So you're babysitting and the kids have finally gone off to bed. What do you do now?
What are some things to do while babysitting after the kids are asleep? Parents will really appreciate if you clean up a bit after the children have gone to sleep. You can also take some time to eat, study, work out, send an update to parents, and more. For younger children, it's a good idea to check on them every once and a while to make sure they're okay and don't need anything.
In this article, you'll learn what things to do while babysitting after the kids are asleep. Then I'll discuss some things you should definitely NOT do.
Here are the top 10 things babysitters can do after the kids are asleep:
1. Clean Up
When you're babysitting, it's a common courtesy to leave the house looking about the same as it did when you got there.
Obviously, you can't turn the vacuum on while children are sleeping, but you can wipe things down and do some basic cleanup.
If you can make it look even cleaner, that's just bonus points that you'll score with the parents! Families really appreciate babysitters who go above and beyond and do a little bit of cleaning and tidying up.
If the children you're babysitting had a bunch of toys out, try to put them away as best as possible.
If you were doing crafts together, clean up any little pieces of paper, glitter, and other crafting materials that might be all over the kitchen table or floor.
Wash any dishes that you used to prepare dinner for the kids. Or at the very least, put them in the dishwasher if one is available. If the dishwasher is full, turn it on. If it's done washing the dishes before parents get home, you can even help by putting all of the plates, cups, and silverware back where they belong!
If there were any spills or stains while you were babysitting, you might want to put in a little extra effort to try and get them removed before the parents get home.
Altogether tidying up and doing some basic cleaning should only take you about 10 to 15 minutes to complete after the children have gone to bed.
See our article Should babysitters clean to learn about parent expectations around cleaning.
2. Eat Something
Sometimes you get so busy looking after the children when you're babysitting that you don't get a chance to eat.
Now is your chance to have some dinner.
If the family you're babysitting for left you some leftovers to heat up or said you can help yourself to anything in the fridge, feel free to whip up a quick meal for yourself.
If you brought some snacks of your own, now is a good time to start eating.
If you decide to order food to be delivered to the house, be sure to include special instructions to knock lightly and not ring the doorbell. Or better yet, just keep an eye out for a car pulling into the driveway and meet the delivery person at the door to eliminate the need for knocking or ringing entirely.
3. Study, Do Homework Or Catch Up On Work
Do you have a big biology test coming up? Plan ahead to bring your textbook to do some studying while the kids are asleep. Normally you can get in at least an hour or two of studying or cramming for an upcoming test or exam.
If you've got homework due tomorrow, now is likely the only chance that you'll have to get it done. If you came straight after school to babysitting, and you'll probably just want to go to bed as soon as you get home.
Even if it's a Friday night, it's a great idea to use your babysitting downtime to finish your homework. That way you'll have your entire weekend free for more fun activities!
If you have a day job and you're just babysitting part-time, you can use the evenings while babysitting to catch up on your work as well. Just ask the parents for their WiFi password before they leave and you can use your laptop to remotely connect and work on whatever project you need to.
4. Write Or Draw
Are you a creative person but you can never seem to find the time to devote to your passion?
Night babysitting while the children are asleep is the perfect time to catch up on your craft. Bring a notepad or a laptop and write out some poetry, or get a chapter or two of your novel completed.
If you like drawing, bring some pencils, pens, and markers and some drawing paper.
You could even be able to get away with painting if the children you watch are heavy sleepers and don't get up or need assistance much once they lay down for the night.
5. Work Out
Most workouts that you can do like yoga or pilates are quiet enough that they won't wake the kids up!
Roll up your favorite yoga mat and bring it with you when you babysit so that you can strike a few poses.
You can even watch a workout video if you have the volume muted or wear some wireless headphones.
Babysitting at night is a great time to squeeze in a fitness routine.
Just make sure there aren't any nanny cams creepily watching you while you're working up a sweat! Try to wrap up a bit earlier than you expect the parents to arrive home so they don't see you all sweaty and in your workout gear.
You get a nice long period of silence after the children have gone to bed. Why not take advantage of it to get in some meditation, if that's something you're in to? It's the perfect conditions for it where it's nice and quiet and you're very unlikely to be interrupted.
Meditation can help you relax after a stressful day or particularly challenging babysitting session!
Try it on its own, or combine it as a cool-down routine at the end of your workout.
The best part is that you don't need anything and you can meditate anywhere at any time. Just sit comfortably on the couch, floor, or a chair and take in some much-needed relaxation.
7. Send An Update To Parents
Parents love to get updates about their kids. It only takes a few seconds but it gives them so much reassurance, especially if they're still anxious about leaving their young children home with someone else.
Just send a quick text to say something like "The kids were awesome today. They're in bed now. See you soon!"
It doesn't have to be a full account of what you've done with the children while you were babysitting since you'll likely have a quiet chat with the parents for a few minutes before you leave or give them a note with some of the main points.
8. Prepare Food For The Next Day
In addition to tidying up, another way that you can really go above and beyond as a babysitter is by doing some food prep.
If parents leave you all of the ingredients and let you know what to include, you can help out by packing school lunches for the kids to take the next day. Making a sandwich is the hardest part. Then you likely just need to put some granola bars and other snacks in their bag, and maybe an apple or some other type of fruit.
Even if it's the weekend, it might be helpful to prepare them some oatmeal or porridge that they can easily heat up for breakfast in the morning.
If the family you're babysitting for doesn't want any food prep done for themselves, you could always bring some ingredients and containers and prepare some meals for yourself. You can cook up some chicken, rice, and vegetables and separate them into individual containers that you can take to school or work for lunch for the rest of the week. Just be sure to clean up any dishes afterward!
9. Check On The Kids
Especially with younger children, it's a good idea to check up on them every 30 minutes or so. Just to make sure everything is alright and that they don't need a drink of water or to use the bathroom.
Try to be as quiet as possible, and turn off any bright hallway lights to prevent waking them up. You just need to peek in for a few seconds and make sure they're still asleep.
Try not to stand over them and watch them sleep for too long. If they wake up and see a person standing and watching them, it would likely be a very frightening experience! So being stealthy is key.
10. Watch TV or Listen To Some Music (Quietly!)
Most parents are okay with babysitters watching some television after the kids have gone to bed. But it's a good idea to check with them first and make sure it's okay.
Either way, be sure to keep the volume as low as possible to avoid waking the kids. Be mindful of commercial breaks which tend to suddenly become much louder than the programming that you were watching.
If you prefer, you can always pop in some earbuds or headphones and listen to some music on your phone or iPod instead. Or take advantage of the WiFi to watch some videos on Youtube. I'd just recommend leaving one ear open so that you can hear if the kids call for you, and so that you'll know when the parents get home.
Things You Should NOT Be Doing!
Every item I discussed above are some responsible things you can do while babysitting after the kids have gone to sleep. But there are also some things you should definitely not be doing.
1. Don't Drink Alcohol, Smoke, or Do Drugs
Some babysitters might think it's okay to have a glass of red wine to relax after the kids have gone to bed or step outside for a quick cigarette. But remember that you're still on the job, even if the children are asleep.
If there's an emergency or the kids wake up, you still need to be mentally sharp, responsible, and completely capable of helping them out.
Tobacco use is becoming more and more taboo. Most parents don't allow smoking inside their home, and others frown upon it and see it as very unprofessional.
Even if you go outside to smoke, the smell of it will still be on your clothes, and will still transfer all over their furniture and home. As a smoker, you might not notice it as much, but for a non-smoker, it's very obvious.
Consider stocking up on nicotine gum or patches if you aren't sure if you'll be able to last the whole night without a cigarette.
If parents catch you drinking or doing drugs in their home, for the vast majority they will immediately terminate your relationship with them as a babysitter and might even get the police involved.
2. Don't Make The Family's Business Public
How would you feel if someone was sharing your bedroom or house all over social media? Probably not very good.
If you feel the need to take a selfie while babysitting, try to be inconspicuous as possible. Leave out any identifying features of the home, and don't have photos of the family or any similar details in the background of your pictures.
Also, avoid gossiping or saying negative things about the parents you're babysitting for, their children, or their home. Those things tend to find their way back to the people you are gossiping about, which can create an awkward situation or potentially cost you your babysitting job.
Imagine if you go to complain about the parents or children you're babysitting for and accidentally send the text to them directly instead of your best friend!
All information about your babysitting clients should be handled discreetly. If you post in babysitting forums for advice, always be sure to keep their identities private. It's especially unprofessional to screenshot and post a message that your employer sent to you.
3. Don't Have A Boyfriend or Friends Over
It might seem like fun to invite your boyfriend or a friend over to chat with while you're babysitting. After all, babysitters are always doing it in the movies!
But this is disrespectful to parents. Much like gossiping, it violates their privacy by allowing strangers into their house.
It's a liability that you're responsible for if anyone gets hurt or if anything gets damaged. If you get too loud, it might also wake the kids.
You're getting paid to do a job, not spending time with your friends. So for that reason, having people over while babysitting is a firm no for me.
4. Don't Snoop
It happens to the best of us. You wonder what all those papers on the desk are about, or what's in that big pile of opened mail next to the phone.
Maybe you want to look through all of the cupboards, or even see what the parents have got in their bedside tables.
But resist the temptation. It's morally wrong and you might get caught. Either if the children wake up and walk in on you, if the parents come home, or if you don't put things back exactly as you found them.
More and more parents are having nanny cams installed in their home if they're worried about dishonest babysitters or cleaning staff stealing from them. There's no denying it if they catch you on film!
The family that you're babysitting for trusts you and has welcomed you into their home. So don't cross privacy boundaries by snooping around. You don't need to open closets or dresser drawers unless you need something specific, like getting a towel or pajamas out for the child you're watching.
The same goes for the family's personal computer. Don't use it unless you're given permission. And even if they say it's okay to browse the web or do your homework on it after the kids have gone to bed, don't abuse that trust by snooping through all of their files or any social media accounts that they've left logged in!
5. Don't Watch Inappropriate Shows Or Videos
Babysitting isn't a good time to watch the latest horror film or 50 Shades of Grey.
If the child you're babysitting wakes up and walks out to see something scary or inappropriate on the TV, it could traumatize them. Not to mention getting you in trouble with their parents.
Keep it PG!
6. Don't Eat All Of Their Food.
When parents say to help yourself to anything in the cupboards, they don't mean all of it!
It's fine if you need a bit of a snack, or even a full meal and they've given you permission. But don't pig out and empty out their fridge, drink half a case of soda, or eat an entire family-sized bag of chips.
And it goes without saying: No drinking straight out of cartons of milk or juice! You don't think I'd need to mention this, but you might be shocked at how many babysitters would do this!
7. Don't sleep
It's not recommended to sleep on the job when you're being paid to babysit a child, however there is one time when sleeping on the job is okay. Read our guide: Should a babysitter sleep for the answer.
Babysitting is one of those rare jobs where you occasionally have downtime. When the children are asleep use this time wisely and be productive if you can.
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