How to Answer the Telephone When You're Babysitting

When you're babysitting and the telephone rings what do you do? What do you say? If you get nervous, read on.


  1. Image titled Answer the Telephone When You're Babysitting Step 1
    Ask the parents what they would prefer you to do when the phone rings. If they tell you they would prefer that you do not answer the phone, don't answer it. If they tell you to answer the phone, follow these steps.
  2. Image titled Answer the Telephone When You're Babysitting Step 2
    When babysitting, always have a pad of paper and a pen or pencil handy. You never know when someone might call. If you didn't bring your handy-dandy notebook, look around you for one. Don't ever write on something that could be important! Generally write on printer paper or (as a last resort) a paper towel.
  3. Image titled Answer the Telephone When You're Babysitting Step 3
    Do the following when the phone rings:
    • Walk to the phone calmly, even if you just raced down a flight of stairs to get it in time and your heart is beating like crazy.
    • Pick up and ask, "Hello, Smith residence." The other person will most likely say, "Hello, may I speak to Mrs. Smith?" Respond, "She's not available at the moment. May I ask who's calling?" Then the person will say "This is Mrs. Jones" She or he may not say their name clearly, so it is not impolite to ask for it again. If the person just identifies themselves with no message, you should ask "May I take a message to give to Mrs. Smith?"
    • Here's the hard part: People are often hard to understand over the phone. Frankly, even if they were clear, you may be so frazzled that you did not hear it correctly anyway. Never be afraid to ask for a repeat.
  4. Image titled Answer the Telephone When You're Babysitting Step 4
    If, when the Mom or Dad returns, you forget to give them the messages, don't worry! This happens all the time. Simply return to the house, state that you forgot to give them their messages. Simple enough.


  • Make sure you remain calm in all situations. If the caller sounds dangerous or becomes aggressive, remain calm. Hang up!
  • Check the caller ID if the phone has one. That way, if it's the parent calling to check, or your mom calling to ask you to pick something up on your way home, or one of the children's friends, you don't have to go through the trouble of finding out who it is.
  • If they sound aggressive, make sure the lock of the door is secure. Call the parents and if required, call the police. Make sure you have the kid(s) with you.


  • Never tell the caller that the parents aren't home. Just say "He's not available." If the caller persists, make an excuse. Good excuses include: "She is in the shower right now"; "He's talking on a cell phone for his business", etc. Never say "She's with the baby now" because then the person will know there is a baby in the house.
  • If someone asks to speak with the child, whether it is an adult or child, say that they too are unavailable (they just took a nap, or they are eating their dinner/lunch).
  • If you receive a bomb threat, follow these instructions. In the extremely unlikely event the caller instructs you to evacuate the building, tell the children that you have just been told about a gas leak nearby by the police and have been told to evacuate as a precaution and that you'll be out as soon as they have finished going through the emergency procedures. Under no circumstances tell them that you have been told that there is a bomb in the house or they may panic. Also, never hang up on the caller. Although in this case you should obviously evacuate the children from the building ASAP, stay on the line with the caller. Don't waste time calling the parents until you are certain that it is safe to do so.
  • If a caller becomes aggressive and begins to demand, hang up and call the child's parents.
  • If you don't have permission to answer the phone, do not answer at all.

Things You'll Need

  • Phone
  • Paper
  • Writing tool

Article Info

Categories: Phone Skills | Babysitting