Babysitting can be an incredibly fun and rewarding job. As a babysitter, you get to spend time with great kids, earn some money, and make a positive impact on families.
But it does require effort and skill to be a babysitter that kids beg to have back again and again. You need to find the right balance between keeping kids safe and letting them have a good time.
This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know to be a fun, engaging, and responsible babysitter. Follow these tips and you’ll become the favorite sitter on the block!
- Make time for free play and don’t overschedule activities. Let kids lead playtime and participate alongside them.
- Bring engaging toys and games like craft supplies, board games, and outdoor equipment. Seek out toys and activities suited for each child’s age.
- Get to know the kids’ interests and personalities. Chat with them, observe their preferences, and ask about their favorites.
- Promote imagination and creativity. Play make-believe games and make crafts like puppets and costumes together.
- Set clear rules and boundaries but allow appropriate independence. Kids will have more fun with a babysitter they can trust.
- Stay upbeat and enthusiastic. Your energy sets the tone for the kids.
Why Being a Fun Babysitter Matters
Being a fun babysitter that kids love spending time with provides huge benefits for you, the kids, and the parents:
- You’ll get more repeat jobs when families are eager to book you again.
- Time will pass quickly when you actively engage with the kids.
- You’ll build great experience to put on your resume.
For the kids:
- It stimulates their development through play, creativity, and social interaction.
- They’ll have positive associations with time spent with a babysitter.
- They’ll learn to cooperate, share, and build relationships.
For the parents:
- They’ll be confident leaving their kids with a responsible and caring sitter.
- Kids will be happy and entertained in your care.
- You’ll reduce parents’ guilt about leaving their kids with a sitter.
The best babysitters balance fun and responsibility to create playful experiences kids love and parents appreciate. Follow the tips in this guide to become that amazing sitter.
Get to Know Each Child
The first step to being a fun babysitter is getting to know the unique interests, personalities, and needs of each child in your care.
When you first meet a new family, chat with the parents to learn as much as you can. Ask about:
- Each child’s age, school grade, and developmental stage.
- Their interests and favorite activities, toys, books, games, etc.
- If they have any fears or strong dislikes.
- Special needs, learning differences, or health issues to be aware of.
- Rules, routines, and approaches to discipline.
Then when you’re with the kids:
- Let them show you their favorite toys and books.
- Ask about their friends, school life, and hobbies.
- Observe them playing to see what captures their attention.
- Initiate conversations to learn more about their personalities.
Make it a priority to get to know each child individually. When kids feel understood, they’ll be more engaged, cooperative, and excited to play.
Make Free Play the Focus
The best way to be a fun babysitter is to let free play be central during your time together.
Kids need plenty of unstructured playtime to boost their creativity, decision-making, and social skills. Taking the lead during play allows them to pursue their own interests.
You can participate in free play as an active player or quiet observer:
- Get involved in pretend play by taking on character roles.
- Build elaborate block structures or race cars down ramps.
- Play board and card games while encouraging teamwork.
- Set up craft supplies for open-ended art projects.
- Follow their lead in outdoor play like chasing games.
- Sit nearby as they play independently to supervise and interact as needed.
Avoid overscheduling activities or passively having kids watch screens. Let them take the reins and join the fun!
Bring Your Own Bag of Tricks
While you want to let kids guide playtime, it helps to come prepared with a variety of engaging toys and activities in your babysitting bag of tricks.
Tailor what you bring to the ages and interests of the kids in your care. Great items to have on hand include:
- Picture books
- Dress-up clothes
- Blocks and construction toys
- Bubbles and sidewalk chalk
For Elementary School Kids:
- Arts and craft supplies
- Card and board games
- Balls, frisbees, jump ropes
- Building sets like Legos
- Activity books and mad libs
For Preteens and Teens:
- Nail polish and makeup
- Two-player card games
- Craft kits like friendship bracelets or sculpting clay
- Puzzles and brain teasers
- Outdoor games like cornhole toss
Rotate the items you bring so you always have something new and exciting to engage the kids.
Encourage Imagination and Creativity
Babysitters who cultivate creativity and imagination provide kids with some of the most fun play experiences.
Tap into the infinite possibilities of make-believe play. If they need inspiration, suggest ideas like:
- Playing house or school
- Pretending to be superheroes or characters from books
- Making up plays and performances
- Going on imaginary adventures like scuba diving or space travel
You can also foster creativity through hands-on craft projects like:
- Making puppets with socks or paper bags
- Building forts and play structures with sheets and furniture
- Designing costumes and putting on talent shows
- Drawing portraits or illustrations from storybooks
- Starting a band with homemade instruments
The more you participate in imaginative play, the more the kids will enjoy escaping to exciting new worlds together.
Find the Right Balance of Independence
One key to being a fun babysitter is finding the sweet spot between supervision and independence.
Kids will have more fun when they can exercise some freedom without the constant eye of an overbearing adult. Assess each child’s maturity level and give them appropriate independence.
For example, responsible older kids can play in another room where you can still hear them. Or you may allow kids to pick out their own snacks from low cabinets.
But also set clear rules and boundaries, like keeping doors open and not playing with kitchen appliances. Check in frequently even when kids are out of sight.
Giving kids minor freedoms shows them you trust them and makes them feel more grown-up. But don’t compromise on safety and supervision.
Stay Upbeat and Enthusiastic
Your energy and attitude are contagious to the kids in your care. Make an effort to stay upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic.
- Smile frequently and share in the joy of play.
- Avoid scolding or criticism. Redirect gently when needed.
- Laugh along with kids’ jokes and funny antics.
- Bring a playful spirit of adventure to activities.
- Get silly and outrageous with preschoolers when appropriate.
- Share excitement about the toys, games, and make-believe scenarios you play.
Kids pick up on your vibes. When you model playfulness and enthusiasm, they’ll reflect it back in their own engagement and enjoyment.
Get Active Outdoors
Don’t let kids spend the whole time cooped up inside. Get them outdoors for active physical play and fresh air.
Younger kids often love:
- Classic games like tag, duck duck goose, and red rover
- Following directions in Simon Says
- Parachute play
- Bubbles and sidewalk chalk drawing
- Playground time
Bigger kids enjoy:
- Sports like soccer, kickball, or frisbee
- Going for a walk or bike ride
- Scavenger hunts
- Jumping rope contests
- Water play like sprinklers in summer
Think of fun outdoor games and activities suited for the kids’ ages. Being active outside provides a stimulating change of scene.
Have Plenty of Healthy Snacks
Hungry kids are grumpy kids! Make sure you come prepared with an assortment of healthy snacks to fuel their fun.
Ask parents about any food allergies or dietary restrictions. Then pack snacks like:
- Fresh fruits like apple slices and orange wedges
- Veggies with hummus or ranch dip
- String cheese
- Whole grain crackers
- Granola bars
- Trail mix
Let kids help prepare snacks to make it more fun. And don’t forget to stay hydrated with plenty of water!
Being a fun babysitter that keeps kids engaged takes effort and preparation but pays off through happy kids, glowing references, and repeat jobs.
The most important tips to remember are:
- Make free play the priority rather than overscheduling activities.
- Learn each child’s unique personality, interests, and needs.
- Come equipped with toys and games tailored to the kids’ ages.
- Promote imagination, creativity, and independence when appropriate.
- Stay upbeat and enthusiastic to set a playful tone.
- Get kids active with outdoor games and sports.
- Keep kids fueled with healthy snacks.
If you follow these tips, you’ll become a favorite sitter who kids beg to have over and over again! So grab your babysitting bag and get ready for some fun.