Does Your Teenager Baby-sit?

Does your teenager baby-sit? We recently hired a sixteen-year-old babysitter. Our first experience with babysitters in general, meeting her brought back memories of when I used to baby-sit. I remember going to houses and watching one or more children, and leaving with a few dollars in my hand. We never discussed the money, certainly never negotiated it. But let me tell you, things have changed!

Depending on where you live, the “going” rate for babysitters may differ. I live in Southern California and you’d be hard pressed to find a babysitter for under $10 an hour. If you try to hire a college student, be prepared to be asked for $11-$15 per hour. It’s no joke. Babysitting is the new “it” business. The problem is, by the time parents pay the babysitter, who can afford to go out?

I was “lucky” enough to find a babysitter for $8 per hour. Sure, we may have to have hot dogs for dinner rather than a three-course meal, but at least my husband and I get out now and then, right?

If your teenager is considering taking on a summer job, babysitting may be more of an option than they thought. They don’t have to dress up, don’t have to punch a time clock or listen to angry customer complaints. And they’ll likely make more money than if they worked at a fast food joint or local retail chain.

How to go about finding a babysitting job can be a bit challenging. If you live in a neighborhood where you know your neighbors, have your teenager ask around. With school out for the summer, parents are scrambling to find childcare.

Your teenager can post his or her contact information at elementary schools, churches, etc.

If a gym will allow them post a flyer, that’s another great way to advertise. Many gyms today have childcare centers where moms and dads can drop their kids off while they workout. Those moms and dads likely need additional childcare during other hours as well.

Some pediatricians’ offices will allow you to post a small sign or stack of cards in their waiting room. This can be a great opportunity for your teenager to get their information out.

Speaking of information, when advertising babysitting services, make sure your teenager gives out only basic information. Never include your address. Their first name and phone number are all a potential client needs, along with any helpful information (special abilities, CPR certified, etc.)

To increase their chances of finding employment, your teenager should take a CPR course. They can be completed in one day and are often available for free or for a very low cost through the Red Cross or at fire stations.

Whatever your teenager is doing this summer—make it safe, make it happy, and make it memorable. Babysitting is a wonderful way to make money without having to grow up too fast by entering the workforce.