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Temporary Babysitting Jobs

After the Initial Screening Process: What to Expect

When a family needs a temporary babysitter, the family may or may not interview the prospective        babysitter(s).  For example, if the family needs a babysitter for just one evening, the family is less likely to interview than if the family needs the babysitter for a full week.

Families usually request background checks on their prospective temporary babysitter, no matter how brief that babysitter's term of employment is expected to be. 

After these initial screening steps comes the job offer.  Most babysitters prefer that families give them at least one week's notice when they are hired as a temporary babysitter.  However, some families simply do not have one week's notice themselves.  As a babysitter, there may be times when you are contacted for a temporary job that begins the very next day. As a temporary babysitter, you need to be ready on short notice.  What follows is a list of suggestions to help you be ready to babysit at a moment's notice.

  • Have a cellular telephone so that families can reach you even when you are not at home
  • Have reliable transportation (even if it is your community's mass transit system)
  • Maintain a small duffle bag of babysitting necessities (i.e., books and toys for a variety of ages of children, bandages, antiseptic cream, and some personal items for your use in case you need to spend the night at a family's home)
  • Keep an accurate, updated calendar handy (some people carry hard copy calendars, others prefer to use the calendars on their Blackberry)
  • Stay organized and communicate well (you will likely juggle various appointments, so organization and communication are essential)

 


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Requirements for a Temporary Babysitter

To be a temporary babysitter, you will need to have certain things prepared in advance of your first temporary babysitter job.

  • You may not have a chance to meet each family before you accept a temporary babysitting position. The family will call you with a job, and you will start on a designated date. Because you may not have an opportunity for an interview, how you present yourself via your resume, online information, and background checks is crucial.  Make sure that your information is presented in a manner so as to put you in the best light possible.
  • As a result of the foregoing, it is important that your resume reflects job-relevant education (i.e., classes in early childhood development, etc.), experience (i.e., prior jobs as a babysitter or nanny), and other credentials (i.e., training in CPR, etc.).  It is also important for you to have clean background checks (including good references).
  • You will need to have two (2) forms of identification on your first day of employment.  You will likely be required to complete a federal government form (required of all employees for all American companies): this form requires you to have two (2) forms of identification made available to your new employer.

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Average Temporary Babysitter Pay Rates

Average pay rates for temporary babysitters are as follows: about $12 per hour with a minimum of four hours in the home or $120 if working overnight.

Pay rates for temporary babysiiters vary based on the following:  location, the age and number of the children involved, the time commitment involved, the peripheral work expected of the babysitter, the qualifications and negotiation skills of the babysitter, and the job market.  

Location.  You can expect to earn somewhat more than the average if you work in a metropolitan community and somewhat less than the average if you work in a rural community.

Age and Number of Children.  If you are caring for a very young baby, you can expect between $14 and $18 per hour.  If you are caring for more than two children, you can expect to earn somewhat more than the average.

Time Commitment.  If you will work full-time hours or for a longer period of time, you can expect to earn somewhat more than the average.  If you will work part-time or for a shorter period of time, you can expect to earn somewhat less than the average.

Peripheral Work.  You can expect to earn somewhat more than the average if you will be expected to perform peripheral work.  Periperal work involves any work tasks other than direct childcare.  Such tasks include housekeeping, cooking, and running errands.

Babysitter Qualifications and Negotiation Skills.  As is true with all employees, the stronger the credentials that the employee possesses, the more that employee can typically expect to earn.  Also, candidates who are skilled in negotiating their pay rates tend to earn higher wages/salaries.

Job Market.  If there are more vacant babysitting jobs than available babysitters, you can expect to earn somewhat more than the average.  If there are more available babysitters than vacant babysitting jobs, you can expect to earn somewhat less than the average. 

 

 


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What a Temporary Babysitter Needs to Know

Because you will likely be placed with a family on short notice, you probably won't have time to meet them ahead of time. Therefore, it is important to find out all necessary information when you first arrive in the family's home.  And since you will likely be dealing with a short time period in which to gather the information, it is wise to maintain a checklist of questions to ask.  Such questions include:

  1. Are the children on any medicines?  If so, what medicines?  Administered when and how?  Where are the medicines kept?  Is there anything I should know about the medicines or the children's reactions to them?
  2. Do the children have any allergies?  If so, to what?  How severe are the children's reactions to the allergens?  What protocol should I follow if the children experience an allergic reaction to something?
  3. What do the children like to do?  Do they have favorite toys or activities?  Are there things the chidren especially do not like or are sensitive about?
  4. Are the children allowed to watch television?  If so, what are the boundaries placed on TV viewing (i.e., what shows are off limits, how many hours are they allowed to watch TV daily, etc.)?
  5. Are the children allowed to play video games?  If so, what are the boundaries?  Are certain games off limits?  Is there a time limit (i.e., no more than one hour per day can be spent playing video games)?
  6. What are the children's bedtimes?  Are there bedtime rituals? 
  7. Will the children be allowed snacks or other food and drink?  If so, what is permitted and when?  Where is the food located?
  8. What method of behavior redirection is used in the home?  Do the children receive time-outs?  Are they sent to their rooms?
  9. Are any problems expected?   What might those problems be?  How should I respond to them if they happen? 
  10. How can I contact you (the parents) if I need to reach you?  Under what circumstances do you want to be contacted?

By gaining this information up front, you make yourself as prepared as possible for the tasks at hand.  Additionally, the family's first in-person impression of you will likely be that you are very informed, organized, efficient, and well qualified.  They will feel more comfortable leaving their children in your care, and you will start off the employment relationship on the right foot.


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What Does a Temp Babysitter Do?

As a temporary babysitter, you will be responsible for making sure that the children in your care have the following:

  • a safe, secure, clean environment
  • healthy meals and snacks (as designated by their parents)
  • any needed medicines (as designated by their parents)
  • the comfort of their familiar routines (the toys they regularly play with, their usual bedtimes, etc.)
  • mental and physical stimulation (i.e., things that make them think and things that give them exercise)
  • safe, reliable transportation to and from their appointments and activities
  • the nurturing and healthy role modeling that they deserve from you 

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What is a Temporary Babysitter Postion?

A temporary babysitter position is one in which the babysitter is hired to babysit for a short period of time (ranging from a one-day job up to a three-month job).  The duration of the short-term job varies based on the reason the family needs the babysitter.  A few examples follow.

The period of time may be just one evening, if the parents have planned a date night. 

The period of time may be an extended weekend, if the parents want a get-away weekend without the children.

A steady on-call babysitter, when the time arises that the family needs a sitter.

The period of time may be a week or two, if the parent(s) are out of town on work-related travel, or if the nanny has resigned and a temporary babysitter is sought until a permanent replacement nanny can be hired.

Or, the period of time may be every summer during school break.


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