?
At first, babysitting might feel challenging until a routine with the child is established. The fear of the unknown creates anxiety in adults and children. These are some specific ways that routines help with creating a Zen environment.
- Routines eliminate power struggles
- Schedules will help you to be consistent
- Scheduled activities will give the child something to look forward to
When you establish a routine, the child knows what to expect. If the consistent rule is to have only one hour of tv watching then the child will not regularly push the boundaries and ask for more. If you always have quiet/nap time after lunch, the protests become rare. The child gets used to how things are if you are consistent.
Sometimes it’s hard as the babysitter to not cave in and give the child whatever they want. Short-term benefits do not outweigh long-term rewards. The child will quickly learn that your no doesn’t always mean no. You’re in for some serious power struggles if you’re not consistent.
A set schedule will help. You may decide on specific days to do crafts, baking, painting, swimming etc. Every morning you could go over the schedule with the child. You may want to write it out if they can read, or draw pictures to illustrate them of the plans. Or simply remind them of what’s next. If you are consistent, when he asks to paint, you could remind him after lunch we will do that.
The children will be excited about what’s to come. Or if you use a form of consequence for negative behavior, you could also remind him that if a certain behavior doesn’t stop, he will not get to go to the park this afternoon.
See how a consistent routine is vital for successfully putting kids to bed while babysitting (you'll love these tips).
Does Babysitting get Easier Over Time?
Like with most things, when you apply yourself, things get easier. Think about the first time you played a new sport or game. You probably felt overwhelmed as you were trying to figure things out. But once you learned how to do it, it was just a matter of time before it became second nature.
Babysitting is a lot like that. Once you figure out what to do with children and how to best create a good environment for them, it’s just a matter of being consistent. It will get easier for you.
Is Babysitting Fun?
Babysitting can be a lot of fun. It’s not like going to a party or anything but you get to play games, go on field trips, bake, do arts and crafts, sports, and even watch a bit of TV. The thing is that you do have to clean up after these messes. There will be meltdowns and behavioral issues at times. But if you follow the suggestions in this article it will be significantly reduced.
Many babysitters feel that their job can be easy at times and also can be hard. But on most days, it’s somewhere in between. If you establish consequences for behavior that you don’t want it will help the kid learn what’s acceptable in your care. This alone will make your job easier when you have a child who listens.
Routines are a must with children. They know what to expect and begin to look forward to things. Fewer arguments will pop up when they are familiar with the schedule. You also won’t look like such a bossy adult by constantly telling them what to do and what they can’t do. The children will know the plan if the schedule is consistent.
Babysitting will get easier over time as you master these skills. And, while that happens, you will also be able to do some really fun things with the children and get paid!
If working with kids sound like the ideal job for you then read our article: How to become a babysitter for easy steps to get started today.
If you're an absolute beginner then see this guide: How to start babysitting with no experience.
Is Babysitting a Good Job?
- You’ll make good money depending on where you live.
- You’ll get to teach kids and play with them.
- You’ll get to go on field trips.
- You will learn great qualities for future employment. (See our article on the skills you can learn while babysitting and how to add babysitting to your resume.)
What are some Babysitting Tips?
- Be responsible.
- Keep an open line of communication.
- Keep a watchful eye on the child.
- Be creative.
- Be safety conscious. (Read our article on how to be a safe babysitter for essential safety tips).
See our complete list of babysitting tips.
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