I’ve been babysitting my younger siblings for as long as I can remember. Even though it may seem so much fun, it can get extremely tiring. Especially at first, when you have no experience whatsoever with kids.
Tips that will instantly change your babysitting game:
1. Don’t just sit around scrolling on your phone expecting them to be happily playing by themselves
No matter the age of the kid you’re babysitting, they will bank on you to play with them. Even a 3-month-old will scan the room for a pair of hands that’s willing to tickle or cuddle them.
You’d better stop being grumpy and unbothered and go play hide-and-seek with that kid! A good laugh will do no bad to the two of you.
2. Feed them good
Kids can be really peevish when they’re hungry. Make sure to give them healthy, consistent food. If they’re really small or are still being breastfed and their mother is not around, put them to sleep. Sing them a little lullaby and all will be good!
This takes us to the next tip:
3. Don’t give them excessive amounts of sugar
Sugar only makes kids extremely energetic, which, as you may have observed, they already are. You should teach them from a young age that sugar is bad for their teeth and overall body so that they grow up to be healthy people.
I suggest making fruit and veggies look more appealing to them by arranging them as animals, cartoon characters, scenery, etc.
4. Make sure they’re clean
Washing a kid’s hands, changing their diaper, brushing their hair, helping them shower… these are all considered such small things, such trivial actions. In fact, they’re so much more important than you may think.
Giving kids a different hair part, helping them wash themselves with a differently smelling shower gel, will prevent them from getting bored as easily as usual. They’ll constantly stare at their reflection. Not to mention that being clean and neat makes every one of every age feel like a million bucks.
Make sure their clothes are clean as well.
5. Don’t try distracting them with phones or other gadgets
Toddlers will even shut up in the middle of throwing a tantrum if you play them their favourite cartoon. Colourful screens and loud music almost hypnotise them.
However, specialists don’t recommend distracting them with gadgets as they can damage their eyesight and hearing, but also disrupt their brain activity and affect their fertility.
Instead, teach them to play, teach them how to colour inside the lines, read them stories. These are some old-school babysitting activities that, in my opinion, will never go out of style.
6. Let them choose their outfits themselves
Even if they mix patterns, even if the weather is too chilly for the shorts they’re dying to wear, let them!
This stimulates their creativity, helps them identify as a person, as well as teaches them about the concept of weather and temperature.
7. Take them to the bathroom with you
If you have to go to the toilet really badly, take them with you! Chances are that if they aren’t old enough to be left by themselves for a few minutes, they aren’t old enough to remember everything they see.
As the oldest sibling, I can say helping my mom bring up the younger ones has helped me be more sympathetic, more patient, more careful. It can be tough, but equally fun.