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. Here are some tips for finding a babysitting job.

Preparing for Babysitting Work

Learn basic safety and first aid as well as how to respond to common emergencies. Parents are trusting you with their most valuable possession--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--this 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.

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? Coursework in child behavior and child psychology can arm you with strategies along with interning in a nursery school or daycare.

Finding Babysitting Work

  • 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, inquire 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. 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.
  • Check bulletin boards. Look on bulletin boards in coffee shops, community centers, gyms and the library.
  • Find moms' groups. Seek out mom's clubs and church groups; pass out flyers or post about services on their forums.

Securing Babysitting Work

  • Be prepared: Answer questions that will impress parents and win their confidence. Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher? Stop bleeding? Deal with a screaming baby?
  • 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 for ideas.
  • 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 9.
  • 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.