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Life around the world

Babysitting: harder than it looks

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Most people assume that babysitting is one of the easiest jobs available for young people. Many imagine a bored teenager putting a few well-behaved children to bed at 9 o'clock and then continuing to watch television until the parents return home to hand over some money. Well, I can tell you how wrong that stereotype is.

As I only work three days a week in France, I decided that a good way to get out of the house – and earn some extra money – would be to look for a babysitting job. I looked after children a lot when I was at school, and I remembered it as being quite easy.

I now work all day on a Wednesday for a Ukrainian family with three young boys. I am there to look after them while their mother does errands and takes care of her six month old baby. However, I am also there to improve their English by teaching them songs and games in my native language.

Now, four months later, I get home at the end of the day absolutely exhausted! Babysitting is not a job for the lazy – or the weak. I expected perfect children who would behave well and listen to me all the time. Sadly, I don't think those kind of children exist at all. While my two boys are usually polite and calm, they are typical children and also like to fight, scream and throw tantrums for no real reason.

Being a babysitter requires you to take on a hundred different roles throughout the day. I have to be a friend when I play with the boys, but their teacher when I tell them to do something. When they hurt themselves, I have to be their nurse, and when they fight over silly things like sharing their crayons, I have to be a negotiator. When lunchtime rolls around I am cook, and then maid as I clean up after them. Finally, in English, if someone is very tolerant we say they have the “patience of a saint”. I think I embody this expression sometimes!

Despite the exhaustion involved in my job, I usually do enjoy it. Working with children is very rewarding, but I'm always relieved to leave them with their parents and come home to a quiet house at the end of the day!

Have you ever babysat for younger siblings or someone else's children? Did you find it easy or difficult?


iva10's picture
iva10 3 March, 2015 - 15:25

I have babysat my litlle brother ,because he s too young to be alone at home.It isn t easy as it looks,but I have fun too.

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Harabeli Supersweet's picture
Harabeli Supersweet 30 January, 2015 - 15:41

No, I haven't, but I teach Maths almost everyday to my 9 years old neighbour. It's really hard, because he gets very distracted. He's such a nice kid, but it doesn't make teaching him easier. After the lesson, I have to play with him too, I teach him tongue twisters in English, we watch movies together. So, I can say that I enjoy helping him, but when I'm tired I can hardly wait to finish the lessons. Kids these days are really spoiled. I think 90s kids were so much better.

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Silvermist's picture
Silvermist 24 January, 2015 - 16:37

Yes I have and yes I am. Im babysitting my 6 yr old brother who always wants me to play with him. Lego, cars, pretending to be a doctor and more..... I really find it a bit irritating rather than easy or difficult.

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Lavender's picture
Lavender 23 January, 2015 - 17:09

Here I am who always bring lunch if I have to study all day at school. I live far from my school, it takes me an hour to get to school by bus. So I have to wake up at 5AM (school starts at 7), rush to have breakfast and pack the lunch that I made the night before. My friends told me to buy lunch from the cafeteria but I want to save the money. Besides cooking for my own is a way to improve my cooking skill. And the meal would be more nutritious. The thing I don’t like is my menu kind of simple just like you. It includes rice, vegetables and meat, it can be beef, pork, chicken, fish, shrimp. The second things I don’t like that preparing lunch (and other meals) takes time. But I think it’s worth!

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JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 24 January, 2015 - 07:43

Hi Lavender,
I think you may have written this comment on the wrong page. Don't worry, it's always nice to hear from you! 
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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