Babysitting has long been a way for teens to earn a few bucks and demonstrate their developing ability to assume responsibility. It is a good first work experience because it allows flexibility around school and other activities. Also, teens can start at a younger age than at most part-time jobs and the pay is often better than minimum wage.
However, it can be difficult for a teen to know how to begin, so parental involvement in the initial stages may be the difference between simply having the idea to start babysitting,and following through with a plan to turn the idea into reality.
Ways to Help
The Red Cross and other community groups often hold classes on babysitting and first aid. Taking these classes will make sure your teen is properly trained, give them confidence in their childcare skills, and will be something to point out to prospective parents.
Good, reliable babysitters are in demand in most neighborhoods with children, so the best way to get started is to just get the word out. You can help your teen build their business through word of mouth. Tell all your friends and family that your teen is beginning to watch children, and let them help spread the word. Use social networking sites for this as well.
Have your teen watch children in your home to start. Not only will they gain confidence and experience, but you will be around to give advise and help.
Young children can be very challenging. In the beginning, don’t let your teen be over-confident about the age group they can handle. It’s better that they babysit older children at first, and for just an hour or two. Make sure they can get in touch with you if they need help.
Help them put together a “Mary Poppins” bag. It may include special books, toys, and games that they can use to distract young children during difficult moments.
Brainstorm ideas for a neighborhood flyer. Your teen can pass this out in person while they knock on doors to introduce themselves. Do not escort them yourself, but if they have a friend tag along it will be easier and more fun.
Help them set a reasonable price for their babysitting services. Fees should be based on what other teens are being paid in your area. Ask your friends what they are paying, if you don’t know, or have your teen ask their friends who sit.
Have them team up with a friend. They might not make as much money, but when they are first beginning two heads are better than one. Maybe together they can even hold a small summer camp for elementary age children in your backyard.