Doing what comes naturally
Marriott sisters have figured out a formula for happiness: create a
business that seems like a hobby. The three siblings from Morgan County
– Bailey, Morgan, and Kelly – love working with children. Their
babysitting business is an enjoyable activity that comes naturally to
these young entrepreneurs. The idea to start a babysitting business
sprang from the girls’ personal experience of being watched by others
during the summer. The three sisters received quality supervision, and
once they reached high school they were inspired to provide the same for
other families. Their venture started out as a way of making extra money
during the summer. Now the sisters receive business calls several days a
Babysitting has proven to be both a frustrating and rewarding activity.
The sisters have difficulties when kids miss their parents or throw
tantrums. They know it’s not easy to discipline someone else’s children.
But with the challenges also come successes. Bailey has figured out a
way to deal with behavior problems with a technique she calls the “spoon
game.” Children are given three spoons a day. When they are bad or
get into trouble in some way, one spoon is put into a cup. If all the
spoons wind up in the cup, the children don’t get a treat like baked
cookies or getting to grab a toy from a bag of goodies she brings with
her. She also has an activity box she takes to each job, containing
puppets, crayons, paints, sidewalk chalk, and other creative tools she
can use depending on the situation.
The sisters have benefited from their work experience through life
lessons and material rewards. By starting off slowly and flexibly, they
earned fair market prices for their services. They had younger cousins
around, giving them experience observing and taking care of youth.
Working with children over time has helped them hone their childcare
Most of their business comes through word-of-mouth advertising, so they
have also learned the value of doing a quality job and keeping customers
satisfied. They have been rewarded for their efforts with enough money
to help pay for trips to Europe, tickets to ball games and rodeos,
occasional shopping sprees, and still enough to put into savings.
All the sisters have been 4-H members for more than half their lives.
Bailey credits 4-H for teaching her how to make others feel accepted and
included – an important skill for working with young children. The
sisters haven’t limited their activities to babysitting. Morgan mows
lawns and Kelly is interested in cooking projects that she also sells.
Bailey has her eyes set on attending the University of Missouri to learn
about agribusiness. Her advice to other 4-H members thinking of starting
a babysitting business is “Go for it! It gives you such great experience
with money management and people skills. And the parents make excellent
you know a 4-H young entrepreneur? Send profile ideas to Adam Loftin,
4-H Center for Youth Development, at 573/884-7929 or