The Babysitting Files – Tips and Advice from “Sitter Jamie” 

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For Parents:

It is  a competitive market when it comes to getting and keeping a good sitter these days. You’ll need to make your home a comfortable place for them to be.

Pay Rate: In Central New Jersey, the starting rate for a babysitter is $10.50 an hour, and it goes up from there. Obviously, the better you like your babysitter, the more you’ll want to pay her, within reason. After all, if you are paying $10.00 an hour and the people down the street offer her $12.50, it’s quite possible that she will move on and work for them. Loyalty is a wonderful thing, but keep in mind that babysitting a quiet ten-year-old is different than babysitting a set of 18-month-old twins, so set your rates accordingly.

Be Nice & Follow These Standards: This should be standard practice, but all too often it isn’t. Simply being kind, generous, and respectful of your babysitter will go a long way to ensure the loyalty that you are looking for.

• If you have to cancel at the last minute, pay her anyway. She gave up some of her time to be committed to your needs.

• Keep some of her favorite snacks and sodas in stock. Make sure she knows that she is welcome to them.

• Send her cards of appreciation once in a while.

• Round up when the pay isn’t a whole dollar. Turn $26.50 into $30.

• Remember her birthday.

• Give her a bonus at Christmas.

• Give her tips once in a while.

• Come home on time every time.

• If you do have to be out past the time you said you would, call her
and let her know. Then pay a higher rate for the extra time.

• Teach your children to respect her.

• Have a meal prepared, or leave her money to order pizza.

• When there is a problem don’t automatically take your child’s
side. Listen carefully and then take time to think about what you
have heard.

• Give her good references. If she’s that good she’ll get the other
jobs anyway.

• Common courtesy is important at all times.

For Babysitters:

Babysitting is a great way to earn some extra money and be entrepreneurial, as well as gain responsibility and maturity. I started babysitting around the age of 9 as a mother’s helper and had a lot of fun caring for children. But often times the job is not as easy as it sounds. You have to find families who need help, transportation to your babysitting jobs, and of course you must have all the characteristics people look for in a caregiver for their children. 

• Get consent from your parents. Babysitting is a great way to earn money and have fun with children, but you need to deliberate with your parents first. Some mothers or fathers will come down on this idea with an iron fist, so how do you persuade them that you are responsible enough to take on this job? Read on to find out how.

• Select a name for your business. Be professional and make some business cards to hand out to prospective clients.

• Pursue training. Before embarking on the journey of this fun business, I would recommend taking a babysitting class. 

• Promote yourself. Post flyers and hand out your business cards. Use bright colors to get the parents’ attention. Be sure to include ages you will babysit, your phone number, and days or hours you would be available. Do not give out your address or full name yet! Some people may be looking for you for the wrong reasons! Once you have printed these items, it’s time to start advertising. Post your flyers in the neighborhood or at your school, library and so on or hand them out to neighbors. Consider creative ways to get your name known. Use blogs, cards, flyers, your logo on Halloween chocolate, etc. Don’t over-advertise; pestering clients and potential clients is not professional.

• Determine what you will charge for babysitting. Depending on your area and expertise, it may be a good idea to find what others in your area with the same level of experience are charging so you can charge the same or a similar price as them. 

• Be nice to the kids. Make them feel you are someone they can have fun with too!