Kidsit Founder, Editor, Illustrator, and father of three beautiful kids in Sydney, Australia.
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 kid 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 kid 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.
Things like how many kids do you have to watch, the personality type of the kids, how the kid was raised, and your personality type are factors that determine how easy your babysitting job will be. Here are some examples:
If you have multiple kids 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 kids could do. Thinking ahead so that multiple kids 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 kids 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 bad behavior. For example, some kids 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 kid 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 kids. 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.
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.
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 kid. 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 kid will be excited about what’s to come. Or if you use a form of punishment for bad 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).
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 kids and how to best create a good environment for them it’s just a matter of being consistent. It will get easier for you.
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 kids. 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 kid 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 kid 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.
See our complete list of babysitting tips.
Written & Illustrated by:
Kidsit Founder, Editor, Illustrator, and father of three beautiful kids in Sydney, Australia.
Published: 1 December 2018
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Care.com is the largest and most recognised marketplace for caregivers online. We encourage you to sign up and advertise your babysitting services to their huge audience of active families.
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