Babysitting is hard! Especially when it's your first time. With your cousin's cranky kid who believes that it has the god-given right to sap the happiness out of you because its parents are paying you. In this digital age, it only makes sense to let your smartphone help you out. Here are five apps that will help you survive your first babysitting gigs.
While not a traditional selection, Evernote is a helper
Evernote isn't inherently a babysitting application of course, but it's a big help when you're bad with names. Take pictures of the kid, or multiple kids if there's more than one (also, good luck!) and add any notes you need to about them. Names, allergies, likes, dislikes, medication. Basically the stuff that matters. So they can't pull a fast one on you. You know, two kids fighting over which one is really allergic to the broccoli. Evernote is available for free for both iOS and Android in their respective stores.
Baby ESP and Baby Tracker
Baby ESP on right and Baby Tracker on left
When you're watching kids, especially for money, it's probably important that you keep track of their meals, sleep, poop, medication and other habits. In comes Baby ESP on Android and Baby Tracker on iOS. With both apps, you can keep a log of the baby's feeds, sleep, pee/poop and other habits. You'll know what time the baby last ate, the last diaper change, and the last time medication was administered. Pretty important information to hold on to if you want to do a good job and have a next time with the gig. Baby ESP is available for Rs. 221 from the Android Market and Baby Tracker is available for $1.99 (Rs. 87) in the App Store.
Sudoku for Android on left and iOS on right
Make the kids play Sudoku. I'm totally serious. On the easy setting of course. The point is, playing with numbers in a way they've never done before. They'll give it shot after shot. And then get tired. And then fall asleep. Thereby leaving you alone, to sit around and “getting paid to do nothing”. Of course, do make sure they're in their pyjamas and have brushed their teeth, don't let them just fall asleep playing on your phone. You have to be at least a little bit professional. Of course, this only works with kids above the age of 4, but give it to a younger kid anyway for some fun. There are of course, various versions of Sudoku on for mobile devices but here's a free one for iOS and for Android.
Lullaby Sheep and BabySleep Plus
Lullaby Sheep on left and BabySleep Plus on right
If the Sudoku trick doesn't work exactly as planned, or you just need to calm the kid down anyway, leverage yourself with lullabies. Consider Lullaby Sheep for Android and BabySleep Plus for iOS. Lullaby Sheep has a visual of sheep jumping for greater sleep induction. The music is definitely sleep inducing. With BabySleep Plus, you decide how long the lullaby will play and it even fades away for lack of jerkiness for the sleeping child. I'll admit, the visuals are a little scary and keep you awake, so maybe keep your phone a little bit away from the kid's visual radius. Lullaby Sheep is available for free in the Android Market and BabySleep Plus is available for $0.99 (Rs. 43) in the iOS App Store.
Emerald Time Stamp and Xpert-Timer Time Tracker
Emerald Timestamp on left and Xpert Timer Time Tracker on right
Babysitters usually get paid by the hour and you should make sure you get paid, not the minute but the second you step foot inside the target house. Or at least the second the parents step out. Also be precise about when the parents come home and you get paid. Get the exact hour, minute and second and multiply all of that by your rate. You know, basically look out for yourself. Emerald Time Stamp for iOS and Xpert-Timer Time Tracker for Android allow you to do just this. They'll log your time stamps and you can add what they're for. Emerald Time Stamp allows you the create events and even has a running clock you can use in the background. With Xpert-Timer Time Tracker, you can add the price per project and even add GPS to your timestamps for additional proof. Emerald Time Stamp is available for $0.99 (Rs. 43) in the iOS App Store and Xpert-Timer Time Tracker is available for Rs. 319 in the Android Market although, a free version is available which allows upto 50 time stamps.
So there you have it. Mind that the author of this piece is not a kid hater, just a very experienced baby sitter, doing it in the dark ages when smartphones weren't around yet.