Being the Boss without Being Bossy

One of my favorite things about school is when I walk into class and see a substitute teacher. It is as though it is an underwritten rule that you have to take advantage of the substitute teacher.

Some substitute teachers don’t know how to handle the chaos of a classroom and they think if they can treat the students as though they are at boot camp for the Army. But a good substitute teacher can completely keep the class in order without being bossy.

Well, guess what! When you walk into the house as the babysitter, those precious little children look at you the same way you did at your substitute teacher. You can choose to be bossy and hope for the best (and probably be pretty miserable) or you can be a babysitter that kids love and listen to.

I promise that if the babysitting job gets off to a good start, you’ll be able to prevent a lot of future problems and find that the kids are much easier to handle. Check out this video and learn my favorite babysitting tips to start strong and be a babysitter boss.

Being the boss without being bossy.

Kids are notorious for taking advantage of babysitters.

What are you guys doing? I can eat as much candy as I want.

I need my iPad.

My mom lets me stay up as long as I want.

Being a Babysitter Boss isn’t always about being bossy. It’s about handling what the job throws at you. If you get off to a good start, you can prevent a lot of future problems and when problems do crop up, they will be way easier to handle.

Here are my favorite tips for being a babysitter that kids love and listen to.

Number one. Take good notes when you meet with the parents before the job. Ask what the house rules are, what foods are off limits, what the expectations are for homework time, and what the rules are for non-homework screen time. But also ask what the child’s favorite activities are. What comforts them when they get upset? And what special treats are they allowed to have? Jot this information down on your phone or in a notepad so you can refer to it when you need to.

Number two. When you meet with the kids, get down on their level, look them in the eye, and smile! Greet them by name. If you want them to listen to you, you need to listen to them.

Number three. Don’t just supervise the kids. Play with them! Part of your job is to keep the kids entertained. You can head off a lot of problems if you suggest some fun activities that you guys can do together instead of waiting for the kids to find trouble.

Number four. Keep your cool. Your job is also to enforce the rules. When the kids ask to stay up past their bedtime or eat something that’s off limits. Let them know that you’re sorry, but part of your job is to enforce the parent’s rules.

Sorry, your mom said no cookies today.

Don’t be mean, just be matter of fact, then change the subject and suggest a game that you can play together or ask if they want to do one of their favorite activities.

Number five. Help the kids keep their cool too. If a child starts acting out, distract them by asking about their favorite game or toy. This works for older kids too, just ask them about music or sports or whatever else interests them.

And check out my video on babysitting bad behavior hacks for more ideas on how to keep the tantrums at bay. There you go, that’s how to be a Babysitter Boss.

Check out more Babysitter Boss videos.

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Take a Safe Sitter® class and learn more child care skills. Find a class near you!