Would parents hire me?
May 2, 2012 11:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm a mother (of a toddler) who works part time and is looking to make some extra money. I've considered babysitting jobs, but aside from raising my own son, I don't have much experience with kids aside from babysitting jobs I had when I was a teenager. No recent references. Could I get hired?

By the way, I've seen this, but my situation is different because the OP in that case wasn't a mom. Also, I had infant/child CPR certification, but it's lapsed. I have a master's degree (not in anything child- or education-related) and live in a medium-sized city.

I have two friends with kids my son's age. Should I ask to babysit their kids for free to get some references I can use? Would that be weird for me to ask them?
posted by trillian to Human Relations (11 answers total)
Most parents I know, myself included, would be happy to leave a kid with a trustworthy person who knows infant/child CPR and has a kid of their own. As long as a mutual friend vouched for them and there were no obvious red flags (filthy house/kid, smokes around kids, rude person, seems overwhelmed, etc).

You might want to learn about EPI pens and how to use them, which is a concern of anyone whose kid has a serious allergy. Such kids will come with their own pen but it's important that you know about them. We usually give people a two-minute lesson before leaving our kid. It's not necessary, but just being able to say "I know how to use one" can mean the difference between getting a job and not getting one.

Also, once you have one or two regular customers you will most likely be inundated with requests.

As for asking your friends, just put yourself out there. Most parents will jump at the chance for free babysitting.
posted by bondcliff at 11:51 AM on May 2, 2012

Do your friends like you? Do they trust you with their kids? Heck NO it would not be weird. Free babysitting in exchange for references? Totally works. Skim some of the sitter profiles on SitterCity.com in order to check out what is appealing to potential employers. Personally, I would have loved to have considered a stay-at-home mom for my childcare needs years ago, but hesitated because I wondered how they would handle the "my own child vs. other's kid" dynamic. So if you can think of a positive way to spin that for potential employers, having another child as someone to interact with could be VERY appealing for some parents.
posted by jeanmari at 11:51 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, other moms/dads/families will hire you. As a mom, you have all the experience you need. Brush up on first aid in case you're not completely ready for the awesome responsibility of caring for someone else's kid. But since you are a mom you know what you'd expect of someone taking care of your kid.
posted by bebrave! at 11:52 AM on May 2, 2012

Response by poster: Oh, and I should clarify that this would be (I assume) for people who need occasional sitters in the evenings, i.e. after my son is asleep. My husband would be at home while I go babysit. Just wanted to make it clear that I wouldn't have my son around. Thanks for all the answers so far!
posted by trillian at 11:54 AM on May 2, 2012

Best answer: I agree with getting some basic first-aid/CPR training in advance. The Red Cross or somewhere similar should be able to help you there. You might consider contacting something like Sitter City. They will take care of running a background check for you and will list you and your qualifications. I've used them to find sitters and some have had very similar situations to yours.
posted by goggie at 11:54 AM on May 2, 2012

I just finished a babysitting job, the second one I've had in the last couple of years. Both times, I told the parents my qualifications, including references, but once we met and talked, neither ever asked. It kinda scared me - I'm much more careful myself. But I would think, as long as you present yourself well, it won't be an issue.
posted by lemniskate at 11:55 AM on May 2, 2012

Best answer: Is your toddler in daycare while you work part time currently? I would love it if one of the parents in my daughter's daycare class said "hey, I'd be interesting in babysitting in the evenings. I charge x$/hour. Let me know if you're interested." At least if it was one of the kids I like/parents I've met. So, that's a place to start. I think your thought of babysitting your friends' children is also a good one and not weird, I'd be down with that if one of my friends asked.
posted by dpx.mfx at 12:13 PM on May 2, 2012

Best answer: Thirding you should get certified in child/infant CPR -- that will automatically turn you from a mom looking for money, into a childcare professional who is serious about it, and could take away a lot of weirdness over not having references yet.
posted by Mchelly at 1:42 PM on May 2, 2012

I got first responder training through Red Cross (at my job) and they taught me how to use the EpiPen (good thing as I now have one!) So check that out.

Then head to a site and post your availability.

Good Luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:00 PM on May 2, 2012

Another possible angle for you is that many parents need folks to help shuttle school-aged kids around. They are not going to trust a teenager to do that, but you as a nice, mom type would be perfect for those "who's going to pick the kids up from piano lessons and take them to soccer?" situations. My parents had this as a problem fairly often when my dad would go out of town, and I remember what a struggle it was for them to find a trustworthy driver.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:13 PM on May 2, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone!
posted by trillian at 9:01 AM on May 3, 2012

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