Tips for a Successful Virtual Babysitting Appointment
Babysits’ nannies, childminders and babysitters can now offer ‘virtual babysitting’ – a unique feature designed to give parents a moment of peace so they can work, have a Zoom meeting or complete household tasks.
What is Virtual Babysitting?
Virtual babysitting is the process of babysitting children via a video-calling platform such as Zoom, Skype or Caribu. Virtual babysitting offers a unique and interactive experience whereby children can engage with their babysitter through educational activities, crafts, pretend play, reading or song. For more information, read What is Babysitting Remotely?
Does Virtual Babysitting work?
Virtual babysitting can work really well as a unique alternative to in-person babysitting. Virtual babysitting is particularly helpful for busy families, including families with parents who work from home. But don’t take our word for it! We babysat for the children of two journalists: one located in Singapore and the other in Ireland. You can read about their experiences in AsiaOne and Evoke.
Tips for babysitters:
1. Go with the flow
Oftentimes, virtual babysitting will not go as you had planned or expected. But that’s okay! The trick is to roll with the punches and let the child lead. Are they super energetic and excited? Then you might decide to do an activity, game or exercise rather than read a storybook or engage in yoga, for example.
Children are often unpredictable and, of course, every child is different! So, we suggest that you have a schedule planned and activities prepared but to also be flexible in adapting to the situation.
2. Create a schedule
Creating a schedule ahead of time is a great idea to get the ball rolling and to ensure that you maintain the child’s attention throughout the entire duration of your virtual babysitting appointment. Print out our Virtual Babysitting Planner so you’re prepared!
For inspiration, take a look at the list of activity ideas below:
Activity Suggestions for Virtual Babysitting Appointments
- Read a storybook (downloading an ebook and screen sharing works best)
- Treasure hunt (ask the child to find 3 blue objects, 1 triangular shaped object, etc.)
- Exercise together (use our exercise routine for kids)
- Yoga for Kids (this is great if the child is very hyper and needs a ‘cool down’ exercise)
- Simple arts and crafts
- Color and draw together
- Educational activities
- Sing songs together
- Pretend play
- Play games (e.g. “I Spy”, Rhyming Time, Twenty Questions)
3. Personalize the appointment
Before having your first virtual babysitting appointment, you can prepare by asking the parents what their kid(s) are interested in. For example, if their children absolutely love superheros and princesses, you can personalize your virtual babysitting schedule accordingly.
Tip: make sure you ask the parent to prepare coloring pencils, crayons, paper and whatever else you will need during your appointment. You can send your virtual babysitting schedule to the parent ahead of time so that they know what to prepare.
4. Optimize your skills (homework helper, teach a language or an instrument)
Do you have any special skills or talents that you could teach? For example, if you speak another language or play an instrument, you can offer to teach these skills via virtual babysitting!
Are you a great homework helper? Offering online homework help is also a great way to make the most of your skills. Take a look at our 4 free printable math worksheets to get started.
5. Use Caribu as your video-calling platform
Caribu is an excellent platform to use for virtual babysitting. If you’re not familiar, Caribu is a family video-calling app integrating children’s books and activities to create fun and engaging video-call experiences. You can opt to use Caribu activities and storybooks for the entire duration of your virtual babysitting appointment, or a combination of activities inside and outside of the app.
Tips for parents:
1. Meet the babysitter beforehand
It is essential that you meet with your virtual babysitter before scheduling an appointment. You can contact them either online or in-person to conduct an interview and determine whether the potential babysitter is the right fit for your family.
2. Make the most of Babysits’ global platform
Babysits is a global community, with more than 1.7 million users worldwide. Virtual babysitting is a great opportunity to connect with international babysitters for skills and cultural experiences that your child might not otherwise have access to.
For example, would you like your child to learn a second language? Virtual babysitting is the perfect opportunity to connect with an international language tutor. Get started by searching for a babysitter in the country of your choice using the homepage search bar.
3. Stay within earshot
Virtual babysitting is not a replacement for in-person babysitting services. Naturally, virtual babysitters cannot attend to a child’s needs through the screen. Therefore, it is essential that parents remain within earshot of their child at all times.
4. Prepare your child
Before the appointment, provide your child with a simple explanation of virtual babysitting so that they know what to expect. This is particularly important for very young or shy children, who might take some time to adjust and feel comfortable with their new virtual sitter.
5. Provide the babysitter with information about your child
Provide the virtual babysitter with a list of your child’s interests and hobbies before your first virtual babysitting appointment. This will help the babysitter prepare for the appointment, and help them maintain your child’s attention throughout the duration of the appointment.
Free Video Platforms for Virtual Babysitting
- Facebook Messenger
- Google Hangouts
Need a moment to yourself? Virtual babysitters are ready to lend a helping hand. Start searching now to schedule a moment of much needed “me-time.”