When you’re a teenager, this is the time where you’re beginning to feel more independent and ready and able to take on more responsibilities. This is also the time where you’ll want to begin making your own money in order to add to that independence. There are many after school jobs available for the average teenager, and babysitting is perhaps the simplest and easiest thing to do. Babysitting does come with a certain degree of responsibility, however, because you’re taking care of someone else’s children. They have to be safe at all times. One of the issues with babysitting is that most don’t take into consideration the safety of the babysitter. Everybody involved has to remain safe so going over a few tips will increase that safety considerably.
Before going off to babysit, your parents should know exactly where you’re going to be and they should also know how long you’re going to be there. Make sure you exchange numbers, addresses, and any other information that they need to know just in case of an emergency. If you can, keep a basic cell phone with you at all times. Remember not to use it the entire night because you’ll need to make sure the battery stays fully charged. And if you only have a certain amount of minutes on your phone, it’s best to keep it away and put your focus on something else once the kids go to bed.
Once you begin babysitting and it’s getting late, keep the lights on, or at least make sure it’s light enough so that there are no dark corners or shadows in the house. You want to keep your eye on everything possible; every detail, every nook and cranny so you’ll know if there is something going on that is not right. Also make sure there is a light on outside on the porch or stoop area.
While you’re babysitting, keep all doors and windows locked. This is especially important if the windows are in a low position, and there are no screens placed on the windows. If there is a knock on the door, DO NOT answer it. That’s what peep holes are for, so you can see who it is without compromising your security in any way. If there is no peep hole try peeking out the window. If necessary, ask the person to state their business.
If there is someone trying to get inside with the excuse that their car broke down and need to use the phone, don’t let them in. Offer to call whoever they need for them, while they are giving you their information through the door. Keep the children away from the door if they are still awake at this point. Keep them away from the windows as well. Never let a stranger know you are by yourself. Pretend there is an adult with you, but just in a different room.
This is a rarity, but if at any point there is something wrong with the phone lines or power lines, this is the time for you to use your basic cell phone in case you need to. The numbers of where the parents of the children you’re babysitting should be easily accessible, or at least stored in your cell phone. Throughout the night keep checking in with them to let them know everything is going okay. It’s also a good idea to check in with your parents so they can know you’re alright.
Your focus should be on the children, so you should not be on any computer, cell phone, or tablet, and you definitely shouldn’t be listening to music with headphones on. Those children are your responsibility so take that to heart the entire time you’re there. You never know what could happen if you take their attention off of them for a split second. Always keep them in eyesight, and never leave them in a room by themselves, especially the kitchen. Never let them answer the door for anyone, and never let them go outside by themselves.
Make sure they are being kept safe, and entertained. If they have homework that they still have to do, help them do it, and once it’s time for them to go to bed, you can do any homework that you have yourself. Once they’re asleep, keep checking on them every now and then, just stay quiet and keep listening out for anything going on.
Even if it may be tempting, don’t let any of your friends over because this will show lack of responsibility, and that’s the last thing any parent wants to feel when they leave their children with someone. The only time it may be acceptable is if they give their permission for you to invite someone that they also know.
Make sure you have a secure way of going home. If your parent is unable to pick you up (which they should unless they’re working late) you can have one of the parent’s drive you home. If that isn’t an option, call a cab. Never walk home late at night by yourself. This is only seen in urban legends and movies, but in the case where someone was watching you babysit throughout the night, you don’t want them following you and attacking you. So having enough safety when you’re going home from babysitting is just as important as staying in the house while babysitting.
You can use the same techniques if you’re babysitting in your own house. The only thing you wouldn’t have to worry about is how you’re getting home.