Babysitting or taking care of a baby is hard work. Are you ready? You should not take on the responsibility of caring for babies under 6 months until you have at least two years of experience with older babies and children, but even babies 6 months or older need extra care and attention. What makes caring for a baby so different from caring for an older child?
4 Reasons Caring for Babies Is More Challenging
Diaper Changes: When changing diapers, be safe and quick. Babies can wriggle, making diaper changing a challenge and possibly even dangerous. Put a mat or towel on the floor to prevent a wriggling baby from falling. Be prepared to keep the supplies you need (clean diapers, wipes, safe toys) within easy reach so your attention doesn’t take away from the baby. Delight the baby (and easier to change too) by singing, reciting nursery rhymes, or playing “Where are your mouth, eyes, and nose?” After eating, remember to wash your hands.
Entertainment: Babies have short attention spans. They are usually only interested in one toy or activity for a few minutes at a time. be patient. Don’t expect too much from a baby. There are plenty of easy parenting games you can play with babies to keep them focused and smiling, like peekaboo and little cupcakes. Make a game where the baby drops an unbreakable object and you pick it up. Roll the ball to the baby. Walk around the house, look at things, and name things. If the weather is nice and you have permission from your child’s parents, you can take your child to play in the stroller.
Feeding: Infants under 6 months use a bottle. Older babies may need baby food. Always check with parents about feeding schedules and what babies should be eating. When feeding older babies, pay attention to feeding small amounts of food and drink at a time. Babies and toddlers don’t have the ability to chew food, so you must avoid feeding them anything that could cause them to choke. And, just like you should when changing diapers, it’s important to wash your hands before preparing bottles, snacks, and meals.
Stress level: Babies need constant supervision! They are completely dependent on you for care. They don’t recognize the danger and they don’t understand the rules, so this requires your patience. Crying is the most common behavioral challenge, but there are many ways to help soothe a baby. You can talk softly while hugging or shaking them gently, or you can give them a pacifier. Babies also love that you walk slowly with them in your arms.
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If you’re new, it’s best to start by looking at preschoolers (ages 3-4). You’ll gain childcare experience that will help you face the challenges and responsibilities of caring for a baby. If you haven’t completed your nanny training, find a Safe Nanny® course. The skills you learn will give you confidence in any babysitting job!
Babysitting job: Things to note for parent when hiring a babysitter
Looking after children is a huge responsibility. As a parent, you need to ensure that future babysitters are ready to accept the responsibility, safety and life of your children. After you’ve identified a potential nanny, you’ll need to schedule an in-person or video interview.
It is important that a prospective nanny has experience caring for children, as a nanny or volunteer position. New babysitters may have experience caring for younger siblings or cousins. The care and handling of babies under 6 months is very demanding. When hiring a babysitter for a baby, only hire a babysitter who has at least 2 years of experience caring for older babies and children.
You can also ask for references from other nanny employers of the prospective nanny or adults who have observed his or her childcare. If you’re hiring a babysitter for a baby or toddler, it’s a good idea to schedule an hour-long training/observation session (paid) before your first babysitting job.
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