A Guide to Babysitting

A Guide to Babysitting

Ashley Markle, Reporter

Some people believe babysitting is easy, assuming all you have to do is put the kids to bed and you have the rest of the night to yourself. However, this assumption is quite the opposite. Dealing with temper tantrums, dirty diapers, and sharing can be quite the hassle. Over the years, I’ve learned several tricks to get the kids to cooperate.

First things first, when getting home where you are babysitting, ask the parents about the child’s attitude from that day. Knowing what the kids have done and how they’re acting, you’ll be better prepared for the time to come.

When first arriving to the house, ask the parents if the child is used to them leaving. Knowing if the child is afraid of the parents leaving, or not, helps you be able to properly comfort him or her. I find the best way to make the child feel better is simply through distraction of asking about their toys. When the child sees you playing with their toys or just piddling around, naturally they’ll become curious to follow you and forget their parents are gone.

When babysitting more than one child, keep in mind sharing is a challenge at all ages. All is well until the younger sibling wants to play with the older sibling’s toy. You have two options at this point: get the younger child to ask the older child if he/she can play with his/her toy or ask the younger child to give the toy back because it’s wrong to take things that do not belong to you. Hopefully, there will be no tears, but if the children are having a bad day, be prepared for a small battle. In this case, it might be time to switch from playing to watching a movie or something that is less exciting.

Now that the child is comfortable playing with you and is having a good time, your next challenge will be bath time. Boys are complex with getting in the tub; they do not like the idea of having to put their toys down to go play. The best thing you can do to prevent a tantrum is simply thinking of a different name to call it than bath time. The boys I babysit like having “battle ship” time. For the girls, simply tell them it is “spa time.” The little girls will love the idea of being pampered. Turning their idea of a negative into positive makes bath time easier.

Traditionally, after bath time comes bedtime, this can be a nightmare. Through experience, I have learned prepping the children makes things a little easier. Telling them what is to come puts their anxieties to ease as you start heading towards their rooms. NEVER say go to sleep. It’s better to tell them they just have to stay in bed until their parents come home. Most of the time, the child will fall asleep after ten minutes of lying there waiting.

When the parents come home, be honest when they ask how the child/children acted. They need to know what the child is like when they are gone so they can handle the situation properly for the future. Also, when you tell the truth, the parents will respect you more for being honest and will call you again to babysit.

Over the years, babysitting has become a regular activity of mine, and I enjoy it a lot. My last bit of advice is to go have to go into the house with a positive attitude, because when you’re happy the kids will be happier you’re there and it will make life easier.