How to Get a Babysitting Job

Woman giving her daughter to nanny
••• Getty Images/ONOKY - Eric Audras

Babysitting jobs aren't just for high school and college students; older adults and stay-at-home parents who want to earn extra income are also caring for kids. No matter what your age, you can use these tips to find and land a babysitting job. 

Preparing for Babysitting Work

Before you can babysit, it's a wise idea to learn basic safety and first aid as well as how to respond to common emergencies. Parents are trusting you with their most valuable possession, so you'll want to be able to let them know that you're trained and prepared for any crisis that might arise.

Learn how to handle situations such as:

  • Choking
  • Minor cuts
  • Falls and head injuries
  • Getting locked out of the house
  • A fire
  • An intruder
  • A child running off

Get certified in first aid and CPR. Doing so will not only give you a leg up to stand out from your competition but you can also charge more by bringing additional skills to the table. Parents will likely pay a premium if they know you're trained to save a life.

Some services that match parents and babysitters may require certification.

Learn about child behavior and discipline. How will you handle a kid who cries incessantly, throws a tantrum, hits you, or refuses to take a bath? What about siblings who won't stop fighting? 

Take classes. Coursework in child behavior and child psychology can arm you with strategies along with interning in a nursery school or daycare. The Red Cross offers babysitting and childcare classes both in-person and online.

Finding Babysitting Work

 There are many ways to find babysitting work, from getting referrals to networking to exploring job sites and social media. Try these approaches to find work as a babysitter: 

  • Network. Let your friends and family know you're available for babysitting. Ask your parents to tell their friends, as well. If there are families with young children in your neighborhood, hang out at the playground and introduce yourself!
  • Get a referral. Do you know someone who's graduating from school and going to college? If they have a babysitting job, ask if you can take over their clientele.
  • Check with your school. Try your guidance office or college career office for a list of babysitting jobs.
  • Job sites. Register with sites like SitterCity and Care.com. Jobs posting are specific, detailing the hourly wage and strict requirement and rules regarding things like cell phone usage, driving requirements, meal preparation, help with homework, and more.
  • Sign up with apps. As well as websites, there are apps aimed at connecting parents with babysitters, such as Bubble, Sitter, Bambino, and so on. 
  • Check bulletin boards. Look on bulletin boards in coffee shops, community centers, gyms, and the library. You might see posts looking for a babysitter. You can also consider putting up a flyer advertising your services. 
  • Find moms' groups. Seek out moms' clubs and church groups; pass out flyers or post about services on their forums.
  • Check on social media. You can also check for posts looking for babysitters on sites like NextDoor.com, Facebook.com, and so on. You can also post on these sites to let people know you're available to work as a babysitter. If you post, make sure to mention your qualifications and availability. 

Securing Babysitting Work

 Knowing where to search for babysitting jobs is just the first step.

You'll also need to make a good impression on parents during the interview process.

These interviews may feel a lot more like a conversation than a formal interview, but rest assured, parents will be assessing your know-how and confirming their impression of you during the chat. Follow these tips to ace your interview:

Be prepared: Expect parents to ask you a lot of questions that revolve around your experience (for instance, "Have you ever babysat before?") as well as how you'd handle various situations (for instance, "How would you deal with our child during a temper tantrum?") Parents may also check if you have mastered the safety basics, inquiring if you know how to use a fire extinguisher or stop bleeding. 

Have a resume: Show up to your interview with a copy of your resume. Along with detailing your experience babysitting, you can share other experience working with kids (such as time as a camp counselor, volunteering to read aloud to children at the library, etc.) Plus, you can list any certifications you have. 

Be professional: No need to show up to your interview in a suit! But do dress cleanly and neatly, and behave in a professional manner. As well as being prepared to ask interviewers' questions, ask questions of your own. You might ask about the child's interests or the parents' preferences when it comes to serving snacks, and so on.

Asking questions like this will help parents feel confident that you know how to interact with children and know how to organize your time while babysitting. 

Check out the family before you accept a job: Ask for references, including people who have worked for the family in the past. Suggest meeting at a library or playground at first—the children will be more at ease and you can get to know the family on neutral territory.

How to Succeed as a Babysitter 

 If you're looking to babysit frequently, it's important to make a good impression. Babysitters frequently succeed through word of mouth. Follow these strategies on the job—and remember, you can always let parents know that you're eager for more clients, and ask them to refer you to their parent friends. 

  • Plan activities: Let parents know how you intend to entertain the kids with activities appropriate for their age. Check sites like Zero to Three and Care.com for ideas. 
  • Be clear on instructions: Some parents may want you to prepare a special dinner or text every few hours with an update. Ask parents for their expectations. As well, be prepared for emergencies: Know who to call if something goes wrong, get details on the children's doctors, and so on. 
  • Check in, show up, and follow through: Once you snag one babysitting job, turn the parents into repeat clients by demonstrating your professionalism. Call or text beforehand to make sure they still need you at the specified time. Arrive on time, even a few minutes early, to give parents time to walk you through any details and instructions. And lastly, carry out their wishes—whether that's no snacking after dinner or having the kids in bed by nine o'clock.