Previously we've covered the many reasons to become a babysitter, and how easy babysitting is, but today, we'll focus on the skills you learn and why these are perhaps the most useful.
These skills are not limited to babysitting work either. Most are fully transferable to other occupations.
Babysitting teaches you a wide range of skills including practical childcare techniques, business know-how, essential homemaker experience, and personal growth. These skills, when combined, can set you up for a lifetime of achievement.
Babysitting jobs are a popular alternative to childcare internships because you can learn so much and often get better pay.
Here are the main categories of skills we're going to cover:
If you're looking for babysitting skills so you can add them to your resume, then read our handy guide: How to add babysitting to your resume for our essential tips and examples.
Let's get started.
Babysitting teaches you practical childcare skills
If you are considering a career in childcare, then babysitting work is an ideal first step. You can learn many rich and varied child-related skills.
1. Safety skills
Babysitters know you can’t take your eyes off a child for even one second. Kids need constant adult supervision to keep them safe.
The world is an especially dangerous place for babies with choking hazards, sharp objects, dirt, and gaps to trap curious fingers everywhere.
When looking after children you quickly learn to be constantly aware of your surroundings and to look out for any possible danger.
The safety awareness skills you learn while babysitting will stay with you throughout your life.
Read our article on How to be a safe babysitter for essential tips when looking after children and if you're taking them to the beach, read our Kids water safety guide before you go.
Also, see our kids fire safety tips for babysitters.
Don't forget to keep yourself safe too. Read our guide on How to stay safe when babysitting for helpful advice.
2. First aid skills
Children hurt themselves all the time, so it's important to know how to deal with these situations.
You'll learn that bumps and scrapes (no matter how small) can always be helped with a neon band-aid and a touch of sympathy.
But emergencies can happen too.
It's common practice for babysitters to acquire first aid certificates before working with families, and for most parents, this is a non-negotiable requirement for the job.
You never know when your CPR skills could save someone's life.
And future employers always prefer candidates with safety training, so these skills can help your career prospects too.
3. Child development knowledge
Working with lots of children can teach you the stages of childhood development and what to expect at different ages.
You can learn to tailor your babysitting strategies to match the capabilities of children under your supervision.
These skills are useful when working with kids at any time in your future and especially if you're planning to have a family someday.
Learn more about child development in our babysitters guide to child psychology.
4. How to entertain children
With enough babysitting practice, you can have child-entertaining down to a fine art.
You can quickly become a master of playing, reading, singing, drawing, improvising, and having fun. See our huge list of 200+ babysitting games for kids if ever you're stuck for an idea.
Download our Kidsit colouring book and bring print-outs to your babysitting jobs.
Or, try out one of our recommended education and learning apps.
You can really impress parents while babysitting by bringing one of our recommended kids books for babysitters and trying out the follow-on games that are perfect to keep kids entertained.
If you're dedicated, you may also reach a higher level of entertainment ability, where the daily chores become fun games that no-one wants to miss out on.
Never underestimate the ability to see the fun in everything!
5. How to care for sick children
Children get sick a lot (particularly when attending childcare centers), so caring for them when they're not well is something you'll pick up over time.
There are lots of tactics to learn that can make a child feel more comfortable, loved, and to help them recover quicker.
You can also learn how to prevent the spread of germs and stop other people from getting sick, including yourself!
Most of these skills can be applied to children of all ages (and even adults).
See our in-depth guide to babysitting sick children for more information and to download a useful checklist.
If you fall ill, find out how sick is too sick to babysit and learn how to manage parent expectations.
6. Behavior management strategies
Helping children to understand their emotions, manage their feelings, and learn the difference between right and wrong behavior, is challenging, but it's also a rewarding experience.
These skills are both an art and a science.
There are many subtleties to learn and every family may have a slightly different set of disciplinary values they wish to uphold.
Developing these skills can teach you a lot about human psychology.
7. Dealing with tantrums
Babysitting kids who are prone to tantrums can teach you lots of skills:
- You can become more aware of other people's emotional states and how to communicate with more tact.
- You can learn to pre-empt trigger situations, and how to plan around them.
- You can learn the art of distraction (very powerful).
- And if a tantrum does occur, you can learn how to stay calm in stressful situations while remaining firm with your principles.
Read our guide: How to babysit difficult children for some helpful strategies for dealing with tantrums.
These skills are all valuable in employment, business, and dealings with people in general.
8. Conflict resolution
Children often fight with one another because they don't yet have the skills to resolve disagreements on their own.
Good babysitters know it's their job to teach these skills.
As you coach children to resolve conflicts on their own, you can learn to become a better negotiator for yourself.
This is an invaluable life-skill to master.
9. Child encouragement and motivation strategies
Babysitting is an excellent way to fine-tune your child motivation strategies.
You can learn to apply appropriate encouragement tactics to match any personality type.
You can also learn the value of:
- Explaining why things need to be done
- Building trust, and;
- Leading by example.
Learn how babysitters can nurture children to encourage and motivate them to be their best.
These learned strategies can be invaluable in your day-to-day dealings with all people.
Learn one of the most valuable child encouragement skills; how to get kids to bed while babysitting (you'll find these tricks invaluable on the job).
10. How to promote love, affection, and foster lasting friendships
Babysitters often form close ties to their work families, they can learn the importance of maintaining a loving environment where children feel safe to grow.
Watching kids learn teaches you a lot.
You can learn to become a better team player by teaching children kindness, helping them empathize with one another, and showing them how to work together.
By promoting love and kindness you create a friendlier world.
Babysitting teaches you business skills
Not only can you help kids negotiate with one another but as a babysitter, you'll get experience negotiating with other people.
You can learn to strategically aim for win-win situations where everyone is happy with the outcome.
Babysitting can teach you how to negotiate in a business setting with parents and other family members.
Good negotiation skills will help you to reach agreement on dates and pay rates for your babysitting jobs.
And negotiation skills can continue to serve you in any other occupation in the future.
See our babysitting rate guide to see how much you're worth, then read our article: How to negotiate a babysitting pay rate to learn some valuable techniques and strategies for increasing your pay.
12. Money management
Babysitters are typically responsible for managing their personal finances so there will be many opportunities to learn about money.
You can learn how to keep track of your income by maintaining written records of payments and costs. This information can help prepare for tax time.
And learn how to forecast your earnings, anticipate upcoming bills, and set weekly budgets as necessary.
Babysitting is a business that teaches you valuable money management skills. These skills can help you in all types of businesses.
Read our guide on managing your babysitting job taxes if you're just getting started.
If you enjoy meeting people and maintaining relationships then you'll love the networking that babysitting can offer.
Every new parent, family member, teacher, librarian, or doctor you meet can help grow your professional network.
Keep a record of your contacts and stay in touch.
You never know when the people you have worked with could help you later in life.
And of course, you can learn how helping others can build stronger relationships.
People who you have helped, are much more likely to help you in the future.
Your network of relationships is an asset worth investing in.
Babysitting can teach you how to work in a team environment.
Whether you're encouraging multiple kids to get their chores done, or working with parents and family members to achieve a task, you can learn how to work together.
You can play to your strengths, complement other's skills, and effectively achieve common goals.
15. Event planning
Anyone who's taken young children shopping will appreciate how much work it can be, not just the outing itself, but also the preparation required beforehand.
There are so many things to learn:
- Planning ahead: So you're ready in advance.
- Asset management: Making sure you take everything you need (or could need).
- Logistics: Ensuring nothing gets lost along the way.
- Timing: Because even the simplest things can take forever, and
- Contingency planning: Because the unexpected is a normal occurrence!
Babysitting can teach you excellent event planning skills.
See the best things to pack in your babysitting bag so you have everything you need for a smoothly running babysitting job.
When you have so many little things that need doing it makes sense to share the load by delegating appropriate tasks.
Children love to help and it gives them a chance to learn new skills too.
And nothing is more satisfying than sharing achievement.
When you learn effective delegation skills you can achieve more than you ever could alone.
17. Marketing and promotions
Running your own babysitting business is a great way to learn marketing skills.
If you are to survive and earn good money while sitting then families need to find out about your services. As a babysitter, you will have the chance to try out many different promotional ideas, particularly cheap and free methods that can get the word out without costing you more money than you make.
Check out our 8 free techniques to promote your babysitting services to give your business a push forward.
18. Leadership skills
As a babysitter, you're responsible for the children under your supervision. You'll need to take control and lead by example.
You must learn to be accountable, reliable, and fair.
You'll be in charge in many situations so you'll decide what to do, what games to play, what jobs need doing, and when.
Babysitting can help you practice leadership skills and to acquire a leader's mindset.
Read our guide to learn more about how babysitting fosters leadership skills.
Bring your new-found business skills to your next occupation or why not become your own boss and turn babysitting into a business and run it as your full-time career.
Babysitters learn valuable domestic skills
Domestic skills are not very glamorous but they're essential to daily life.
19. Cooking and food preparation
You don't have to be a master chef to be a good babysitter but learning basic food preparation skills can take you a long way.
You can learn the art of making healthy snacks in no time at all, and how to squeeze veggies into yummy dinners that children will love.
And you can have fun cooking with kids, learning recipes, and teaching them about food.
Cooking doesn't have to be a chore, you can learn how to make it a fun activity everyone can share.
Read our complete guide to food safety for babysitters.
20. Cleaning skills
No-one likes cleaning, but as a babysitter, you'll get plenty of opportunities to practice your cleaning skills.
Babies and children are messy by nature, so you'll quickly learn efficient ways to clean all kinds of spills, dirt, and mess.
And you can learn how important it is to prepare for unexpected accidents (never leave home without wipes!)
And of course, making cleaning fun is the ultimate skill to learn. Give kids rides on the vacuum cleaner, take turns doing mop-shoe moonwalking down the hallway, or have tidying-up races!
If you can turn cleaning into a game it feels a lot less like work!
Be sure to read our article on cleaning for babysitters to learn what kinds of cleaning parents typically expect and how to set realistic expectations.
21. Household organization
Babysitting can teach you how to run an efficient household.
You can learn how to keep everything organized, the importance of maintaining a shopping list, and how to keep on top of scheduled tasks.
Good homemaker skills can help you make the most of your time so there's more time for fun!
Babysitting jobs help your personal development
Working as a babysitter gives you many opportunities to learn life skills and to grow as a person.
Patience is important when coaching children, you can learn the value of planning ahead and allocating extra time for daily tasks so you never feel rushed.
Sometimes good things just take time.
And learning to be patient can help you find success in achieving your long-term goals.
Kids can be unpredictable so you may often find yourself in sticky situations where only you can find a solution.
You can learn to think on your feet, adapt to your surroundings, and exercise your creative problem-solving skills.
Thinking out of the box is a useful skill in all aspects of daily life.
24. Communication and relationship building
Babysitters meet many types of children and family members through their work and this can teach you good communication skills.
You can become more effective in working with different personalities and with people from different backgrounds.
You’ll get to practice digital, and face-to-face communication, and you'll learn the right time for each one.
Good communication skills are an essential life-skill, and babysitting can help you progress in this area in many ways.
There are always so many things to do when babysitting, you can quickly discover how to prioritise tasks and to juggle responsibilities to ensure continual forward progress.
Taking multiple children on an outing is perhaps one of the best ways to improve your multitasking skills.
Being aware of many things at once is almost a prerequisite for running your own business.
26. Time management and scheduling
When you’re booking in babysitting jobs, planning outings, and fitting tasks into a busy schedule, you can learn excellent time management skills.
You’ll know all the good productivity apps too because you’ll use them all the time.
And you can learn to appreciate being on time and to be reliable and dependable for your busy clients.
See our recommended babysitting apps for time management.
27. Self reliance
Working as a babysitter is running your own business, it teaches you to be self-reliant.
Everything is up to you.
You must become responsible for all aspects of your job if you want to succeed.
And there is a satisfaction when achieving such independence.
28. Creative skills
When working with kids there are endless opportunities to be creative.
- Invent crazy games.
- Draw and paint beautiful pictures.
- Build amazing things with blocks or lego.
- Make up silly songs.
- Stage a concert and dance or act.
- Write a kids book on scrap paper.
- Construct a cubby house from pillows and blankets.
- Exercise your creative-problem solving skills.
- And so much more.
In a world of computers, robots, and artificial intelligence, creativity is fast becoming the most valuable human trait.
Babysitting is a great way to take your creative skills to the next level.
Building skills as a babysitter is a great way to grow your confidence.
Your daily interactions with people and children expose you to a wide variety of situations to learn from.
Before long you can become a well-rounded and capable individual who's not afraid of a challenge.
You can learn who you are, what you want out of life, and you'll have the confidence to pursue your goals, whatever they are.
As a job, babysitting is one of the best ways to learn new, and valuable skills.
These skills can remain useful for the rest of your life and many are fully transferable to other occupations.
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Babysitting Secrets Revealed!
My book, Babysitting Business Secrets, is out now as an inexpensive ebook or full-color paperback. If you're serious about becoming the best babysitter you can be, or if you want to make as much money as possible, then this book is perfect for you. I reveal all my tricks and tips for first-time babysitters or experienced sitters who just want to up their game. Get your copy today!
- Matthew Taylor, Kidsit Founder