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Tips for Successful
Virtual Babysitting Sessions

Tips for Parents

Below are a few recommendations for parents to have successful sessions with virtual babysitters:

To participate in virtual babysitting, children must be at least four years old. We have found that virtual babysitters have best results when children are at least six years old.

We have found that sessions are best when they are less than four hours.

An adult must be in the home during the virtual babysitting session in case an emergency arises. In the event of an emergency, the virtual sitter will try to contact you on the phone number you provide him/her.

Any internet-enabled device works for the session, but we recommend children be set up on a device that allows them to move around to different rooms, outside, etc. (e.g., tablet, cell phone).

Remember to charge the device that is being used in advance.

Let the virtual babysitter know of any activities that you need them to do with the child (e.g., homework or online classroom). If you’re asking the babysitter to do any teaching of new concepts (e.g., about the Roman Empire), please let him/her know in advance and consider paying the babysitter for the preparation time they invest in the lesson.

Set the virtual babysitter up for success. Let them know if there are any rewards or reinforcers they can use to motivate children and/or encourage compliance. Examples of possible rewards include extra outdoor time, extra screen time, picking the movie for family movie night, or a small piece of candy.

Be sure to review our safety guidelines, as well. Most importantly, remember to:
Speak with sitter before leaving children alone with him/her,
Never share physical address besides city and state,
Never share photos of children,
Never allow photos or videos to be taken during the session,
Check in on children periodically during session,
Set clear expectations of virtual babysitter (e.g., if you do not want your children playing outside, tell the sitter),
Provide a phone number where the sitter can reach you in the event of an emergency.
Remember to pay the sitter at the end of the session.
Most accept payment through Venmo, CashApp, and/or Zelle. You might want to consider paying half before and half after the session.

Tips for Virtual Babysitters

Below are a few administrative recommendations for virtual babysitters to have successful sessions with their families:

Set up an account for video conferencing. Most parents seem to like Zoom and FaceTime best. Zoom has free account options for one-to-one calls (they charge if more than 2 groups dial in).

After your session has been booked, email parents introducing yourself and sending them information for video conferencing. Also confirm the date and time of the session, your rate, the payment procedure, your cancellation policy, and their emergency phone number. Ask if they have any activities they want you to specifically focus on during the session and offer to answer any questions.
Here is an email template you can use:
Dear X, I’m really looking forward to working with you and to watching your child/children virtually on X day at Y time. To confirm, the rate I charge is $Z per hour and I ask that if you cancel with less than ABC hours notice, you pay me X percentage. I accept payment through Venmo, CashApp, and Zelle. Below, please find information to access our video conference platform: PASTE INFO FOR VIDEO CONFERENCE PLATFORM I’ll plan lots of games and activities to do during the session. But if there’s anything you’d like me to focus on, please let me know. In the event of an emergency during the session, I’ll call you at PHONE NUMBER, unless you provide me with an alternate number. And if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask.
Best wishes,
NAME

During the session, follow safety guidelines including:
Confirm the phone number where you can reach parents in the event of an emergency,
Never share physical address besides city and state and never ask children for their location or address, except for city and state, 
Never ask for photos of children and never share photos of yourself,
Never take photos or videos during the session,
Follow parents’ guidelines (e.g., if they do not want children playing outside, don’t let them play outside)

Below are a few game ideas that virtual babysitters have had success using:

Remember to prepare for the session. Think about what might be fun and appropriate for children, given their ages.

Start session by asking the children what they like to do for fun, asking them to show you their favorite toys, asking them about what they like to play with friends and do with other babysitters

Homework packets, tutor if desired/needed

Reading books

Telling stories, taking turns building a story (like each person says a sentence and then the next one, building one after the other)

Drawing, arts and crafts

Legos

Making a comic strip

Creating a scavenger hunt for parents

Creating a hieroglyph for the other person to decipher

Leaf rubbing

Simon Says

Freeze dance

Red light/green light

Jeopardy/Heads Up 7 Up quiz games

Charades

Card games or board games (one person has the deck or game and moves on behalf of both people)

Make a fort

Virtual field trip (https://vft.asu.edu/)

Exercise or physical activity (jumping jacks, high knees, sit ups)

Sing songs

Play in the yard (if they are on a device that they can easily take around/outside--if they go outside, make sure they are dressed appropriately for their weather)

Talking to them about themselves, school, friends, family, etc

Walk them through cleaning up so parents don't have to do the clean up

Ready to get started?