Common Babysitter Duties and Responsibilities

Babysitter giving a piggyback

The Role of a Babysitter

A babysitter is responsible for caring for children in their home, on an occasional or short-term basis. This is often done under the guidance of the parents who will provide some instructions about how to care well for their children.

Being a babysitter is such an important role, so it’s crucial to be clear about the common duties and responsibilities that are involved.

The job of a babysitter varies from family to family, due to the different ages and stages of the children and the family’s requirements.

The babysitter’s responsibilities can be very broad, encompassing anything child-related.

The most important focus, however, is ensuring the children’s wellbeing and safety at all times.

In addition to childcare, parents may also ask you to help with child-related tasks such as children’s laundry, preparing children’s snacks and meals, tidying toys and light housekeeping.

You should discuss and agree on the details of the role with the parents, to ensure you’re clear about the role.

Here’s our handy checklist to help you plan ahead for being a babysitter, with a list of common babysitting duties and responsibilities.

Babysitter Duties and Responsibilities List

  • Ensure child safety and wellbeing at all times.
  • Foster a positive and nurturing environment.
  • Provide emotional support and comfort to the children.
  • Follow established routines and schedules as instructed by the parents.
  • Follow any parenting techniques or guidelines provided.
  • Manage the children’s screen time use, based on the parents’ guidelines.
  • Plan and engage in age and stage-appropriate activities and play at home.
  • Take the children on suitable outings, ensuring their safety and wellbeing at all times.
  • Support the development of age and stage-appropriate skills.
  • Prepare and serve healthy snacks and meals, following any dietary requirements.
  • Help with feeding, including preparing bottles and bottle-feeding babies.
  • Assist with bathing or showering children safely.
  • Assist with dressing and grooming children appropriately.
  • Support daily personal care skills including washing hands and brushing teeth.
  • Change diapers.
  • Support toilet training.
  • Manage naps.
  • Manage bedtime routines.
  • Maintain a clean and tidy environment.
  • Complete light housekeeping tasks that are child-related.
  • Transport to and from school by car, walking or public transport.
  • Drive children safely, with appropriate child seats.
  • Supervise or assist with school homework.
  • Accompany children to extra-curricular activities or playdates.
  • Communicate with parents regularly regarding updates, progress or concerns.
  • Keep a record of the daily meals, naps, events, medications or incidents for the parents.
  • Encourage and support positive behavior, guided by the parents.
  • Monitor and respond to any signs of illness.
  • Provide basic First Aid and CPR.
  • Seek medical attention in case of emergencies.
  • Administer prescribed medication, following directions carefully.
  • Manage medical or general emergencies calmly, using established emergency procedures.
  • Respect and maintain the privacy and confidentiality of the family.
  • Other:..................................................................
  • Other:...................................................................
  • Other:...................................................................

How to Build Skills for Being A Babysitter

Given how varied the role of a babysitter is, it’s worthwhile building up skills and experience. Here are a few ways you can learn more about the common duties and responsibilities of a babysitter.

Complete a Course

There are a number of courses available both online and in person for babysitters and nannies. A babysitting course can offer an excellent overview of the many skills involved in caring for children safely.

Undertake Work Experience

There’s nothing quite like real life experience for building skills as a babysitter. On the job training is a great way to learn. Seek out opportunities to babysit for friends and family. Look around your neighborhood for families who may need help.

Shadow the Parent

Offer to be a ‘mother’s helper’ or ‘father’s helper’ for a few shifts. In this role you work alongside the parent, shadowing them. You are not in sole charge of the children. During this time you can shadow the parent and learn the ropes.

Ask for Feedback

While you’re building your skills remember to ask for feedback, tips and suggestions from parents. They’ll be happy to share ideas.

When can the duties and responsibilities list be used?

Before starting a new job a babysitter can ask the parents to help complete the checklist. This will ensure that you agree on the requirements of the babysitting role. Sometimes people accidentally overlook certain tasks, so a comprehensive list will ensure that everything is covered.

Why write a list of the babysitting duties expected?

It’s helpful to have a list of the duties that a babysitter is responsible for during the shift. This is for both the parents and the babysitter. For the parents it’s a great way to explain the role and set expectations. Parents can be clear about what is involved or not. For the babysitter it’s helpful to clarify what the duties and responsibilities are. Working in a private home has so many different tasks, it can be difficult to determine what’s part of the role. Do you need to empty the dishwasher while you’re there? Do you need to keep the kids’ rooms tidy too? Should you initiate doing the children's laundry? It’s great to be crystal clear about what’s expected while you are babysitting the children. At the end of your shift you’ll be confident that you’ve done your job well!

Is pet care included in the babysitter’s duties and responsibilities?

Many families have pets, such as cats and dogs. The parents and babysitter should discuss and agree about whether the sitter undertakes any pet-related tasks. It depends on the pets involved and whether the babysitter has skills and confidence with pet care. It’s also important to check that the babysitter does not have any allergies to pets in the home.

Where are the babysitter’s responsibilities recorded?

The duties and responsibilities are usually listed in a babysitter job description, if there is one. If there isn’t any documentation you may like to print up the checklist above and complete it together during orientation. Then it can be kept in a convenient spot for quick reference or filed away.

We hope that this information helps clarify the range of babysitter duties and responsibilities involved in the role. We’re sure that you’ll be prepared now to be the best babysitter!