Many of us babysat as our first part-time job when we were young. It can be a very fulfilling job for a teen, and a great way to make money. Babysitting can be a lot of fun and is a job where your payment comes not only in cash, but in the smiles and laughter of the ones in your care.
But babysitting is not something to be taken lightly. Being trusted with the health and safety of children is an extremely serious task. Although the pay does not always reflect it, babysitting is one of the most important jobs a person can have because they are caring for the children who are our future. How do you know when your teen may be ready to babysit?
Showing Responsibility at Home
When you notice your teen making responsible choices at home and anywhere else they may be, this can indicate that he or she may be ready to begin babysitting. Caring for children and being in charge of someone else’s home can lead to moments where quick decision making is required. Be sure that your teen is ready for this kind of responsibility.
Is your teen someone who others can trust? No one is perfect, but being a babysitter involves being in situations where parents are putting their complete trust in a person. Sometimes they may know the babysitter very well, and other times the babysitter has been recommended to them.
We may all remember moments where as babysitters, we helped ourselves to too many cookies from the pantry. This is typical. What is important is that your child can be trusted to treat the children well, not to steal, nor do anything irresponsible such as sneak alcohol, etc.
Even “small” issues, like texting when babysitting, can destroy a parent’s confidence in whether your child is trustworthy or not. Have a discussion with your child about what is appropriate and what is not when babysitting.
Good with Children
Does your teen love children? Then babysitting may be a perfect job for them. Even though babysitting can be seen as easy money, it should not be undertaken by someone who doesn’t like children. For a teen that loves kids and is fun to be around, babysitting is a great fit.
Is your teen confident and able to stand up to others when necessary? Hopefully they will never be in a position to need to do so while babysitting, but there is always the possibility they may need to be firm. For example, if a parent comes home drunk and has planned to give your child a ride home, how will your child react? Having the confidence to say “no thanks” and call you instead might mean the difference between life and death.
Although babysitting seems easy to some, it is a good idea to have your teen take a babysitting course before caring for someone else’s child. This will help prepare them for small things like ideas on how to keep children entertained, and major things like what to do if a child gets hurt while in their care.
Babysitting is a job that many of us look back on with fond memories. It can give teens a taste of what it will be like to work full time. It is also personally fulfilling and can be a lot of fun. If your teen expresses interest in babysitting, have a discussion with them and look for these qualities that will tell you your teen is ready to babysit.