Sometimes it's best to stick with the classics. Babysitting has been filling piggy banks for generations, but if you want to break into the baby-tending business, here are some things to know.
First, you need some experience. Start by babysitting your own brothers and sisters to see if you even like the idea of feeding and cleaning up after rug rats. Then you might want to work for neighboring families as a "mother's helper." A mother's helper is like a babysitter, but you watch the kids while a parent is still at home. This frees up the parent to work on other projects, and gives you experience in a safe setting.
Before you start advertising your babysitting services, consider taking a Red Cross babysitting safety course that covers feeding babies and kids, playing safely and what to do in an emergency. There is also a more extensive "Babysitter's Training" classroom course that includes certification in Pediatric First Aid and CPR [source: American Red Cross].
Once you get some clients, arrange for a "get to know you" meeting before the first babysitting gig. You will want to discuss the house rules about TV, food, computer use, bedtime rituals and so on. You can also make sure you have the parents' contact information and appropriate emergency numbers [source: PBS Kids].
For lots more information about kids and family activities, and personal finance tips, check out the related HowStuffWorks links below.
Author's Note: How to Make Money as a Kid
As work-weary adults, we underestimate the joy that a child gets in performing a task well and earning a reward. Earning money as a kid not only teaches the value of hard work and instills financial sense, but it builds confidence and self-reliance. I regret that I didn't do more to earn my own money as a kid. Not that there were toys and gadgets that I would have bought with the extra cash, but I could have used the self-confidence bump that comes with doing a good job and being valued for your work. Now that our own small kids are entering the allowance years, it's time to dispel the myth that money grows in ATMs, but that an honest day's work has its rewards.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. "Lawn Mower-Related Injuries to Children." (March 15, 2013) http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/107/6/1480.full
- American Red Cross. "Babysitter Training." (March 15, 2013) http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/program-highlights/babysitting-caregiving
- CNBC.com. "Inventions by Kids." (March 13, 2013) http://www.cnbc.com/id/42497934/page/1
- Department of Labor. "What is the youngest age at which a person can be employed?" Fair Labor Standards Act (March 15, 2013) http://www.dol.gov/elaws/faq/esa/flsa/026.htm
- Etsy. "Dos and Don'ts." (March 15, 2013) http://www.etsy.com/help/article/483
- McSweeney, Terry. "Young girls fight produce stand closure." ABC 7 News. Aug. 20, 2008. (March 15, 2013) http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local&id=6339365
- Miley, John; Snider, Susannah. "How to Be a Millionaire by 25." October 2010. (March 15, 2013) http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/business/T012-S001-how-to-be-a-millionaire-by-age-25/index.html
- Nobel, Carmen. "Snuggie Cashes in Where Others Failed." The Street. Jan. 13, 2010. (March 15, 2013) http://www.thestreet.com/story/10660101/1/snuggie-cashes-in-where-others-failed.html
- PBS Kids. "Babysitting: One Important Job." (March 15, 2013) http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/money/babysitting/index.html
- Pew Internet and American Life Project. "Teens and Technology 2013." March 13, 2013 (March 15, 2013) http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Teens-and-Tech.aspx
- Popsicle.com. "The Popsicle Story." (March 15, 2013) http://www.popsicle.com/article/detail/107646/the-popsicle-story-popsicle-ice-pops
- Rosario, Tessa. "How to make money on Etsy." Brokelyn. July 13, 2009 (March 15, 2013) http://brokelyn.com/how-to-make-money-on-etsy/
- Vanderbilt, Tom. "Paper Trail." Time. Feb. 26, 2011. (March 15, 2013) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2046070,00.html#ixzz2NY21YXYR
Dollar stores — where most items cost just a buck — always seem to make money. HowStuffWorks finds out how they do it.