10 Items to Bring on a Babysitting Gig

Posted on by admin | in babysitting

Before you head out the door to a babysitting job, it’s important to think ahead and remember that there are certain things you shouldn’t leave the house without, and certain things that might make the job experience a little more pleasant for both you and the child(ren) you’re watching.

Don’t Leave Home Without:

  1. Cell Phone - This is especially important because it’s something that you can keep on you at all times and will hold important phone numbers that you can call in case of an emergency. You need to be able to react to a problem at a moment’s notice, and having to run inside to get the house phone is not always the best option, so having your cell phone handy will help alleviate that. This is not to say that you should talk, text, or play games on your cell phone while on the job – you should use it for emergency purposes only. Your main focus needs to be on the child(ten).
  2. Extra Clothes - You never know when you’re going to end up with spaghetti sauce, finger paint, or bodily fluids on your clothes, so having a change of clothes will help you be a little more prepared for messy accidents to happen. No one wants to hang out in dirty clothes all night, so as inconvenient as bringing extra clothes may be, it’s more convenient than having to walk around looking (and feeling!) like a mess.
  3. First Aid Kit - Undoubtedly the family that you’re babysitting for will have either a first aid kit or everything necessary to preform first aid. But in the event that you forget to ask where the items are or they forget to show you, it’s a good idea to have your own with you just in case. It’s always better to be over-prepared than under prepared. And you can always bring fun colored or cartoon-themed Band-Aids to make that cut or scrape a little less painful and lollipops for being the kids being so brave while you fix them up.  To Make Your Job Easier: In addition to items that are essential to have with you, you can also put together a grab bag of items that will make the experience more fun for both you and the child(ren). Some examples of items you could put into the bag include:
  4. Children’s Books - Having books around is a good idea for right before bed time or naptime (depending on what time of day you’re babysitting!). Bring your childhood favorites and read them to the kids before putting them to sleep
  5. Legos - Really any building toys – some other good options are Lincoln Logs or K’Nex. aving Not many kids can say no to building a city, especially with sets that are different from the ones they already have. Plus, you can make a game out of it by having each person construct a different portion of the city, or see who can put together the most elaborate building.
  6. Coloring books - What kid (OK, OK, and what grown-up kid) doesn’t love a brand new, untouched coloring book? Coloring books are pretty cheap and can entertain for hours, especially the ones that have extra activities on the different pages. Throw in the 96 color box of crayons (you know you loved that box!) and your kid(s) will be in heaven as they sift through all the different colors to use – mac and cheese sounds WAY better than orange, after all! With coloring books you have a slew of options to take up time, such as coloring pictures for the parents or holding a coloring contest.
  7. Board games - The Game of Life, Candy Land, and Operation never disappoint and are a fun way to interact with kids who are a little older. These games also move fairly quickly, so you aren’t stuck playing for four hours straight like you are with more involved games such as Monopoly.
  8. Puzzles - Puzzles are good because you can bring really easy ones so that no one gets bored or you can get the more in depth 3D ones that look really cool when they’re finished. Just try and stay away from the ones with too small of pieces that may get lost (or eaten) by the younger kids. You don’t want to have to try to explain that you had to go to the hospital because someone ate a puzzle piece!
  9. Movies - Bring some of your childhood favorites that the children you’re watching may not have seen, like Cinderella or the Lion King. It’s hard not to love a Disney classic, and being able to relive your childhood will be fun for you and seeing something new will be fun for them.
  10. Card games - Games like Go Fish and Old Maid are fun and fast and not as well-known as they once were. Like with older board games, this will be a nice switch from the usual suspects.

It would also be fun to create a babysitting bag or box that you’ve personalized and decorated, so when the kids you’re watching see it, they know that they get to pick out something to play with or something to do. If you regularly put in new items then it can be a fun game to reward good behavior by letting them pick out something new from the bag to do. Not to mention, it will look good to the parents you are babysitting for by showing that you come to your jobs prepared, that you take the job seriously, and that you care about having a good time with the kids and not just hanging out and getting paid.

Having a variety of activities to pull out at a moment’s notice will also help when you have situations where you are running out of things to do or if you need to get them away from the television or video games. Anything that requires human interaction is a definite plus, and kids are more likely to rave about you to their parents if they had fun playing with you versus if you just ignored them the entire time. Call ahead and make sure that they don’t already have what you’re bringing and then put it all in the bag and let them pick out something without looking first, that way it’s a surprise.

Some other things you could bring are play-doh and candy to reward them for good behavior. Crafts are also fun, as is baking, assuming you have the parents approval. And be sure to clean up afterwards, the last thing you want is to accidentally leave mud pies in plastic dishes in the oven and forget about them so that they melt the next time the oven is turned on… I did that once and it was not pretty and my mom was not happy!

With all of the above mentioned activities and items, make sure ahead of time that the parents are OK with whatever it is that you’re bringing over, the last thing you want is to upset them by bringing over toys that have pieces that they feel are too small for their kids, or that they don’t already let the kids use. The most important thing is to have fun and be safe!

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