Don't Sit On the Baby!: The Ultimate Guide to Sane, Skilled, and Safe Babysitting

Don't Sit On the Baby!: The Ultimate Guide to Sane, Skilled, and Safe Babysitting

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by Halley Bondy

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Babysitting is one of the most popular part-time jobs for teens, but caring for kids is no easy feat. Offering a ton of useful tips, this funny, modern no-nonsense guide covers all the basics any babysitting hopeful needs to know, and much more.


  • What to expect from kids age 0 to 10
  • Tips for finding (and keeping) the


Babysitting is one of the most popular part-time jobs for teens, but caring for kids is no easy feat. Offering a ton of useful tips, this funny, modern no-nonsense guide covers all the basics any babysitting hopeful needs to know, and much more.


  • What to expect from kids age 0 to 10
  • Tips for finding (and keeping) the perfect babysitting gig
  • Advice on how to deal with everything from emergencies to dirty diapers
  • Strategies for communicating with parents
  • Real-life stories from teens about their experiences on the job

PLUS: A babysitting personality quiz, helpful fill-in sheets, and kid-friendly recipes teens can use to make mealtime more fun!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With light humor and ample encouragement, Bondy introduces prospective babysitters to the basics, including what to expect from different children at different ages, finding clients, keeping kids comfortable and safe, and handling emergency situations. Presenting babysitting as a challenging but rewarding way to earn money and build experience, Bondy also includes personal testimonies and practical advice from tween and teenage babysitters. Quizzes, recipes, and tips for starting a babysitters club should entertain and ease readers into their first gig. Ages 12–up. (June)
From the Publisher

“With light humor and ample encouragement, Bondy introduces prospective babysitters to the basics…(this book will) entertain and ease readers into their first gig.” — Publishers Weekly

“Teens can learn all they need to know to become savvy sitters with this guide…The book’s friendly tone and common-sense advice suit both brand-new sitters and those who are looking to improve their skills.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Bondy writes in a tone that is fresh and authentic….An attractive package bolstered with anecdotes from real-life teen sitters, this is a solid, useful choice for all libraries." — Booklist

“If every job had a guidebook as easy to read yet informative as Don’t Sit on the Baby, we would all be choosing our careers more wisely. . . . Much of this information would be useful to job seekers in any field. For would-be child-care providers, though, it’s an absolute goldmine.” — ForeWord Reviews

Children's Literature - Jody Little
This complete how to guide covers everything—and more—that a teen might need to know to become a babysitter. The first section covers topics such as what is babysitting, what types of babysitting jobs may suit them, and what to expect from kids ages newborn to ten. Section two covers essential skills such as feeding, dressing, playing, bathing, bedtime, and keeping kids healthy. The final section includes tips on how to get a job, how to interview, how much to charge, and even how to quit a job. While targeted at teens, the tone is occasionally silly and the humor often feels forced which may be irritating to some readers. Overall, the detail dispensed relating to caring for kids is far too dense and likely overwhelming. The section about marketing yourself as a babysitter and getting a job is overly formal and somewhat unrealistic as many teens find babysitting work easily from neighbors, family, friends, and referrals. More emphasis addressing CPR and first-aid training should be given upfront. The author includes enjoyable recipes to try and testimonials from teen babysitters. Emergency listings, educational websites, and index are also included. Reviewer: Jody Little
VOYA - Suzanne Osman
Caring for children takes an inordinate amount of patience, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and . . . reading this little yellow book. Bondy begins with a short quiz to assess what kind of sitter the reader is (or is not). She then describes personality and behavioral traits at every age group, from newborns through preteens. Next she details how to deal with various babysitting tasks and dilemmas, such as putting kids to bed, homework help, and discipline. Throughout this section she includes brief narratives (called "Tales from the Crib") written by actual teenage babysitters, which expand and personalize the information. Emergency boxes are sprinkled around highlighting safety tips, such as what to do if a child ingests a toxic substance, how to take a child's temperature, and how to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. There is even a section for babysitters on how to care for themselves, like managing stress levels, honoring the body, and curing an illness in its early stages. The book ends with business strategies to help babysitters write a resume, advertise their services, feel confident during interviews, and figure out a reasonable fee. General websites and phone numbers are given for further research, such as the Red Cross Babysitter's Training Course, Sittercity's Compendium of Extraordinary Knowledge, Kids Health, and Scholastic Homework Hub. There is also an index. For your teenagers who are beginning to babysit, this book is a solid contemporary addition to your babysitter guides. Reviewer: Suzanne Osman
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Wearing multiple hats as a writer and editor for MTV World, a former nanny puts her comedy skills to work in this useful guide. The table of contents, index, and list of resources, including both the phone number of the Poison Control Center and a link to the Yo Gabba Gabba! craft website, make it a valuable tool. Bondy explains the reality of babysitting kids of all ages, from teething infants to bored first graders. She does not sugarcoat the challenges or make it seem like an impossible task. Additionally, the tone is gender-neutral, never assuming that the audience is female. The book is well organized and clearly written and has the added bonus of offering tips for how to create a résumé and find a babysitting job. Given its slightly sarcastic tone, it should find a willing audience among upper middle school through high school students and would make an excellent addition to career/job search collections.—Sarah Knutson, American Canyon Middle School, CA

Product Details

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Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt


Kids come in a variety of ages, and each age requires a different level and type of care. As a babysitter, you’ll need to decide what age group you’re most comfortable with so that you can narrow down your job hunt. Not sure? This quick breakdown will clue you in on the personality traits and skills you’ll need to care for kids ages 0 to 10. And don’t forget to wash your hands before you care for any kid!

Newborns (0 to 3 Months Old)

What They’re Like

  • These tiny creatures can hardly move, support their own heads, or hold their own bottles.
  • They need a good dose of formula or pumped breast milk around every two to three hours, or they may start crying hysterically.
  • The good news: Newborns sleep for sixteen hours a day at two to three hour intervals.
  • The bad news: You’re looking at full-on diaper duty.
What You’ll Need

  • A gentle touch and a desire to be really, really needed. Newborns are fragile (their bones haven’t fully developed yet), and you’ll be carrying them a lot.
  • Decoding skills. Cracking the newborn language code isn’t easy. They don’t cry only when they’re hungry. Maybe the little booger already ate and needs to be burped. Or maybe she’s uncomfortable and needs a diaper change, an extra sweater, or a good rocking session. It’s your job to figure it out.
  • Maturity. In general, you shouldn’t babysit for a newborn until you’re at least fourteen years old, or until you have plenty of experience.


Infants (4 to 11 Months Old)

What They’re Like

  • These kids are starting to crawl, sit, and eventually walk (with your help!).
  • Younger infants are probably learning how to hold their own bottles, while older ones are likely eating mushy stuff (like baby food) on top of their scheduled feedings. If they can support their own heads and necks, they can sit in a high chair during meals.
  • Diapers are still the norm.
  • Infants will usually sleep multiple times a day for hours at a time.
  • An infant’s jibber-jabber may help you figure out why she’s crying.
  • Infants start teething at six months old, which means you’re in for a lot of drooling, chewing, and crankiness.
  • They also start to feel separation anxiety at about eight months old, which means they may fuss and cry for a while after their parents leave.
What You’ll Need

  • A cautious eye to make sure that the kids don’t sidle up next to sharp things.
  • Plenty of cleaning materials nearby, since food and drool will get everywhere.
  • A patient attitude. It’s easy to get frustrated when the kids take a long time to finish their mush, or when you can’t stop the crying right away.


Toddlers (1 to 2 Years Old)

What They’re Like

  • These kids can move. Fast. This is not always fun in the middle of a diaper change or dinner, or when there are safety hazards (like stairs) involved, but they will give you a great workout!
  • Toddlers can usually drink out of covered cups and eat solid food with their hands (have cleaning supplies handy).
  • They sleep for about ten to thirteen hours at night.
  • They’ll likely still need diapers, though some early birds start potty-training at this age.
  • They should be able to tell you (even if it’s in their own special language) that they need to be changed.
  • The littlest things can become cataclysmic whinefests. (There’s a reason they call it the Terrible Twos.)
What You’ll Need

  • A lot of patience. These kids want to assert their independence, and sometimes the best way they know how to do that is with a tantrum.
  • The ability to take a deep breath, use a calm tone of voice, and not react from your gut immediately.
  • Lots of extra energy, since these kids are starting to get into active games, like tag or finding hidden objects.


Preschoolers (3 to 4 Years Old)

What They’re Like

  • Preschoolers can walk and run on their own, though they’ll need to hold your hand sometimes, especially when crossing the street.
  • By this age, kids are typically potty-training with adult assistance, and they may wear diapers at night.
  • These kids need supervision in the tub, and they probably need help getting cleaned and dressed.
  • These kids can tell you when they’re hungry and what they want to eat, and they are learning to feed themselves with regular utensils.
  • They can be really picky, and mealtime can drag on due to an endless number of delaying tactics (theirs, not yours).
  • Some of these kids will do anything to not face bedtime, and when they do go to sleep, they may have nightmares!
What You’ll Need

  • A lot of creativity (and maybe your old Halloween costumes). Preschoolers love make-believe games. They also love books, though they won’t know how to read for a few more years.
  • Patience. You’ll need to be flexible, since they often get stubborn or defiant.
  • An arsenal of lullabies. While they sleep for about ten to twelve hours at night, four-year-olds may have a nasty case of nightmares and will need you to help lull them back to sleep.


Kindergarteners to 2nd Graders (5 to 7 Years Old)

What They’re Like

  • My, my, they grow up so fast! These kids can pretty much take care of the basics—dressing, eating, and bathing—by themselves, so you probably won’t need to chase them down too much. Unless, of course, you’re playing tag.
  • They may still need help with more advanced tasks like cutting, drawing, and reading, but that’s the fun part.
  • Kindergarteners may still be picky about what food they eat, but they can eat regular meals without your help (and they probably don’t want your help either).
  • They should be able to go to the bathroom and take a bath without your help (though you should always supervise bath time just in case).
  • At night, there might be some rare cases of bedwetting. If you’re grossed out, try your best to not freak out.
What You’ll Need

  • Stellar negotiating tactics. By now the kids can speak totally clearly, and they’ve also learned how to use words to their advantage. Though serious tantrums should have stopped, these kids may still put up a fight (or worse, lie to you) about things like bed time, homework, and their snack allowance.
  • Creative cooking skills. Kids this age tend to be picky eaters.


3rd to 5th Graders (8 to 10 Years Old)

What They’re Like

  • These kids are more or less independent and biding time before they don’t need a babysitter.
  • You’ll probably still need to cook or order food for them, but they can at least help around the kitchen.
  • If you do need to chase them down for anything, it will likely be to do their homework (which they might need your help with). Better brush up on that long division!
What You’ll Need

  • Flexibility and an open mind. Older children can communicate very clearly, and they’re forming an independent, critical point of view. In other words, they might be know-it-alls.
  • They’re pretty much up to their own thing, so you’ll need to figure out when to stay out of their way (i.e., if they have a trusted friend over and they’d like to play a game without you—of course you’ll still be keeping an eye on them) and when to intervene (i.e., if they’re online when they’re not supposed to be).

Meet the Author

Halley Bondy is a Brooklyn-based writer who has worked as a news reporter for the Newark Star Ledger, an arts journalist for Back Stage, and a music editor for MTV Iggy. She started babysitting as a teenager, joined the Barnard Babysitting Agency in college, and worked as a full-time nanny from 2007 to 2008.

Halley Bondy is a Brooklyn-based writer who has worked as a news reporter for the Newark Star Ledger, an arts journalist for Back Stage, and as an editor for MTV Iggy. A playwright, comedian, and the winner of the 2008 Fringe Festival NYC for Outstanding Playwright, she is the author of Don’t Sit on the Baby (Zest Books 2012).

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Don't Sit on the Baby!: The Ultimate Guide to Sane, Skilled, and Safe Babysitting 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a gr8 help for me. Im 10 & next year im taking the Red Cross class. And this book helped me and gave me great advice. Id really reccomend it to people who are going to start babysitting!