Babysitting can really take its toll on your nerves. It’s a stressful job as babies and toddlers can be very delicate, demanding, and sensitive to their environment. Let’s not forget, they’re also very cute, so it can cause you real grief to see them upset or hurt. That’s why it’s imperative you show up to babysitting gigs well-equipped and prepared for all contingencies that may emerge.
To help you out, here’s a detailed checklist of all the possible things you may need to bring while babysitting.
First, and most importantly, keep your checklist of all the things you’ll be bringing to your babysitting gig on hand. As you will be carrying a lot of items, it’s best to stay organized. You may be entitled to compensation or a higher fee for the babysitting equipment you utilize, so it’s a way to keep track of additional items you buy with your own money.
It doesn’t matter if it’s written down or on your phone, keep a checklist you can refer to nearby. Being organized is the hallmark of professionalism, and for people trusting you alone with their baby, professionalism really goes a long way towards helping you secure future gigs. Also read our article Ultimate Newborn Essentials Checklist.
First Aid Kit
Emergencies and accidents can occur at your job, so being prepared to administer first aid care is a part of your duty as the babysitter. There may be some things you still need to learn when it comes to first aid care for babies, but having a well-equipped first aid kit that can help with multiple contingencies is a start.
Here’s a basic first aid checklist of all the things you may require:
- Adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- Gauze pads
- Pain relief topical cream
- Cough syrup
- Tylenol caplets
- Non-medicated instant cold pack
- Cleansing wipes
- Two pairs of gloves
- Baby-friendly skin antiseptics
- Brief and helpful first aid guidebook
- Allergy medications or EpiPen if the child has certain allergies
In addition to these supplies, you need to learn at least a few emergency first aid practices like the Heimlich Maneuver and CPR. They take some time to learn, but are not too difficult and can be lifesaving. With some practice, anyone can learn how to do these techniques. It’s recommended that you watch some tutorials and perhaps get a doll to practice on.
On the off-chance that there’s no running tap or that there may be a pipeline issue at your babysitting location, it’s always good to stock up on at least three liters of bottled water on your way. You will need it both for drinking and cleaning in case there’s a water shortage.
Sometimes, babysitting gigs can go on for many hours. The parents may be running late or become caught up in an emergency. Bring some snacks that both you and the kid can enjoy. Here’s a mixed list of all the viable, nutritious, and tasty snacks you can bring for babies over nine months old:
- Baby food pouches
- Mashed roasted sweet potatoes (broken into small pieces first)
- Roasted zucchini (diced small)
- Banana mash
- Fresh raspberries
- Low sugar nut butter
- Full-fat plain yogurt
- Wholegrain graham crackers (broken into small pieces)
- Cheese sticks
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Rice cakes
- Roasted seaweed
- Kale chips
- Grapes (cut into small pieces first)
- Freeze-dried fruits
- Baby-friendly popsicles
- Store-bought waffles
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (cut into small pieces first)
- Smoothies for babies
- Lightly sauteed tofu
- Small carrot sticks
Babies who have just started teething may take some time to chew some of these foods. Make sure that you always feed the baby manually and that they have completely chewed each bite before feeding them the next one.
Remember, children can be really demanding and gluttonous at times, and they’re also very adorable so it’s important that you don’t succumb to their persuasive cuteness. Do not feed them more than in proportion to their size to avoid indigestion. And make sure you’ve checked up with the parents about their kid’s allergies before feeding them anything.
Tissues and Wet Wipes
No babysitter’s kit is complete without ample tissues and wet wipes. Just like plumbers need a wrench and gloves, babysitters need tissues and wet wipes.
Regular tissue can be a bit abrasive sometimes and babies have really delicate skin. So sanitary wet wipes are best for wiping the baby’s skin. And if you’re babysitting a toddler, there’ll be plenty of messes to clean.
Babies’ immune systems are still undergoing development, so they’re incredibly sensitive to pathogens. You need to bring hand sanitizers to keep your hands sterile when you’re handling or feeding a baby.
You may be a clean person, but due to the nature of the job, by handling diapers or wiping fluids from the baby’s face you come into contact with germs. It’s important to keep those hands clean to protect both you and the children you’re looking after.
It’s best to stock up on as many diapers as you can and ask the parents where they keep their spare diapers in case you run out. Diapers are available in many sizes and specifications. Make sure you purchase a high-quality disposable diaper.
Children demand more than just food and attention to stay happy. They can also start acting out due to boredom. To keep their minds stimulated with games not only proves beneficial for their cognitive development — which is undergoing rapid development — but also helps you bond with them and helps with them trusting you. Here are some examples of fun games you can bring to your babysitting gig:
- Jigsaw puzzles or any kind of age-appropriate puzzle
- Stuffed animals
- Scrabble (best for toddlers who have or are starting to develop speech)
- Karaoke machine
- Interactive storybooks
- Children-friendly oil pastels and drawing sheets
- Coloring books
- Video games
- Paper plate ring toss
- Bubble blower
- Bowling plastic cups
And if you’re running short on room for things to carry, there are many games you can play with children that don’t require any equipment. For example:
- Freeze dance
- Simon Says
- Tickle me
- Show and tell
- Monkey see, monkey do
Feel free to get creative and come up with some of your own exciting games. The best part about babies is that they don’t judge and try to enjoy everything.
Even babies that have yet to learn how to speak can still listen, and they are often quite perceptive. Storybooks can help you kill hours on babysitting gigs, especially for restless toddlers that haven’t learned to read yet.
Kids love stories and babysitting is an opportunity for you to not only look after, but also to educate their newly forming minds. Reading stories is a great place to start. Often when people try to recall their childhoods, one of their fondest memories are listening to their parents or grandparents read them stories.
Craft games are another brilliant way to keep kids engaged while helping them explore their creativity. It can also help them develop some hobbies early in life and become a fun exercise for both of you. Here are some suggestions:
- Paper planes
- Building blocks
- Coloring books
- Sand art games
- Dress-up dolls
- Large beads and strings
- Paper quilling kit for kids
- Hand paint
- Cross stitch games
With toys, you can come up with your own make-believe games to play with kids. These kinds of games are more important for toddlers and children than people realize. They’re just starting to develop their imagination, which is a tool that will become very useful in their future lives.
Things like storytelling, toys, crafts, and all kinds of make-believe games all help to nurture the development of this intuitive process.
Change of Clothes
Accidents can happen — spilled food and drinks or, God forbid, vomiting are not uncommon. It’s best to stay prepared by bringing a change of clothes for both yourself and for the baby. If you don’t want to carry a whole set of clothes, you can bring an apron to the job too.
Things You Should Avoid Bringing
Here are some things that you should avoid bringing to your babysitting gig. They may upset the parents or be potentially dangerous for babies and toddlers.
- Scissors or anything with sharp edges
- Legos and all small toys that can be swallowed
- Chocolates and candies
- Lighters and flammable fluids
- Medication (if you can’t avoid bring it, make sure it stays out of the children’s reach)
As you may have surmised from the length of this list, babysitting is not an easy task. That’s why they often say being a mother is the hardest job on this planet. Babies require constant attention and monitoring because until their brains fully develop, they are a danger to themselves.
We hope you found this checklist insightful and that you refer to it when putting together your babysitting kit. Remember, don’t be a minimalist. You never know when you might need something from this list. It’s not paranoia to come well-equipped; it’s prudence.