Written by Teresa as a part of the We’re Kids Too series.
Now that I work at Step2, I don’t have as much time on my hands to babysit as I used to––maybe once in a while on weekends if someone calls me, but throughout high school and college, I was always pretty lucky to find a lot of work as a babysitter. I believe this fun, rewarding job taught me some pretty important life lessons about creativity, work ethic, accountability and the importance of fun! Here are some lessons I learned from babysitting:
- Kids are natural creatives: Kids are basically superhuman when it comes to their innate levels of creativity. As an art student, life could be stressful and crazy, which would put a damper on creativity. During my time babysitting, drawing and crafting with the kids after class was always so inspirational that it sometimes gave me ideas for my own projects for school. I believe we have a lot to learn and observe from children’s artwork. They are always coming up with fantastic ideas and creative concepts and they hardly seem to get “creative block” the way adults do.
- Be timely and respectful and your clients will keep giving you work: When I first started babysitting, I was just a kid myself and I learned some basic lessons about acting like an adult and having respect for others’ time. I found that the sooner I got back to people, the more babysitting gigs I would land. I also learned that building a good reputation would earn me more clients in the long run. Eventually, this led to me being able to get several babysitting gigs a week through college.
- Cooking is actually fun and awesome: A lot of times the families that hired me would actually trust me with ingredients & a recipe , and when I didn’t totally mess it up, it was a huge confidence booster. Eventually, cooking dinner for the kids became my favorite part of the evening! Babysitting definitely demystified cooking for me and I discovered how fun it could be
- It’s okay to make a huge mess: I learned that the cleanup was well worth play dough on the kitchen table, or DIY pizza toppings, or playing in the rain outside, and muddy shoes. Babysitting isn’t supposed to be boring! A clean kitchen table is temporary, but fun memories last.
- Laughter is the best medicine: We all know kids are hilarious, and in my mind the humor of what they say far outweighs any ear-torture of a screaming temper tantrum. I got to a point where I had to start writing down all the funny stuff that I was hearing. They really are true comedians!
- Time flies: A lot of the kids I used to watch are now old enough to be babysitters themselves! Some have even graduated high school by now. So, I’ve learned that no matter what, it’s important to live in the moment because time goes by so quickly.
- Parents are real-life superheroes: We all know that kids can be difficult sometimes. But at least I could go home at the end of the day. All of the parents I’ve worked with have some serious multitasking and superhero skills. They taught me the true meaning of work ethic, the importance of team work, and just how much one person can accomplish, which is a LOT. Not only do they seem to have productivity superpowers, but the parents that I know are quite obviously superheroes in their kids’ eyes! Anytime I feel overwhelmed, I think about other people who do so much more than me and it gives me the added motivation to get things done. Parents are really inspiring in how much they do!
Did you ever babysit? What lessons did you learn?
Teresa works in Creative Services at Step2. She’s also a visual artist, a bookworm and a diehard Incubus fan. When she’s not drawing or painting, she’s going to concerts, playing with her two dogs, Augie and Lucy and going on hiking adventures with her boyfriend Matt.