Tuesday, September 18, 2012

25 Rules for Babysitters

I have seen lists of rules for moms and sons and dads and daughters, so I thought I would make one for babysitters.
  1. Don't be afraid to get dirty- The best memories are those that required a bath afterwards. My mom always said the amount of dirt was equal to the amount of fun had. 
  2. Always have an extra outfit- You never know when you might get peed on, spit up on or simply dirty from having a food fight in the backyard.
  3. Have something fun planned- It doesn't have to be big or expensive just a planned activity. The kids enjoy breaking up the time and it makes the time you spend with them more fun for everybody.
  4. Leave a note- Parents want to know what their kids did, ate, and watched while they were away. I try to always leave a note including naps, food, T.V., and anything else I think they should know. Parents have commented about it many times.
  5. Get away from the screen- Try to fill your time with games, crafts, books, walks, really anything but T.V. or video games. Believe it or not even middle school boys can go all day without T.V. and not miss it. Fill your time with something else.
  6. Take a camera- You will want to remember what you did, and what the kids looked like when they were little. I have 2,372 babysitting pictures. They help make school more bearable when I see the kids on my desktop smiling at me. 
  7. Drop everything and read- If a kid asks me to play cars and I am in the middle of something I will tell them to hold on a second, but if they ask to read I stop wherever I am doing and read. Reading is very important in development and one of the best things you can teach kids to enjoy.
  8. Be patient- Remember that kids aren't trying to upset you. People naturally want to please. Make your expectations clear and remember that they aren't little adults. The process is more important than the product.
  9. Don't overuse "No"- Only say no when the child is doing something dangerous not just inconvenient. Instead redirect their attention. When you say "no" constantly it loses its meaning.
  10. Don't do or say anything you don't want repeated- Kids learn by copying and aren't afraid of telling how they learned something.
  11. Get you nose out of your phone- No ifs, ands, or buts. When you are babysitting you need to be alert and when you are texting you can't give full attention to the kids.
  12. Be silly- Kids love it when you put on a paper crown and have a dance party in the living room. Remember that nobody is judging you, so just relax.
  13. Get involved- Don't just watch the kids play house. Get in there and play with them, it will be more fun for everybody.
  14. Don't play favorites- Of course you will have favorites, but don't ignore the others. They want you to play with them just as much.
  15. Don't be a sucker- Do you really think Mommy lets the kids jump on the couch? Chances are that if the kid says, "Well Mommy lets me do it," then she probably doesn't.
  16. Cool down- Don't discipline a child when you are upset. Go to the bathroom, count to ten, then go back and deal with the situation. Or best of all don't let the kid get you upset in the first place.
  17. Clean up later- Don't spend the entire time cleaning. Ask the kids to pick up after each activity. Trust me it is way less stressful even for those of us with OCD.
  18. Go outside- Dirt is actually good for kids. As a kid I spent all day outside if it was nice. Build a fort, go to the park, go for a walk, blow bubbles, color with sidewalk chalk, just have a picnic.
  19. Be familiar with the potty routine- As a girl I wasn't really sure how little boys went to the bathroom and I was too embarrassed to ask. I have seen just about every way to go to the bathroom you could imagine. I have seen boys sit backwards, on their knees, stand up, and sit down. Just ask, it makes things much easier. 
  20. Naked is best- For some reason every kid's favorite outfit is their birthday suit. So what if they want to be naked, as I see it kids are easier to clean than clothes and potty training is much easier too.
  21. Have a routine- If you babysit regularly have a routine. It makes kids less upset when switching activities because they know what to expect and helps you out too.
  22. Have special toys- Take some toys for the kids to play with when you babysit. Even if they already have the exact same toy it is more fun to play with yours. It is just another thing that makes you special.
  23. Keep cool- Stay calm no matter what. Kids pick up on your emotions. When they fall down and crack their head open keep calm so as not to freak them out
  24. Be fair- Fair and equal aren't the same. Fair is the kid who is bleeding gets a bandaid. Equal is everybody gets a bandaid. Keep in mind every kid has a unique set of needs.
  25. Everyone is different- Never assume that what worked for one kid will work for another. Kids are individuals. Just because one boy liked trains doesn't mean that every boy likes trains. Treat each kid accordingly. 

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