I have been babysitting for my relatives since I was 12. I came from a large family, my mom being #8 of 12 kids, and each of her brothers and sisters having from 6 to 15 children per couple. The result of this is I was taking care of about 60 different children over a period of 25 years. (We are Mormons.)
Originally I took care of children in my own home, as I lived on a farm in Old Orchard Beach, Maine (I have lived here since 1975) and the children loved to spend time with the chickens, cats, duck, dogs, goat, and pony. However we lost the house and barn during Hurricane Katrina (yes, it did hit Maine, along with every other state on the East Coast), I have lived in a motorhome since and thus I no longer take care of children in my own home.
Over the years I have learned that there are "types" of children I would prefer not to work with, and "types" of children I am well suited to working with, as well as types of parents I simply prefer to avoid. I'll explain. See I have Autism, verbal speech is sometimes difficult (to the point of mutism when around loud, obnoxious, or demanding people - bitter and angry people make me nervous, when I'm nervous I lose my ability to speak), because of my Autism I am not well suited to children who are "high energy", loud, or prone to high rates of physical activities/sports, kids who run, scream, and yell, are too much for me, I mean they're great kids and all, but I just do not have the right personality to handle them properly and I feel it best parents know this ahead of time.
But I've no trouble speaking with people I am used to being around, and get along well with calm, relaxed, quiet, or shy children, especially those who enjoy reading, writing, art/drawing, board games, dress up, crafts, and imaginary friends. I enjoy reading to children, anything from picture books and Dr. Seuss to Star Trek novels and Harry Potter. I can reread books too, (I know some sitters dislike doing so) so for kids who like to hear Green Eggs and Ham 20 times in a row on end - not a problem.(If your kids like Star Trek - I have hundreds of Star Trek novels and never tire of reading about Kirk, Spock, and the rest.)
I am a painter, I paint everything from acrylics and watercolors on canvas to my Volvo and motorhome and I love craft projects with lots of glitter.
I get along best with children who like arts and crafts and reading and drawing and playing "non physical" games (board, card, video games). I can play board games with children for hours on end, everything from CandyLand to Monopoly to Dungeons and Dragons.
If your kids are into video games, I'll play them with them as well, though I'm not as good at it (something most kids seem to like, because they kind of can always win!).
Children who like to play dress up, dolls, or stuffed animals I am good with because I'm a frilly girly girl who's all about dressing up, (I do not own any "normal" clothes, so don't be surprised when I show up in long gowns and full kimono, because that all I wear 24/7) so if your little girls is all about feather boas, teddy bears, and tea parties we'll get along great.
Age wise, I seem to get along best with children in the 10 to 16 age range. I would prefer not to work with infants and toddlers, I'm just too nervous around younger children, I'm always afraid of dropping them (I have Autism and thus am really clumsy and lack good coordination, I'm always tripping or dropping things.)
I prefer to think of myself, not as a nanny or a babysitter, but rather as a child's companion, sort of a big sister, someone they can talk to and hang out with.
In recent years, watching DVDs has become a "hobby" for many children, and I'm okay sitting with them to watch 10 seasons of Doctor Who or Buffy or Pokemon or Scooby Doo whatever show they are addicted to back to back. (And I can on request bring DVDs with me, I own complete seasons of X-Files, InuYasha, and Angel, as well as most of Columobo, and I have access to hundreds of others via InterLibraryLoan.)
As I said I do have a car, and I have a 100% perfect driving record, not even so much as a fender bender - EVER. So picking up children from school, is fine. If your children attend church services (any religion) I am open to taking them and going with them. As I said, I am a Mormon, but I've attended about 15 other denominations over the years and have no problem attending with your family to sit with the kids. I actually prefer to work with families who attend church services.
I am currently a college student, so we'd have to work around my class schedule. I simply can not miss classes. My current class schedule is Mondays & Wednesdays.
A side note: Pets are okay, but I don't get along well with big dogs. All other pets are fine, cats, small dogs, rodents, birds, reptiles, horses, anything, just no big dogs, no dogs over 20-30lbs. I have a bad hip, and big dogs can knock me over easily, (either by jumping on me or by pulling to hard on a leash) and I have a hard time getting back up. I love dogs, but I've been knocked off my feet so many times now, that I have to say outright, I can not work with a family that has a dog over 30lbs.
Allergy alert: If your family has allergies: I own 15 cats, a bird, and a dog.
Special Diet Alert: I am a vegetarian (and an animal rights activist), and while I can work with meat eating families, know that I will not cook, handle, or even touch meat.
While I can cook (and I'm talking - major cooking from scratch - cakes, cookies, pies, casseroles, meals, etc) cooking is in and of itself a full time job, that takes full attention, and thus takes attention away from the children. That said, I don't mind whipping up quick after school meals mac&cheese, canned soup, etc, but don't expect me to cook full meals or cook for the whole family. Likewise, I'll wash dishes I use, but if you've already got a pile in the sink, don't expect me to wash those too. If I use one dish, I'll wash ONLY that one dish. Do keep in mind, I'm not a maid.
Phobia alert: I really have huge phobia issues about guns (bad childhood experience resulting in HUGE phobia here). I simply can not be in a house that has a gun in it. Literally - I freeze up, can't talk, can't move - massive phobia here, totally disables me (I have Autism - I really need to avoid my panic attack triggers, and this is a big one). So if you have firearms in the house, seriously, find someone else.
Other things I don't work with: I have smoke and dust and pollen allergies, and while it's generally not an issue, I absolutely can not be around people who smoke - even if they are not smoking, just the smoke clinging to their clothes is enough to be an issue, so I work with non-smoking families only.
Being a Mormon we don't drink alcohol or coffee, and while I don't mind working with coffee drinkers I avoid working for alcohol drinkers.
Also, as I said, bad hip, stairs can be an issue. I can climb stairs if I have to, so long as there is a railing and the stairs are not steep, but if I was required to go up and down stairs multiple times, it's not possible, so please consider the amount of stairs and the amount of times I'd need to go up and down them. Thank you.