How to help 13 yo start babysitting

karenlk10March 26, 2007

MY DS13 wants to start babysitting as an alternative to mowing lawns. He will be taking the Red Cross certification class in a couple weeks. And during the summer, will be working an internship at the local zoo where he will help with the camp kids and such.

I'm not worried about the rates, from what I've read on this forum it sounds like $5-6 is a pretty average rate.

But I am looking for suggestions on how to help him find clients. Most everyone we know have kids his age, not little ones.

Are flyers a bad idea? Should he mention his grades, the fact he is a Boy Scout, his Red Cross class, or his experience at the zoo? Is there any other info that would make him stand out and look like a good choice?

And do parents really resist hiring boys instead of girls if the boys are responsible?

Thanks for any suggestions.

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I'm not sure how I would look at babysitting on a boy vs. girl basis. I honestly would flat out not hire a teenager unless I need someone to watch the kids while I'm also at home. Several other friends have told me they feel the same way. I've had at least four different moms tell me stories about female babysitters who decided to sneak their boyfriend over on the job. Teenagers today don't seem to be as respnsible as we were when we were their age. Thirteen is still a very iffy age for babysitting.

If babysitting is really what your son wants to do, I'd suggest putting together a resume of what he is willing to do, prices for services, qualifications and references. A contract might be a good idea. I'd want to know that his friends (male or female) weren't going to be hanging out and that he wasn't going to be on the phone or computer. He might even come up with some ideas for activities and how he would entertain the kids. As a parent, I'd also want to know how you were going to be in the picture. Are you available for backup in case he has non-emergency type questions? If he is able to approach parents as a responsible person, he may be able to find a niche.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 11:52PM
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You really do not want him babysitting for strangers. Let your friends with little boys know he is available. I would have loved to find a boy sitter for my sons. That includes neighbors, people at church and PTA, etc.

Our daughter babysat for friends, and her dad met the father, whom we know, at the curb when he was dropping her off. He smelled strong alcohol on that dad's breath, and so we stopped her babysitting for them. She had a little friend who was killed in an awful car crash when the drunk mother who hired her was driving her back home. They were both killed.

So you want to know the people and watch out for your babysitting son when he works for others.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 1:29PM
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I just want to commend your son on taking an interest in babysitting :o) I can honestly say that the best babysitters I have had were boys. The girls were always responsible but the boys actually played with my kids (boy and girl),even with the barbies lol.My kids loved all of their sitters but the two boys we used were their (and our) favorites!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 4:25PM
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I would resist,but that is because I was molested by a male baby-sitter as a child. It really messed me up for alot of years too.
Really though,it depends on maturity. Sounds like your son is responsible and quite mature for being 13. My step daughter that is 13 still fights over toys with my 9 year old and acts like she's 5...let alone does any classes or exprience at the zoo.So,he could probably handle it.
Maybe you could have him only watch slightly older children,since toddlers and infants can be trying to someone with no child exprience.
I agree shielajoyce,have him try it out with people you know with kids.
But dont be surprized if you dont get alot of responses from strangers though. I also feel like adellabedella in the aspect I wouldnt hire a teen~be it boy or girl. They arent as child cautious as an adult would be,and wouldnt react well in a emergency as an adult would.(I had a 15 year old girl stay with my daughter for only an hour one night,come to find out she spent the whole time on the phone and ignored my daughter)
Sounds like you have a great son though~with alot of ambition! Maybe if it doesnt work out you can help him think of other ways to make some extra,mowing lawns or something.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 5:11PM
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my step daughter is 14,not 13,which actually makes it worse.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 7:43PM
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My son and my daughter both babysat when they were young. I think letting people know he's taken the Red Cross Certification is a good start. Both my kids started out sitting for neighbors and people known to us. They then developed a reputation for being responsible sitters and were hired by word of mouth. I started babysitting the same way when I was young.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 9:57AM
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