Babysitting – not just a teenage job!

A few weeks ago, I was sitting around my house, getting ready to go over to my latest nannying charge, Glo-Worm’s, for one of my part-time babysitting jobs, when a lady from one of our Canadian national newspapers called me for an interview. She wanted to talk about money – money and babysitting.

This article in the Globe and Mail came out a few weeks later and I’m not quoted, but some of the information I gave her is in it. Babysitting is no longer a teenage job. Parents are looking for sitters who can really bring something to the table – who have experience and creativity and just that little something more. They want the entire package, and they’re willing to pay for it.

When I was 13, I started babysitting for a family next door. They had two adorable kids, age 2 and 4, and I cut my teeth on learning to deal with tantrums, arguments over toys, blow-out diapers, how to bottlefeed without choking the baby, and my personal favourite, “wagon races”, which comprised letting a wagon with kids at the helm roll down a long driveway and into the street. Yeah, not the most safe game ever!

But it’s now 17 years later and I’m a consummate professional. I have the standard First Aid and CPR qualifications. I have over 15 years of nannying experience that doesn’t count my first teenage forays into the job. I’ve done aftercare for women who have just given birth. I’ve looked after tiny newborns and teenagers with special needs. I’ve earned my stripes – and suddenly, it’s a career, not just a part-time job on the road to university or a full-time office job.

Parents are willing to pay for people like me – and they’re willing to pay more for people with ECE credentials, nursing experience, or experience with special needs. I’m an educator at the same time as a nanny. I don’t just rock babies to sleep, I teach them sign language and I work on colours and letters while we play. We go out to the park and they learn about their world through touch, sight, sound and smell. (And sometimes taste, but that’s beside the point!)

In a way, I’m glad that I can fall back on this as a career, because it’s what I love. I also love being able to provide high-quality, one-on-one care for the kids I look after. I’ve always said that if children bore you and it’s just another job, don’t be a nanny. Now it’s even more important – parents are willing to pay for your experience and your care. Make it good for them.

And maybe next time I’ll get quoted! Oh well :)

(Originally posted at Torontonanny)

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