University of Illinois Extension

Characteristics of a Great Babysitter

Parents look for certain qualities in a good babysitter. Some of these qualities include:

Have good health: Your overall health is important. If you have a cold or other contagious disease, do not accept a babysitting job.

Be dependable & responsible: Dependability is a must. You are responsible for the child's health and safety.

Love little children: The best babysitters usually understand and love children. Children tend to know whether you like them or not.

Be self-confident: Children judge you as much by the way you look and act as by the words you say. Be sure of yourself.

Be mature: You need to be levelheaded and act calmly in an emergency. You have to maintain authority and discipline.

Show good manners: Be pleasant, and act in a courteous manner. This includes respect for the privacy of families by not going through closets and personal possessions.

Be knowledgeable about children: You need a basic understanding of the stages of child development. You must also know the basic techniques of feeding, dressing, diapering, bathing and playing with younger and older children.

Have a business-like attitude: Make sure you agree on the business aspects of the job before babysitting with a new family for the first time. Get the necessary information from the parents before they leave.

Be adaptable: Accept the differences between households. It's your responsibility to fit in with the family's usual pattern or routines — not the other way around. If you feel uncomfortable with the family's lifestyle, you may need to refuse to accept the opportunity to work for them.

Be safety conscious: Protect the children from harm. Be alert at all times.

You will be in demand: Great babysitters are known by many parents. Usually they are busy with repeated jobs for the same families.