Ever flinched from hearing the words- “Dear, take care of your brother while we are away, won’t you?” Almost all of us have had that first unforgettable memory of attending to a kid-brother or a kid-sister (sometimes more than one!)… or being attended to by an elder sibling. Perhaps at that time we did not even know we were about to have our very first experience of babysitting! But now that we are grown ups, taking care of a child may not be a territory all of us would feel ready to enter!
Children are innocent and affectionate. They seek love, care and attention at all times. They trust easily and are thus vulnerable… therefore parents of today’s busy times appoint babysitters to tend to their children. But caring for a child is no piece of cake! A babysitter has to ensure the proper nurturing of the child and attend to his/her needs. So, here are ten very simple but handy tips for you when babysitting:
10. PREPARE WELL AND PLAN IN ADVANCE
It is important to prepare well before taking up the job. Always question about the child as well as about your responsibilities before accepting an offer for babysitting, from parents. Ensure your own safety in the neighborhood as well as the child’s house first, before you feel equipped to take care of the child. It is good to first get familiar with the people you are planning to work for. Ask people in the neighborhood about the family, their children and other visitors.
Ensure the terms and conditions of the job are comfortable to you- hours to be devoted to the child, your roles and responsibilities as the babysitter and any other services expected from you.
After all being a babysitter is NOT A CHILD’S PLAY !
9. JOT DOWN ALL YOU CAN
Gathering information from everyone is the first tip to start taking down notes on the child. The baby may like or dislike certain things.The child may be allergic to certain foods, may have some interests and hobbies and may have a phobia of somethings. A babysitter must have this information ready at hand always in order to take proper care of the child. Remember that even the minutest detail may be important. After all the parents have entrusted you with their most prized possession and the job of a babysitter comes with lots of responsibilities.
8. BE PREPARED WITH ALL MEDICAL SUPPLIES
As a babysitter, it is not just important to be ready with toys and rhymes, but also with essential medicines and first aid. You never know when the clock might strike an unfortunate hour and you may be required to give immediate medical attention to the child.
So always keep a first aid box ready with you. Also ensure proper supply of medicines for your kit. It is advisable to be prepared with certain special medicines, if any, recommended by the doctor in case the child has some allergy or disease. Be aware of where the flashlights, fire extinguishers and batteries are kept in the house. Besides, you must also be proficient in using the first aid kit. Never give strong medicines to a child as they may have some after effects. Always ensure that the parents of the child also know about the medical supplies in the house so that they can attend to the child otherwise in your absence.
7. BUILD TRUST
Trust building is very important when it comes to caring for children. They are innocent and go by their instincts more than by what they have been instructed to do. So even of the parents appoint you are the child’s caretaker, does not enforce your authority on the child in any way, in his or her parents’ absence. Therefore it is important to maintain a healthy bond with the child, where he or she feels comfortable in your presence. Try to be more of a friend than a teacher or another parent! Narrate incidents and stories to the child. Children love the fantasy world and like to learn from the experiences of their favorite superheroes or princesses!
A child may like you more and even share his or her problems with you if you show that you are always there to support them and help them.
6. EMERGENCY CALLING…
Always keep emergency numbers ready with you. You must have the phone number and address of employer’s home as well as the name and phone number of an immediately available adult. Besides, keep a list of (as well as a backup copy of) the Emergency numbers of the Police station, nearby hospitals and fire department. It is advisable to help the child remember some of these important contact numbers as well!
5. BE SAFE KEEP SECURE
It is intelligent and advisable to Practice as well as teach Safe Household Habits. Always keep the doors locked and windows shut or at least blinded at all times. Do not talk for long hours on phone. The child may feel neglected and you may be unable to attend to the child if you remain busy with your own personal engagements. Do not open the door for strangers. Be careful not to reveal any information to any outsider regarding the child or yourself !
4. DO NOT BE HARSH
Always set rules for the house – time for playing, studying and watching television etc. and follow them as well. Remember if you break any rule, it will set a bad example for the child. Try to be as polite as possible to the child and avoid any form of corporal punishments. Never slap, tightly grab or shout at the child to punish him or her. Your aim should be to make them comply with the rules and not to scare them with the same.
3. ALWAYS KEEP THE PARENTS WELL-INFORMED
Sometimes the babysitter may feel in full control of the situation and may not find it important to keep the parent informed about any activity of the child. But this may prove very severe. so beware! It is good to be confident but entirely wrong to be over confident. Keep the parents of the child well informed about their child’s actions, activities as well as problems. The parents must know their child better… and your effort to bridge that gap may accelerate the process. This ways you not only fulfill your responsibility as a babysitter but also act as a friend to the child.
2. FOCUS, FOCUS AND FOCUS
It is very important to stay focused while taking care of the child. Child care demands complete attention of the parent and since the babysitter is appointed to substitute the parental attention, the babysitter ought to stay vigilant at all times. One should avoid talking or messaging or chatting with those people who you think could distract you while you are with the child. Whether you are inside the house or outside, always keep an eye on the activities of the child to ensure his or her safety. Do not leave the child alone even among other children (playground or parks included!). It would be far wiser to invite the child’s friends home and take care of all of them!
1. SMILE, PLAY AND HAVE FUN!
As long as your abide by the rules with all your heart and you take care of all the above mentioned suggestions, there should be no room for any worries! The best part of the job is that you are free to be a child with a child. Play, jump, run and have fun with the kid.
There can be nothing more lovely to cherish than spending time with a child. Always be optimistic and encouraging for the child. It is always better to tell the child what all they can do rather than telling them what they can not or should not do! It helps them learn more as they grow!
Babysitting may seem tedious in the beginning but at the end of the day, all the wonderful moments would seem worth all your efforts!