Thoughts on Working as a Babysitter in Japan
Working as a babysitter is perhaps not the first thought that comes to mind when thinking of working in Japan. Just like many others, I had the chance to spend the year here on the basis of something similar to a working holiday, which meant that I would be required to find a job to support myself. I knew from the start that I wanted to work a job involving children and that would enable me to use my English-speaking skills. I had initially thought about teaching English in a more classroom-type setting, but with COVID-19 still present, the worry of schools closing, and classes being canceled are what made me look elsewhere for a job that could provide more certainty and consistency. After a few google searches, I stumbled across Little Hug’s website and was immediately interested in the job opportunities they were providing. Luckily enough, I was offered the opportunity to work with Little Hug.
At the start, I remember feeling quite nervous about the job because of the inevitable language barrier that would present itself. Thankfully, there was a mock session that allowed me to get a glimpse of what it would be like to work as an English babysitter, and the staff also provided a lot of support that helped ease my nerves.
At the beginning of my time with Little Hug, I did a lot of temporary sessions, which meant that I got to work with many different kinds of families and got to visit lots of areas within Tokyo and nearby prefectures such as Kanagawa and Chiba! Although, within a month or two, I had the chance to work regular weekly sessions which I liked because they were fixed schedules that allowed me to plan ahead and create a routine. Given that most sessions were around 3 to 4 hours, I also had plenty of time to myself.
After almost a year of working as a babysitter, I can say with confidence that it is a very rewarding and fulfilling job. Being able to work with kids in proximity and establishing a bond with them, which is unique to the babysitter and the child, is something I cherished a lot. Seeing them every week and gradually being able to see their growth, not only in English but also in their behavior was such a peculiar experience. I enjoyed being able to teach the language in a more natural environment, through daily activities and games, which I think made it more interesting for the children and allowed for more active participation on their end to learn. As mentioned previously, there was a language barrier with some children but I found myself having fun finding new ways to communicate with them. I was also impressed at how quickly children are to absorb new information!
All the families I got to work with were very welcoming and eager to learn English. I not only got to build relationships with the children but also with the parents, which was quite refreshing. I always looked forward to visiting them and it quickly became a highlight of my week. Like all jobs, it is not always easy but it is definitely worthwhile and I would recommend it to anyone who is considering it!
Message written by a Japanese-Canadian babysitter, who worked with Little Hug in 2022. She provided a great childcare in Tokyo area. Thank you very much for assisting us!