Babysitting during a Pandemic

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Mia LaVine

With the occurrence of a deadly pandemic that has dragged on over the past year, many people have lost job security, and unemployment has become more dangerous than ever. Many small and family-owned businesses have shut down, lacking the resources to keep their own stores open, such as money, or attendance. Many others have relocated their work to their homes, where it is hard to find access to the technology and equipment that may be present at a workplace. Although this is a large impediment to the normal daily life of people, one of the largest problems that has arisen is childcare. With young kids out of school, parents have to juggle working, and homeschooling, which most people have no experience in. Kids require more attention now than ever, but it is harder to make time for this attention. 

For older kids, without normal school and social interactions, students have found themselves increasingly bored, searching for past times. In past years, bored students have turned to work, especially in the summer, to keep themselves busy while also making a small income and providing for the community. With the number of adults displaced from their jobs, there is barely enough work to go around. For years babysitting has been a valuable job to students, and parents, and can even become an enjoyable type of labor. But with the risk of illness, and the uncertainty of the future, how can students babysit safely and effectively, and how can parents access proper child care?

It’s almost an automatic conclusion for some parents, babysitting could not possibly be safe, letting a stranger into the house could put the health of the entire family at risk. Other parents think more deeply into the situation, and question alternative ways of childcare that could be useful. With newly surfaced regulations, the hiring process of a secure and reliable babysitter has become quite tedious. Although it may be harder to, it is much more beneficial to hire a babysitter that you know personally. As always, it is important to ask questions when considering someone, although now these questions are different, accustomed to the change in standards. Parents have to make sure that their babysitter is reviewing the risk that is at hand, the morals of the sitter, and the expectations of the sitter, like having to wear a mask ect… The sitter also has to take these same precautions and be careful to confirm that the family is responsible and trustworthy, for it is not as simple to jump around to different houses and families as it may have been in the past. Sitters need job security as much as anyone else may, so it is exceedingly important to develop a set schedule. 

With any job, there is always the question of money, and payment. In most employment, there is a set minimum wage, and the amount of money you will receive on each paycheck should remain the same. For babysitting, these rules do not apply. The amount of money the sitter is paid mainly revolves around how much work they do, such as whether they clean the house or do the dishes, or if they are simply working as a helper while the parent is home, and anything in between. Another deciding factor when it comes to payment in babysitting is the family, and how much they are willing to give, as well as how much the sitter is asking for. Most people, especially students and current-day teens who may have lost important social skills during quarantine, are not bold enough to negotiate for the purpose of higher payment. But price negotiating often comes with the job, and this teaches babysitters how to advocate for themselves. There seems to be a common pattern in babysitting that the sitter’s relation to the family also plays a factor in payment. For example, if someone were to babysit for their siblings, they would be paid much less by their parents than if they had worked for a more distant family, if at all. This poses a problem, for, in the times of Covid, babysitting for your own family would be one of the more practical ways to help out stay busy, while developing experience in work. 

Overall, babysitting is a very smart and almost creative way to make money, and allows teenagers to develop important life skills that can benefit them in the future, not only involving child care, but also with working in general. As well as this, babysitting is a very convenient job that is easy to find, and a very practical way for students and teens to stay busy while making money and developing life skills. Now more than ever, people need help, and proper childcare is very important, so reach out to the people around you, and take the next step to develop your future. Babysitting allows you to build relationships with families and children, which can easily bridge into other opportunities, and provide references for future employers. Through gaining experience early in life, babysitting provides a gateway to extensive financial confidence, and the ability to maintain a semi-stable salary. By becoming capable of this at a young age, the path to future success can become much clearer, and the young men and women in babysitting learn a strong sense of responsibility that they may not have acquired through anything else.