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Rules and Advice for Babysitters

Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

We strongly advise that you familiarise yourself with the route and timings to get to your booking (Google maps is a great tool for this if travelling by car or on foot) and check any timetables if using public transport. If you are unsure about parking ask the parents an hour before the booking on the phone or in a text message. It is important you arrive on time - preferably 10 minutes before the booking is due to start. If the parents have a train to catch or a show to get to, being late can ruin an expensive evening out. And you want to appear professional, arriving on time and unflustered.

Making the Right First Impression

If it is your first visit to a family, please ensure you introduce yourself by the door as soon as you arrive, for example; "Good evening, my name is Jane Foster and I'm from Hello Mums."

Please arrive ten minutes early so that the parents have a chance to introduce you to the children, show you around and give you any information they feel is necessary. Smile and be courteous to the parents but even more importantly, if the children are still awake be sure to greet and engage with them as soon as possible. For some parents, this may be the first time they have left their children with anyone outside of their family - so a good first impression is vital and will give them some much-needed reassurance.

What To Expect When Babysitting

The vast majority of booking requests we receive are for evening babysitting. Some jobs are more demanding than others, depending on the ages and number of children in your care. You should expect to read younger children a bedtime story and perhaps play a quiet game with older children before bed.  For early evening bookings starting well before bedtime, some parents may occasionally require you to carry out additional duties above and beyond simple babysitting (such as preparing and clearing away after a meal, overseeing bath time or getting the children ready for bed). Generally please always follow the parents’ instructions. 

Daycare And Daytime Bookings

Hello Mums’ recommend a higher rate of pay for daycare bookings as they naturally involve significantly more activity and interaction with the children than evening babysitting. If you have them, taking a small basket of suitable toys will make you an instant hit with young children - as can suitable books to read. Taking something of interest to show the children in your care always makes a good impression on the parents you will be working for.

For evening babysitting most parents may be happy for you to watch TV with the children, but during the day it is important that the children experience a range of activities to keep their active minds occupied. As a minimum, you should plan to spend time with the children reading, drawing, crafting or playing board games and any other activities at the direction of the parents.

During a daytime booking you may also be required to prepare simple food (such as sandwiches, or heating food in a microwave) and clear away after the meal time.  If the parent requires more from you (such as using the oven or the hob) they should ensure you are comfortable with this and should provide you with clear instruction (as you may not be familiar with the equipment in their kitchen). For babies and toddlers requiring formula milk, the parent is advised to give you clear instructions regarding milk preparation.

Etiquette Whilst In The Parent's Home

Always respect the privacy of the family and avoid entering rooms in the house unnecessarily. It has been known for families to report to us that they have CCTV images showing a childcarer going into the parents' bedroom for a look around. Please don't use any computer equipment belonging to the family unless you have been given permission to do so (including iPads etc) and please don't use the employer's telephone to make calls, unless it is for the wellbeing of the children.

You will generally have access to a television, but please do not download pay-per-view movies or any pay TV. At most bookings you will have access to tea and coffee making facilities, cold drinks and perhaps a snack - but please don't help yourself to the contents of the fridge or cupboards unless you are invited to and don't use the parent's kitchen equipment to prepare your own food - unless agreed in advance with the parent. You are expected to wash up any cups or glasses you have used and to tidy away any toys/books used during the booking.

If you have accepted a long booking including a time when you would normally expect to eat please take a packed meal or sandwiches with you. If for instance you are doing an all day childminding job from 9am until 7pm some parents may invite you to help yourself to what you need from their fridge. Others will assume that you will bring your own food - most people working in an office or shop would expect to bring or buy their own lunch, so we recommend you come prepared.  Please do not use the family's cooking facilities to prepare you own food, unless expressly agreed in advance with the parent.

Care Outside The Home

The primary role of the Hello Mums childcarer is to look after children and keep them safe within the family home or residence. Occasionally the parents may ask you to take the children out for walk to the local park or somewhere similar, but please do not leave the house without direct instruction from the parents. If we go ahead with the Travel Childcare contract then we might need to add hotels and other type of bookings as well.

Keeping The Parents Informed And Reassured

It is not always necessary, but parents often appreciate a text message from you to let them know that everything is OK. They will particularly remember this if they are at all nervous that their young children are under the weather, won't settle or perhaps if it is their first time meeting you - or it may be a particularly long booking. It's always worth asking - "would you like me to send you a text message?" And you'll find that they are more likely to ask for you again if they feel you have paid attention to their children and kept them informed.
If a child in your care becomes ill during the booking or feels unwell in any way - always let the parent know by text or a phone call.  If there is a serious accident or if the child is seriously unwell, please use your professional judgement to decide whether to call an ambulance.