Start Babysitting

Ready to start babysitting? Good for you! As in any new venture, there are lots of things to consider, but this page will help you prioritize what you need to focus on:

1. age for babysitting

2. what's considered "age appropriate"

3. babysitting rates

4. babysitting do's and dont's

5. babysitting rules

6. a babysitting checklist

7. how to get babysitting jobs

Age Appropriate Having a good idea of what types of games and activities are given the ages of the children you're sitting can be the difference in a child being able to fall asleep at night.

Age for Babysitting Many older brothers and sisters are already taking care of younger siblings at the age of 10 or 11. If you are sitting someone else's kids, however, they may want someone a little older--especially if they plan on being out of the home. A good age to start "guidance sitting" (babysitting with either a watchful parent or family friend at home) is 11 or 12. Once you've gotten some practice, which could be a year or more of day-time babysitting, sitting for short durations, or sitting for close family friends, you're probably ready for nighttime sitting with the parents gone. The key is how comfortable you are with certain ages and numbers of children. If you don't feel quite ready, a great idea is to ask the parents if another friend of yours who babysits can come over with you. You may have to split the money, but that way you'll at least have some back-up.

There is no "legal" age to babysit, though if you make enough money babysitting, you need to claim the income on your taxes. More on that under Babysitting Business.

How to Get Babysitting Jobs If you are trying to start babysitting and are at all nervous, don't worry. All you need is enthusiasm, patience and common sense (which you can glean through guidance sitting). The best way to start is with your own siblings. You must take the job of babysitting your brothers and sisters as seriously as you would other people's children. From there, use word of mouth to let other parents know that you are interested in babysitting. Start with your parents' friends, then your own friends' parents. Once you start babysitting, the jobs just keep coming. You create your reputation among parents and care-takers, and proving yourself when you first start out is the key to success.

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