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7 ways to be the best babysitter on the block

Admit it—we've *all* dreamed of becoming a member of The Baby Sitter's Club at some point or another. Getting paid to hang out with adorable kids and having an excuse to play with your fave childhood toys? Yes please! Although it may sound like a dream, once you find yourself *actually* babysitting and doing the work, you may start to think otherwise. From dealing with temper tantrums to chasing the kids around, babysitting may start to seem more dreadful than fun. No matter what your babysitting sitch may be, we've got you covered with 7 ways to be the best babysitter on the block (while keeping the job fun for you too, of course!)

1. Be prepared for *anything*

While on the job, *anything* is possible so in order to prevent any unwanted and potentially scary situations, be prepared. Bring a first aid kit, water, allergy-friendly snacks, any distractions or small toys and most importantly: make sure to have a list of emergency contacts (including the child's parents.) Should anything go wrong, by being prepared, you are now able to take charge of the situation.

2. Distractions are key 

When the kids start to get cranky, things can take a turn for the worse fast. To prevent that from happening, a simple distraction can save the day. Whether you bring a small toy you still have from when you were a kid to whip out as needed, talk to them or tell them stories or ask about an interest they have, distractions=your superpower while babysitting.

3. Let *them* decide

Kids often have a hard time hearing the word "no." Rather than being a naysayer, if there's something they do or don't want to do but won't work in a certain situation, give them other options. For example, if the kids don't want to go back inside after playing, ask them if they want to race you back to the house or want to hold your hand. They're likely to react more positively than you may expect.

4. Enforce rules 

You may have trouble setting boundaries because let's face it: who doesn't want to be the cool babysitter? There needs to be a balance between likable and strict too, though. It's super important that you check with the parents if there are any important rules they like to enforce, and that you enforce those same rules in addition to setting boundaries for yourself to keep you comfortable and safe. Remember: boundaries you set don't just have to be for the kids, but you can set boundaries for the parents too. For example, if they expect you to take care of multiple kids for too many hours, ask them if you can dial down the hours or even bring a friend to help. For a better time for everyone, make sure to set the impression that you're the one in charge (of course you should still make sure they have fun too though!)

5. Pay attention 

This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised by how quickly things can spiral out of control. To avoid this, pay super close attention to the kids while still giving them the space to play and move to their heart's content. Eliminate distractions to focus and make sure the kids are safe at all times (although tempting, save the snapping your crush for later.)

6. Be reliable 

Sometimes, the idea of getting and keeping a babysitting job can seem daunting, but when you show responsibility to the parents, it'll be much easier than it seems. Stick to your word, show up on time and try your best not to cancel last minute. Before you know it, you'll be babysitting like a pro!

7. Have fun!

The secret to getting the kids to like you? It's simple! Remembering you were a kid once too, and having fun with the job. Whether you spend time getting to know the kids or join in on their games, enjoy it! You're time as a 'sitter is *not* supposed to be a snooze-fest, but it should be exciting for you too. 

What's your best babysitting tip? Let us know by tagging us on Twitter @girlslifemag!

All GIFs via GIPHY


by Eva Mandelbaum | 8/27/2021