babysitter and childHaving children does not mean you have to spend the next 18 years without help. Parents typically turn to childcare, day care or nanny care when they must return to work, but what about those times when parents need a little adults-only interaction? Babysitters are there to provide temporary care for children, typically in the afternoon or evening, when parents need to step out and step back into those adult shoes.

The History of Babysitting
In 1947, the term babysitter was first used in literature. The term, in those days, is thought to have literally represented a care provider sitting or watching a child in one room while parents were busy entertaining in another. The definition of babysitting has evolved over the years and babysitters have grown younger and younger with that evolution. Today, babysitters are generally teens who want to earn extra money by caring for children in the evening while parents step out of the home.

What is Involved in Babysitting?
The duties and responsibilities of a babysitter will vary from one family to the next and also based on the age of the child being cared for. Infants and young toddlers require extra care, including diaper changes, bottle feeding and constant contact. Older children may be more self-sustaining. They can use the restroom without being watched and require no help eating, drinking or playing independently. Older babysitters may be given permission to drive children to school or extracurricular activities. Before hiring a babysitter for any occasion, it is best to lay the ground rules and specifically note what is and is not allowed during babysitting time.

Personal Time While Babysitting

Babysitters may find they have plenty of free time, especially if child care is occurring in the evening or late at night. While most parents have no issues with babysitters watching television, talking on the phone or accessing the Internet, all parents are different. Parents should set ground rules prior to leaving the home and babysitters should be prepared to meet those ground rules. Remember, the care of the child is the foremost goal of babysitting.

Babysitting has a long history that started with care providers watching children in the home while parents entertained other adult guests. The term and job description has evolved over the years to describe an older child or early teen providing temporary care for a child while parents are out of the home.

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