Lots of people wonder if babysitting for free counts as community service. Community service and work experience is often needed to get into colleges or to be seriously considered by a future employer.
So, is babysitting for free considered community service? Babysitting for free is definitely a form of community service. Community service can be described as any work that is designed to help people in the community.
But not only can you give back to the community, babysitting can teach you valuable skills that are fully transferable to other occupations.
Babysitting for free is community service that also helps you.
Let’s go over the justification we have for this claim. This will let you explain your value as a volunteer to anyone that questions it.
Why Babysitting for Free Counts as Community Service
The whole idea of community service is to encourage people to help others in their community in some meaningful way. When a person volunteers to care for someone’s child and provides quality care, it has a positive impact on the child, parents, volunteer, and society as a whole.
Like any job, whether paid or not, an employee can potentially contribute in a big way. We all know of people who are lazy at work, sleep on the job, text, and just don’t apply themselves. The company suffers as a result.
If you want to make yourself valuable, you need to apply yourself. That means being proactive, trying to make improvements, and having a good work ethic. You should be able to see that your work is making a difference.
The same could be said for a volunteer babysitter. You could just sleep on the job, put the child in front of a tv and have no interaction with them. You technically are volunteering; but are you helping the community in a meaningful way? The parents may need the help to be able to work. So, in a small way, you’re allowing a parent to provide for his or her family.
But if you interact with the child, play age-appropriate games, engage in creative play, or take them outside exploring, the effect on the child would be huge.
Children are an important part of the community. When they’re stimulated and encouraged to thrive through play, they do well. Volunteer babysitters can have a major role in this.
How Does Babysitting Benefit the Community?
Strong communities are made up of strong families. Whether a family is rich or poor they could provide a high quality of life for their children. Childcare is super expensive. Some parents often have to work more than one job to help pay for childcare.
If a person can volunteer their services and provide quality childcare for a family in need, this eases the burden on parents. With less stress families can spend more quality time together and the community is positively affected.
When children are taken care of by people that care for them, they will:
- Gain confidence
- Have a higher self-esteem
- Feel secure
In most households, both parents need to work to provide for their family. When the child isn’t in their care, babysitters have a vital role to play. When they take the initiative and engage the child in play and conversation, this allows the child to not only be engaged mentally but to form emotional bonds. This likely doesn’t happen in a large daycare where it’s difficult to get one on one attention.
Parents benefit when their child is provided for this way. When their child is learning and feels well cared for, they thrive. This helps parents with their most important job; to raise productive citizens within their community.
How Does Being a Volunteer Babysitter Help the Volunteer?
Babysitting will help you to acquire life skills and knowledge. Isn’t this what colleges and prospective employers want in a candidate? Here are some specific ways that babysitting can help you:
Not only do you need to learn to organize your time so that you’re not late, you need to think of activities to plan to keep the kids engaged. Depending on the age, one or two activities could be totally enough. But if they’re very young, their short attention spans might make it necessary to have several things planned.
It’s absolutely essential to understand your role and make the boundaries clear to the child. It doesn’t have to be a power struggle. Kids adapt well to structure and rules. It’s likely that the parent will have input too. However, if the kids are old enough, they could possibly help in planning activities.
You will be their bold leader. Dress them up in minion costumes for greater effect.
Learn how you can learn leadership skills while babysitting.
Working with and understanding the parents and children is a challenge in itself. That’s part of the joy of getting along with people. The parents may have certain rules that are very different from how you were raised.
You’re not there to take over as Mom or Dad and create your own rules. You’re there to support the parents and keep things running while they’re away.
Understanding how children think depending on their developmental stage is crucial for good communication. Why does a 3-year-old need a heads up when you are about to leave a park or change activity? Why would an older child be more open to talking about their day while distracted by another activity?
When you understand your role as parent’s helper, you’ll also understand that there are a lot of different ways to raise a child. You’ll need to learn how to take care of the children within their guidelines.
You’d be surprised at how many adults find this to be really challenging in the workplace. Getting along with your boss and co-workers ain’t easy, but teamwork makes the dream work.
Ultimately, being a good babysitter will help you learn how to work well with others.
Some people struggle with creativity, whereas others can come up with a million exciting ideas at the drop of a hat. Whether or not you’re creative now, you’ll be able to develop this skill as a babysitter.
If you're just starting out, you might have trouble coming up with engaging entertainment ideas, see our 200+ kids games and activities to find heaps of things that kids of all ages will love.
It’s likely that if you’re volunteering to watch someone’s children for free, the parents may not be expecting a lot from you. But if you show up with a good work ethic, this could really help you out in the future.
Planning what to do each time you’re there and sticking with it even when the parents are not there to look over your shoulder is a great habit. Nobody wants to have to babysit the babysitter, and it’s awesome if you can get a reference for your resume that will say that you’re a hard worker.
Read our guide: How to add babysitting to your resume and learn how to make the most of your child care experience.
Although babysitting for free absolutely counts as community service, the actual value of your service will depend on you. If you really want to make your effort worth something, you should give it your best.
Like with most volunteering, it’s not just the people that you help that benefit. You can treat this as some really solid training that can help you succeed in the future. The skills like time management, leadership, creativity, interpersonal ability and work ethic will stick with you for a long time.
Even if you’re not being paid to babysit, you’re doing something that really counts.
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- Matthew Taylor, Kidsit Founder