With the holidays upon us (I know, sorry for reminding you), we start to fill our social calendars and plan events with family and friends.

For you, that might mean finding a sitter for a couple Saturday nights; but, if that means you are the one watching kids for a friend or a neighbor, we’ve got you covered.

And who best to give you some baby-sitting insight than me?!

Without trying to brag (go and brush your shoulders off), I was pretty much the neighborhood’s top dog at baby-sitting. I had my weekends booked weeks in advance with baby-sitting gigs of families with one baby all the way up to five kids.

I was professional and cool, savvy yet kind and I always had the kids in bed before 9 p.m., all while keeping up my 4.0 GPA.

OK, it was a 3.8, but you’re probably wondering how I did it, right?

+ Play with the kids. It’s easy to make sure two siblings don’t choke each other or throw their pasta across the kitchen. What’s harder is to make sure the kids have fun. My go to? Hide-and-Seek. It’ simple, every kid knows it, and it’s fun! Just make sure to find them after they hide.
+ Do the dishes. Doing the dishes is like the extra credit of baby-sitting. It says you’re competent, motivated and willing to go the extra step in making sure the parents are taken care of when they get back from a night out. As much as you’re being paid to take care of the kids, you’re also doing the parents a service; might as well take care of them, too, right?

Consumer Recall Safety - Toddler Play+ Do what the parents ask. If they ask you to put the kids in bed by 9 p.m., get them in bed by 9 p.m. If they ask you to cook them spaghetti and veggies, cook them spaghetti and veggies. It shows that they can trust you, plus you avoid that awkward conversation when they get home and ask you, “Oh and the kids were in bed at 9, right?” Lying is awkward. And it’s bad. Avoid it by following a parents’ directions.
+ Give the parents a status report. Chances are the parents will ask you how the kids were while they were away. Give them more than “fine.” It’s like when your parents asked you how school was and you answered with “fine,” except it’s worse. Tell them about a game you played with the kids or something funny they did. If they misbehaved, tell them about that, too.
+ Thank them for hiring you. Lastly, thank them as you leave. They could have hired a lot of people, but they chose you. Say thanks and let them know you’re available for them again in the future.

If, though, it went terribly, still thank them, but respectfully decline any offers in the future. Sometimes you won’t vibe with all kids or families. That’s fine, but give someone else the chance to be a good fit for them and don’t put yourself through that turmoil.

What babysitting tips do you have? Share them in the comments.