You may in the next few years get the opportunity  to babysit young children.  This may come easier for some as you may be used to many little ones in your home, but for others it might be a new concept.    With a few essentials and a little knowledge you can be confident that you will be victorious if you are left with the task of watching little ones.

Managing little children can sometimes be a challenge.  One moment they are snuggling up for stories and the next they are painting the walls purple!  How do you deal and cope with that?  You PLAN AHEAD for all kinds of possibilities.

Babysitting requires skills in creativity, adventure, and play.  Those skills will be of no help if you do not know what to do when a child has a tumble off the swing set or you are not prepared for the realities of a two year old temper tantrum.

Have a plan

You want to begin planning before you actually get a babysitting job.  The best way to spread the word is to family, friends, and neighbors until you get more experience watching little ones.

It is about your safety and comfort level as well as the children’s.  Find out if a job is right for you by asking careful questions about what the family expects.

Think about the ages of children you would like to care for.  If you are not comfortable caring for an infant or one with special needs, don’t take those kinds of jobs.

Do you know how to change a diaper? How to bathe a child? Learn these skills before you show up for your first day of work.

The most important and first priority in babysitting is to keep the children safe.  Being a good babysitter means knowing how to handle everything from a splinter to a real emergency.  Remember our lesson on basic first aid?

It is best to prepare for an event before it happens.  It is unlikely that the child you will be watching will eat something poisonous.  But knowing where to find the poison control number gives you a big peace of mind.

Even something as simple as feeding a young child can be dangerous if you are not prepared.  Know which types of foods are choking hazards to young children.  Where can you put young toddlers when you prepare the meal as to keep them safe?  All good things to think about.

Parents love babysitters who help children have fun and learn-while still reinforcing rules and keeping discipline.  Ask the children to show you their favorite toys.

Take the children outdoors if you can.  Simple games like tag and hide and seek are great games to keep children active.  Running around also will help tire little ones out so that they will nap and sleep well, which parents would probably appreciate.

Avoid any type of media.  Skip television, unless you need to keep them occupied while you prepare a meal.  Engage with them to avoid them being bored and wanting to play tablets and computers.

Know that children will challenge you, especially when you are the “new” sitter.  Even though a child may try and fight rules, they actually need and thrive best on structure and boundaries.  Find out what the rules are with the parents and stick with them.  You may not agree with what the parents choose, but you need to abide.  This will gain their trust and respect.