How to become a babysitter
Babysitting can be a great way to earn some extra income, but there are several important steps to consider before you become a babysitter. You’re asking parents to trust you with their precious little ones after all, so it’s only right they should expect you to take the role seriously. That’s not to say you can’t have fun once you’re there (most children will insist on it, in fact) but it’s essential you provide parents with the right reassurances before you take on babysitting jobs.
How do I become a babysitter?
If you’re already in a professional childcare role, or have worked with children in the past, babysitting can be a fantastic way to top up your earnings. It offers flexible work that fits around other commitments, and there’s plenty of demand for good sitters. Yes, many parents turn to friends and family in the first instance for childcare, but reliable local babysitters are still a godsend for busy families.
Whether you’re looking for occasional weekend babysitting jobs or are planning to go pro and become a super-sitter, the advice below will help you prepare.
If you’re looking after someone else’s child, it’s essential you have the knowledge, skills and confidence to know what to do in an emergency.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely catastrophe will strike, but minor mishaps and sudden ailments are altogether more likely. Parents need the reassurance that you’ll know how to react if little Tommy hurtles into a table mid-game, or baby Freya wakes up with a funny cough.
If you’ve undertaken first aid training as part of your childcare experience, make that clear when you’re looking for babysitting jobs. The Red Cross also offers a range of first aid courses that are worth looking into.
The right paperwork
The Government’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. If you’re applying for a role in childcare, most employers require an appropriate DBS certificate, and savvy parents quite rightly expect them from sitters too.
If you babysit regularly, it’s also sensible to have public liability insurance to cover you in the unlikely event of any accidental damage or injury while you’re babysitting. Specialist firms such as Morton Michael can help with this.
Qualifications and experience
Baby sitters in the UK are not required to have set qualifications, but many training bodies and learning institutions offer babysitting certificates. Typically, these entry-level qualifications are equivalent to Level 1 or 2 NVQ/City and Guilds. More experienced childcare professionals tend to have a minimum qualification of at least Level 3, so if you’re going to study, consider what’s best for the type and volume of work you want to take on.
What is essential for professional baby sitters, however, is well-evidenced experience of working with children. Baby sitters registered with Sitters all need a minimum of two years’ childcare experience, for example, and many of them have much more.
We all know how important recommendations are when it comes to making decisions. In today’s age, most of us won’t even buy a hairdryer without reading endless online reviews, so when it comes to childcare, excellent references are understandably essential. Always check that your referees are happy to be contacted in person by prospective childcare agencies or parents directly.
Set your rates
How much you charge for babysitting mostly depends on several factors, including the area you live in and your level of experience. Do your homework to find out what other local babysitters charge, and consider what you’re happy to accept given the work, the age of the children and the distance you’re likely to travel.
Find babysitting jobs near me
So your paperwork’s sorted, the CV’s looking good and your references are ready. But how do you find babysitting jobs near you. Ad hoc weekend babysitting jobs for friends and family might be easy to come by, but if you’re serious about finding regular work, you need to let people know about it.
You can try advertising your services with online communities such as Netmums or Gumtree or alternatively, register with an online service such as Sitters. They’ll do the hard work for you, and match you with local families trying to find a babysitter.
Once you’ve lined up that babysitting job, remember that a little planning goes a long way – especially if you want to be invited back!
There may be occasions when you arrive to find the children tucked up and the kettle on, but in many cases, you’ll be at the centre of the evening’s entertainment. Arrive armed with ideas for activities – some Sitters' babysitters even bring their own toys and games – and of course, talk to the children themselves to find out what will make the evening fun for them (within reason!)
Make sure you’re aware of the house rules too. When you’re earnestly told later on that ‘mummy always lets me eat Haribo at bedtime’ or ‘I always stay up until midnight and play Minecraft’, it’s useful to be reassured that your response is the same one Mum would give!
How to become a registered babysitter with Sitters
If you have exemplary references and at least 2 years' professional childcare experience, you can make it easier to find babysitting jobs near you by registering with Sitters.
As the UK’s biggest online babysitting service, Sitters looks for knowledgeable childcarers who can demonstrate a long-term commitment to childcare and babysitting. Potential babysitters are vetted through a comprehensive selection process, which includes personally interviewing every potential babysitter.
Hayley Higson, Sitters Recruitment Manager, explains: “In addition to qualifications and childcare experience, I am also looking for babysitters who are caring – people that you warm to! I also want babysitters who are fun, enthusiastic and enjoy spending time with children. At the end of the day, I always consider if I would be happy leaving my own child with the potential babysitter”.
The Sitters' vetting procedure includes:
- A detailed online application form
- An interview with one of our experienced Recruitment Team
- Cross-checking of all paperwork
- Contacting previous childcare employers to verify references
The requirements to become a Sitters' babysitter
Sitters' babysitters are recruited from childcare and other caring professions, and have at least two years' professional childcare experience.
Childcarers might be OFSTED Registered Childminders, qualified Nannies or Nursery Nurses, as well as Primary School Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Paediatric Nurses, or some other childcare profession.
Every registered Sitters' babysitter must:
- Complete a detailed application form
- Pass an interview with a member of the Sitters' recruitment team
- Have at least two years' professional childcare experience
- Provide at least two childcare employment references that are checked and verified
- Provide copies of DBS certificates and childcare qualifications
- Provide photo ID and proof of address
- Photos will be used for a Sitters' ID card and must be shown to parents on every occasion
- Agree to the Sitters' Code of Conduct and Terms and Conditions.
We believe your little ones deserve the very best care. That's why our local network of babysitters are personally checked and picked by our family for your family www.sitters.co.uk.