My Tips & Tricks to Being a Successful Babysitter

Picture this: you’re standing in a kitchen, your laptop on the counter at 10%. You hear your baby cousin snoring on the baby monitor on full volume sitting right next to your computer. There’s a pot of water boiling on the stove while your cousin finds every little distraction from doing her homework, even after you told her a million times to focus. This, my dear reader, is what I am doing right now as I type this. 

    After we all found out about sticking around at home after spring break ended, I scrambled to find somewhere to work, since the YMCA I lifeguard at closed down as part of the Illinois stay-at-home order. I thought, “Well, my fabulous aunt has kiddos. Maybe I can babysit for her!” My aunt works at one of the nursing homes in town, so I figured she needed all the help she could get right now. Luckily, I was just the help she needed. 

    So, every day at 10 a.m I drive into my aunt’s house, where I am greeted by little Quincy, running around in his bouncer, screaming about who-knows-what, and Amelia, sitting at the table on her Zoom class (side note: she’s the one finding distractions). I make sure everyone is well fed at lunch time and snoozing softly during nap time, all while trying to finish my classwork!

Below is a list of things that I have learned while babysitting my cousins for the past month that may help you if you so desire to seek out a babysitting job!


1. Know when to put your foot down

This is first and foremost! Don’t worry about the kids hating you; if anything, they’ll love you even more!


2. Pay attention to everything

Be sure you pay special attention to anything that you put on the stove or in the oven, in case you let something boil over or burn (heads up: burnt chicken nuggets are NOT good).


girls play with blocks with babies Marisa Howenstine

3. Be creative when containing the children

If you need to keep non-walking children contained for a while and don’t have a baby gate accessible, you can use two chairs back-to-back and another chair supporting the other two to prevent escape.


4. The Baby Shark song is GOLD

The Baby Shark song, while annoying, can keep a child occupied for quite a while. Here’s the link to the video I use to keep my little one busy while on WebEx


5. Be Patient

Be sure to keep your patience while helping older ones with math homework. Don’t pull a Mr. Incredible.


woman biting pencil while sitting on chair in front of computer during daytime Unsplash

6. Value Nap Time

Take advantage of nap time. If you need to complete an assignment that requires your undivided attention, this is when you should do it. If you yourself need to take a nap, this is also when you should do it.


7. The kids will try to hoodwink you

Do not trust what the kids tell you is right. If you are really unsure, then text the parents.


8. Capture the moments & cherish the memories

Most importantly, try to capture the moments in pictures or videos. If your little one starts taking his first few steps or speaking silly words, take a video! If you catch an older kiddo reading to a younger one, snap a picture!

SP Home 3 Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Sure, it probably seems like a lot, but babysitting while not at school has helped me learn quite a bit, not just about babysitting, but also that I should appreciate my parents for having to put up with me and my siblings while growing up. While I’m sad I’m not at SAU with my lovely friends and professors, I sure am happy to be able to watch my adorable cousins grow every day… while still being a college student.