When I was a child, most of my babysitters were college-aged women. I loved spending time with them and was even a flower girl in one of their weddings. Now as a college woman myself, I value the opportunity to return the favor for college families.
Hillsdale students: Babysit during your college years.
A lot of professors and staff have young families, and they’d like a night out. Babysitting is an easy way to help them out, and a great opportunity to get to know your professors, staff, and their families.
The summer after my freshman year, I stayed on campus and worked for the college’s marketing department. I asked my pastor to spread the word that I would still be around and would have lots of free time if any families in the community needed babysitting.
Pretty soon, I was babysitting once a week for two different families, among other evening gigs. Some were big families with older kids with whom I talked about books and played Lord of the Rings or other imaginative games. Others were babies as young as a year old.
Although I couldn’t babysit as much once the semester started up again, I kept one weekly job and picked up other occasional opportunities. This will always be a special memory from my time in college.
Babysitting is a good break from campus life. It’s time in a real home instead of a library, dorm, classroom, or at a campus event. It’s time to converse with people of all ages instead of just people around your own age. It’s time to slow down instead of constantly rushing from one task to the next overstimulating event.
Babysitting is also a way to gain perspective.
Nothing tests your patience like chasing a 2‑year-old around and around their house, or explaining to a crying child that their parents will be back soon but not until after they go to sleep. It’s a good reality check for all of us trad-wife wannabes. Taking care of children is hard.
But taking care of children is also beautiful. It’s so much fun to laugh and play with a child, to teach them new things, and to witness them awestruck by things we take for granted — like dandelions by a sidewalk on the way to the park.
And one more perk: Sometimes you get paid to do what you need to do anyway. I’m writing this at 9:50 p.m. on a Saturday. Sounds boring, but I am enjoying the quiet, slower night to recharge and catch up on work. And I am getting paid — because I’m giving parents a night out and kids go to sleep much earlier than we college folk do.
You may wonder how to get started. Well, reach out to your church leaders and ask them to share your information with the community. Or connect with other students who babysit — like me. I will be graduating in eight months and I know some great families who need a few good sitters.
Rachel Kookogey is a senior studying rhetoric and public address. She is the Associate Editor for the Collegian.