Monday, January 11, 2010
Successful Babysitting 101
When I was fourteen, I felt like babysitting was my career. I babysat multiple times a week in the summer and at least a couple weekends per month. I don't babysit as much anymore because I'm usually not available when a mom needs me, but I do love hanging out with kids of all ages, and I had a fun babysitting experience last night. Here are a few tips for operative babysitting:
-Remember: you're not Mom. This can be good and bad. You do not know the depth of every problem a kid is experiencing, so usually it's not worth it to try and "get to the bottom" of an issue... however, not being mom is a perk because kids are typically excited to see you (if you've babysat before)
-Consistency is mostly for parenting, but babysitters can use it too. Sometimes you just don't know why a baby is upset and you have to give... but, when it comes to older kids misbehaving, don't be afraid to discipline, within the parents parameters (if the family does time out, do time out, etc... but never spank, even if given permission by a parent. They're not your kids). If you'll be babysitting again, the kids will know you mean business when you're asking them to do something.
-Bedtime: start early! The little ones are supposed to be in bed by 8:00? Start the bedtime routine at 7:30. When Mom and Dad are away, it usually takes them longer to get to bed.
-Come with a flexible plan. I always bring activities when I babysit, be it a board game, art supplies, or a recipe. Awaken the fun of old games like hide and seek and sardines. If I'm babysitting for a whole day, I usually work in a movie or some quiet time near the end, so little ones can rest, and older ones aren't too anxious for mom to get home.
-Enter the job with prayer. I believe babysitters have an impact on childhood. As mentioned before, you never know the whole of a family's dynamics. The kids may need special love and attention from you that they're not getting elsewhere. The Lord is glorified through the well-caring of his children.
-Be a kid. Seriously, you're never going to relate with them until you get on your hands and knees and act silly.