Babysitting is a great role which allows the person to earn some extra income in their spare evenings and weekends. A role which is often known to be completed by college and university students. It’s a role however with huge responsibilities for the care and welfare of children whilst parents are out usually enjoying some much earned time away.
Much like the role of a nanny, a babysitter doesn’t require any specific qualifications or training. A babysitter isn’t required by legislation to meet any minimum standards or expectations. Quite literally anyone can become a babysitter and advertise their services for such and begin working quite quickly in their local area. You can find hundreds of local babysitters available to book within minutes using directory style websites and apps (such as Bubble Childcare and childcare.co. uk). Many of these have no formal qualification for working with children, or professional experience. These website complete very few checks on the person joining and advertising their services and their checks are not consistent across all babysitters. The responsibility falls solely on parents to ensure the person they are hiring for babysitting is suitable.
Due to the role having no minimum expectations, standards or regulations held over it, anyone can choose to offer their services, including persons of questionable character. This has raised huge concerns for us at SafeCircle Sitters and so we have partnered with Regulation Matters in their campaign to see all home based childcare regulated to reduce risk and increase safeguarding for children.
Whilst caring for a child is far more than a qualification and professional experience we consider this a good place to start as everyone has different styles of childcare and parenting which is not always suitable for use when caring for other parents children.
A qualification will teach a person recognised methods and techniques for providing basic care and managing behaviours, and professional experience outside of the family and friends circles (such as working in a school or nursery) will enable the babysitter to use the knowledge they have from their qualification in practice under the guide of a mentor before being placed in the solo responsibility role of caring for children.
When someone is studying for a qualification in childcare they have to complete work place experience and during this period they are not left to complete any care of the children unsupervised. This is because they do not yet have the qualifications and experience to be able to safely care for children.
So whilst there is no minimum standards or expectations for a babysitter in the UK, and quite literally anyone can advertise their services as a babysitter, SafeCircle would recommend that you use a childcare qualified adult with professional experience to minimise the risks.