Babysitting Responsibilities


Are you considering babysitting for the first time? If so, you’re probably wondering what the job is like and what duties you’ll have. Every babysitting job is different but there are some things that parents will expect of you almost every time.

Here are the most common responsibilities of a babysitter:

  • Ensuring child safety
  • Preparing meals and snacks
  • Helping with homework
  • Playing games and having fun!
  • Changing diapers
  • Getting children to bed on time
  • Laundry and light housework
  • Bathing and dressing young children
  • Transporting children
  • Preparing and cleaning baby bottles



Every babysitting job will be slightly different, and there will be varying duties and responsibilities that parents expect of you, depending on the situation and the children you are caring for.

As you gain experience, you’ll become more qualified for a wider range of situations. In order to find more jobs and earn more money, you may even consider taking some courses related to babysitting. These will give you confidence by improving your knowledge base and skills, so you can bring greater value to your babysitting jobs.


Ensuring Child Safety

This is the most important responsibility, and it’s always required. That’s why it’s number one!

Make sure children are safe at home and while ‘out and about.’ It’s vital. Parents expect that children will be under the watchful eye of the sitter at all times.

If you need to step away from the child to make lunch or prepare a bath (how this is done, of course, depends upon their age), make sure the child is in safe surroundings and check on them regularly. You can also use a baby monitor if the family has one available.


Meeting the Children Beforehand

It’s really important that you get along with the kids you’re caring for, and the only way to find out is to meet them.

Parents will often expect a new babysitter to come for a short visit or even do a paid trial run to see how things feel at the beginning. This is a perfect opportunity for you to create a good first impression with the kids and the parents.


Changing Diapers

When babies and toddlers have soiled diapers, it’s never a treat, but it’s necessary to change them as soon as possible.

If a changing table is unavailable, change the baby on the floor. Never turn away from a baby on a changing table because they can roll off in an instant! And make sure you get everything ready beforehand, including the diaper, baby powder, wet wipes, and clothing because you can’t go get it once you start!


Preparing and Cleaning Bottles for Babies

This is often a necessary duty for babysitters taking care of an infant.

Bottles must always be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. You may wash them in hot, soapy water, or use a dishwasher with a heat-drying cycle, which should be sufficient in places where the water is clean. Sanitation, if needed, usually involves placing bottles, teats, caps, etc. in boiling water for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria that washing may have missed.


This process is called sterilization, and it’s normally only done until the child is 3 months old, after which washing alone should suffice.

Be very careful with boiling water! Make sure that no children are nearby while performing this task. Hot water can burn a child’s skin in an instant! Never leave the boiling pot on the stove unattended. Turn the handles of all pots on the stove inward, so a toddler cannot reach up and grab them. This duty is best done after the little ones are in bed.


Preparing Meals and Snacks

This responsibility is often expected of babysitters and can present its own challenges.

If the child has food allergies, make sure the parents outline them carefully so you can make all efforts to avoid a potentially dangerous reaction. Parents should keep a list of the foods to avoid on the refrigerator.

Also, if you are going to be cooking during your sit, find out what foods are acceptable to the parents and kid-friendly. Learn how to make fun, healthy versions of child favorites like pizza, spaghetti, tacos, hamburgers, cookies, and muffins


Disciplining Children

This can be a tricky one!

Discipline is primarily the responsibility of the parent but will fall upon the shoulders of the babysitter when parents are away. Learn the family’s preferred discipline strategy and follow it as closely as you can to maintain consistency for the child.

For example, the family may use ‘time-outs.’ This is where the child is removed from an activity for a short time (usually 1 to 10 minutes, 1 minute for each year of age) in order to discourage inappropriate behavior.

The child is usually placed in a quiet, safe space, alone, and can return once they are willing to behave. It’s not acceptable to scold or yell at a misbehaving child, and never, ever should a babysitter physically strike a child.

Always seek to resolve conflict in a safe, calm, and kind manner. If in doubt, always discuss this with the parents.


Helping with Homework

This may apply to school-aged children and could be part of a mutual agreement between you and the parents.

Parents may instruct you to ensure that all homework is done before the child is allowed to watch TV, play video games, or whatever recreational activity they want to do.


Being Prepared

If possible, bring some age-appropriate games or crafts to keep the child engaged and entertained. It’s recommended that you play along with the child as much as possible. This will make your time together more enjoyable, and will also help you bond with the child.

Parents are likely to ask the child “how did it go?” So it’s good to have some stand-out fun that the kids can recall. If kids enjoy themselves, then you’re more likely to get repeat work in the future!


Transporting Children To School and Events

This may be a babysitter’s responsibility if the parents work and are unable to drop off or pick up their child.

If car transport is required, make sure you use the correctly-sized child seat for their age and weight. Children 8 years and above are usually big enough not to require a booster seat but double-check in your city just to make sure.

Safety is the priority, so working seat belts and a reliable vehicle are necessities. These, and all things regarding the safe transportation of their child, should be discussed in detail with the parents ahead of time.


Get Children to Bed on Time

This is probably one of the toughest responsibilities for a babysitter as children are not always cooperative when it comes time for bed.

It may be more challenging for the babysitter than parents as children often test their boundaries with someone new.

Make sure the usual routine is followed as much as possible (e.g., putting on pajamas, having a snack, brushing teeth, reading stories). Ask the parents exactly how and when each step should be done.

A firm, yet kind, approach to a child that is unwilling to cooperate is often necessary. Just remember to stay calm and implement the routine.


Solving Conflict

Conflicts between children often arise because kids don’t yet have the skills to solve problems on their own. As a babysitter, it’s your job to gently guide them so they can come up with a solution themselves. This is how kids learn.


Being Patient

Being a good babysitter takes time, and caring for children can take plenty of time!

Learning can’t be rushed.

While it might seem frustrating at times, you’ll need to allow children to find their way, learn from their mistakes, and even take 15 minutes to tie their shoes!

You will quickly learn that planning ahead can end up saving you time.