Babysitter Job Description - Skills, Duties and Responsibilities
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What Does a Babysitter Do?
A babysitter, also sometimes known as a nanny or childminder, is a person who looks after newborns, toddlers, infants and young children, usually within a home setting.
But what it does mean to be a babysitter?
Essentially, the role of a babysitter is to assist parents or guardians by looking after a child or children temporarily while the parents or guardians are away from home.
This doesn’t just mean preparing bottles and changing nappies, however. The job of a babysitter is an all-round role that involves recognizing and attending to all of the various needs of the child or children being cared for. This includes watching over them as they sleep, playing games with them and inventing activities, making their food and helping them get washed and dressed. With older children, a babysitter’s duties may also include helping with homework, taking them to and picking them up from preschool or school and accompanying them to after-school activities (e.g. sports, music or dance lessons). Where transporting children is part of a babysitter’s duties, they may need to have their own car.
The job of a babysitter also requires an ability to respond promptly and appropriately to emergency situations since, even with the greatest possible care and attention, problems can still occur. Babysitters therefore need to be ready to deal with emergencies in order to ensure the well-being and safety of the children in their care. This means home safety skills and a knowledge of pediatric first aid are essential requirements. But a babysitter also needs a wide range of other skills, including creativity, patience, sense of responsibility, communication skills and empathy. Babysitters should be able to communicate naturally with the child or children in their care, but equally important is an ability to interact in a constructive manner with the parents and follow their rules and instructions.
The work of a babysitter takes place mostly within the home of the family requesting the service. Working hours vary depending on the needs of the individual family. Often, babysitters are required for just a few hours a day, for example in the late afternoon or early evening, to pick children up from school or preschool and look after them until their parents return home from work. For this reason, babysitters are very often hired on a part-time basis.
Other common names for this position: Nanny
Babysitter: Duties and Responsibilities
Job adverts for babysitters usually indicate the following main responsibilities:
- Looking after and supervising children
- Organizing games and activities
- Helping children get washed and changed
- Preparing meals and snacks and helping children with eating, where necessary
- Recognizing the needs of children and acting to meet them
- Accompanying children to their various activities and commitments (preschool/school, sports, courses)
How to Become a Babysitter: Education and Requirements
There are no set requirements for working as a babysitter. However, as the job involves working with children, a knowledge of child psychology and pedagogy may be useful. For those wanting to learn more about the profession, brief training courses for babysitters and nannies are often available. These usually include some childcare training (e.g. focused on establishing a relationship with the child and dealing with parents’ expectations and house rules) as well as pediatric first aid training designed to ensure babysitters are equipped to deal with medical emergencies.
Skills and Qualifications
Babysitters should have the following skills and abilities:
- Knowledge of childcare, childhood education and healthcare
- Practical childcare skills
- Energetic, fun, creative, ability to invent games and activities
- Service-minded approach
- Reliability, patience and adaptability
Babysitter Career Objective
Working as a babysitter may be an excellent starting point for anybody wishing to acquire skills and experience for a future career in caregiving. For example, a babysitter may decide to study to become a childcare worker in a nursery or preschool or specialize in looking after and assisting disabled children. Alternatively, they may focus on education and study to become a primary school teacher or an educator or counsellor in the social and community services sector.
Top Reasons to Work as a Babysitter
One of the main reasons that people decide to work as a babysitter is that they have a natural talent and passion for childcare. Babysitting is ideal for anybody with a desire to devote their time and energy to helping young children. It particularly suits creative personalities who love playing with children and are blessed with infinite patience and a natural ability to form relationships. The fact that there are no specific requirements makes it an easy profession to get into and for this reason it is ideal for anybody without any work experience looking for their first job. Looking after children is also an excellent way of developing soft skills (e.g. communication and interpersonal skills, adaptability, sense of responsibility, sense of initiative) that can be easily transferred into other professions and working environments. Finally, as the working hours tend to be very flexible, it is usually relatively easy to find work as a babysitter that can be fit around another occupation (e.g. as a part-time job during your studies).