What makes certain TLC for Kids sitters get requested more than others?
Obviously, you have to get your foot in the door by working for a couple of families before any of them will request you specifically the next time they call. What is it that makes a family remember a great babysitter and ask for you by name?
THE KIDS LOVE YOU. Kids who are old enough to speak will ask for you by name. I literally can hear kids screaming in the background when a couple of clients call. The mom will ask, “who do you want?” and the kids will yell the names of their favorite babysitters. Mom and Dad will surely be more comfortable about leaving if they see a toddler take your hand to show you their favorite toys. It is very important to break the ice with the kids when you arrive, and keep up the fun while the parents are gone!
THE HOUSE IS PICKED UP WHEN THEY GET HOME. It isn’t always possible, due to time constraints, but do try to put in the extra effort. Parents love coming home to a tidy kitchen at the end of an evening out. We’re talking about 10 minutes to load the dishwasher, wipe down counters, and clean up the mac & cheese pot! I had one mom say lately that she loves a certain sitter, and her kids love her too, but it’s just not worth it because her house is a disaster when she comes home. This is one of the things that sets TLC sitters apart from the teenager down the street.
THEY BRING A FUN ACTIVITY PICKED OUT SPECIALLY FOR THE KIDS. This is one of the biggest things that wins over parents. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but parents love it when you keep in mind the interests of a child and bring an art project, a special library book, or even a holiday craft or baking project in your TLC for Kids tote bag. Just be sure to OK things like this when you call to confirm, and clean up extra carefully as well! Empty-handed caregivers are NOT popular and usually get the day or evening off to a poor start.
YOU SOUND FUN AND “TOGETHER” ON THE PHONE. Remember, your initial phone call is your first chance to make a great impression! Call ON TIME (the evening you receive the job), call from a quiet area and at a time when you can concentrate 100% on the conversation. Be upbeat and perky. Take careful notes and let the parent know you look forward to meeting their kids. I have actually had parents ask for a sitter to be replaced because she sounded “dead” on the phone! Also be prepared to answer questions about yourself and your background.
LEAVE A WHAT WE DID WHILE YOU WERE GONE SHEET. Make sure it lists all of the fun things you did! Keep careful notes if caring for an infant (feedings and diaper changes) or a sick child (food, drinks, medicine, mood, activity, and temperature.) Write a note saying you would love to come back to their house because you had a great time! Parents also love to hear funny things their kids said or did. Even better, they would love to see a cool art project that you helped with or a puzzle that you completed!
Do you have any babysitting tips and tricks that you have found get you requested back? Please share!