How do you babysit for other people's kids?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I haven't done it for so long.

    My new employer, who I am babysitting for, is going out tomorrow night and wants me to watch her two little tykes (ages 3 and 6) from 2 until she gets home. It's only a few blocks from my house and she's offering $60.00, which may make some of you laugh, but I could use it. I want to do a good job, yet I hate just playing with kids nonstop for hours on end. I love kids. Don't get me wrong. I just don't like to play kid games forever. Should I though? I know my grandson likes me to play with him all the time when I see him. I tend to do it until he gets too silly or I get tired and then tell him to play alone for a while. Then I may watch some TV. But this is different. I am getting paid.

    So...what is a good way to babysit and stagger between not ignoring their playtime and not doing it all the time. I do have to cook and get them to bed, but it's going to be a loooooooooong afternoon. I am naturally kind to kids, and they like me, but I can also be a doormat. If they tell me to pleeeeeease build blocks with them and I do for a while but get tired of it, I sort of feel like I have to keep doing it anyway. How can I be nice yet set boundaries? Because this is a job, I am sensitive about doing it right.
  2. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    I don't think you are silly at all. I think you are an amazing wife/mother who does what needs to be done for her family. So with that in mind. Maybe some coloring time. If a fenced in yard some outdoor time. Movie tone before bed. Do a quick web search for an easy craft? I read to my grandson. I think there is a finger paint make it yourself that had hand soap in it. Easy wash up. I'll keep thinking. Have you met the children yet? If you have an idea of their personalities that might help.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Some sort of outdoor, if its part of their routine - wear them out if you can.
    After supper, you need to know what THEIR routine is, it really helps settle them in.
    My favorite time-spender with kids I'm "minding" in any context? Read some really good kids books to them.
    Not sure what you're making for supper, but if you want to get them on your good side for the long haul, "play" with their food. Making carrot sticks? try running a fork down the length of the carrot, then slice into rounds and make carrot flowers. Celery and cheese whiz. Open-faced sandwiches with a face built in. Bring a few (cheap) curly fun straws to drink from. But do all the "fun" and "different" earlier in the day, like before supper. And then do the rest their way...
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    You are paid so it is work and that is different than looking after your own kid or even grandkid. So I would do like with any other work. Ask your employer how they want you to do your work. Do they wish you to arrange more structured activity to the kids or do their prefer free play and how much they want you to be involved in that. You can also come up with different types of fun things to do and redirect kids to those, when the play is going to the direction you don't enjoy. Reading is good, so are crafts etc.

    And definitely ask thweir usual routine and structure and stick to that. Do also remember to ask which kind of discipline strategy they use and stick to that too.

    This will be a first time you look after them so they are likely enthusiastic to show their toys and tell you everything important. That can be exhausting, so plan some more structured things to do to have breaks. Reading their favourite books, asking them to draw something etc. often work well.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The thing is, I DID ask the mom and she was very laid back and said, "Well, they like to do this and that, but anything is all right. Bed time routine? Relaxed, especially since school didn't start yet. They don't really have a routine. You can take them out. I'll put their car seats in your car." Yada, yada, yada. She is not that organized, and, to be honest, neither was I. But that didn't give me much to actually She did say to read them to sleep and let them sleep in her bed because they like that and that they are both very well behaved, especially the older girl (I hope, I hope!)
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Are these boys or girls...or one of each? That does make a

    For girls of that age you can help them make bead necklaces and bracelets. That ought to take up a good hour or so. Go to walmart and buy yourself a couple of bags of the different type of brightly colored beads in the larger size. Make sure the holes in the middle of the bead is larger...almost big enough to fit a coffee straw threw it. Then get some elastic thread. You can get it in sorta spool type thing or wrapped around a card. Buy a couple of the plastic darning needles so they wont stick themselves but they are plenty big enough for them to work with. Make doubly sure you double the elastic thread so they dont keep losing the needle off the work. I always just tie one bead at the end about two inches up to stop all the other beads from coming off. MEASURE. I have let Monkey make several necklaces that were too small. When all the beads are strung, tie off the end you left loose and tie it to the top near the needle. Put a dab of super glue on that knot and it will last forever.

    Buy several of those crayola crayons and markers that will only write on a certain type of paper. Get a few sets of those coloring sheets and a pad of blank paper they have there too. Let them color. Or they have finger paints that do the same thing. They wont color or paint on anything but this certain paper. Best thing crayola has come up with.
    Let them help you make their dinner. Little pizza's on either english muffins or a biscuit you have flattened out. Give them the choices of what to put on it. At that age its mostly cheese and pepperoni.

    If you really want to have fun, if they have any of the gaming systems look around for one of the dancing games for kids and let them have a go at it. Then it is settle down time with some microwave popcorn, a small drink and a good movie. Im sure you can rent decent kids movies at the library or you may have some of your own.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Some playtime is fine and dandy and they'll probably love if you interact with them.

    But even watching kids for money (trust me, I did it for years) doesn't mean you have to be joined at the hip with them, nor does mom expect you to be unless she is totally unrealisitc. Doesn't sound like this mom is that way.

    IF you interact, try to do something you enjoy that they enjoy. It makes it more fun for both of you. If the weather is nice, take them out to play a while. If they don't play outside much (this is a huge issue these days) and they haven't a clue what to do once you take them out.......give them some ideas or think of some outside fun to do.

    You have to keep in mind grandson is an only child, no one at home to interact with except parents most of the time, only children I've known tend to crave company.....which is why they try to stick to you like glue. This isn't the case here. Odds are the two little ones are somewhat used to playing together.

    During warm weather........I take kids outside as long as the temp isn't too bad and it isn't the hottest part of the day. Millions of things to do.....even if it is discovering insects in the grass or under rocks. (this can entertain Aubrey and Darrin for literally hours on end lol ) Wears them out too, also works up an appetite. After a long play session outside it is dinner time with hungry kids......then a more settle time before bed. Perhaps a Disney movie and some popcorn? Then bedtime routine and bed.

    You'll pick up most of your cues from the kids and where their interests are as to what to do. All my grands love to be outside rather than about anything else. Out there I lounge in a chair or whatever most of the time......but other times we hunt insects or identify plants or play games or whatever.

    How long is "until mom gets home"?? When I sit for someone I require a I'll be home by such and such a time. Always have, always will. If you leave it wide open you might discover mom doesn't return until sometime the following afternoon and you weren't paid near enough for the amount of time. Know what I mean?? (not to mention you're worried about her) They don't have to give an exact time, but I do want a narrow time frame to have an idea.

    Good luck and just have fun.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    And a commitment to call if they will be delayed...
    AND an agreement on a max return time.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My ideas were more for if you are just sitting occasionally. I have a ton of time alone with kids these Trust me a 7 year old and an almost 2 year old can be a handful. The 7 year old gets extremely tired of lil sis bugging her. I used to make every weekend we had oldest Disney Grandparent time but we have put a stop to that. Yeah she has her own things here and we probably spoil her with having a tablet to play on but she can also play by herself. I do have to shoe her outside to play though most of the time. We practically have a park in my yard with swingset, sandbox, her bike, older little tykes car for the mouse and all that. Monkey can literally ride her bike on our property and do laps that take her about an 8th of a mile around.

    If I was expecting someone to babysit everyday I wouldnt expect them to entertain them constantly. If you only sit once or twice a week, I think having a babysitter bag is a good idea. Special things they will do with you. It can be as simple as printing out some coloring pictures and you have a nice big box of special crayons.

    One good outside thing for them to do is play kick the ball if they dont already have a bunch of stuff they do outside. You just keep a cheap plastic ball which you can pick up at walmart for 2 or 3 bucks and have them play a game of soccer. Or time them in running from one place to the other and if they can beat their times they get a prize.

    I also think things like baking cookies, helping to make their own dinners, and oh...if they are girls here is a huge project that they should love. Well boys and girls should like it. Get some of that chocolate you melt in the microwave. They sell it in a container at walmart. Get some banana's and a box of strawberries. Have them make chocolate covered fruit. That is one of Monkey's favorite things to do in the kitchen. Its really easy too. Just cut the banana's up into about an inch and a half pieces and put them on a skewer and dip. The strawberries just need the stem cut off and then do the same thing with a skewer. We buy skewers at the local grocery store to make kabob's and there must be a hundred of them in the bag.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. Well, it went really well and these are two usually VERY well behaved kids. No meltdowns or crying at all...until...I had to change the little guy's diaper. Poor kid was tired, but he did NOT want his diaper changed and it was wet. I had to have his six year old sister help me keep him still while I put his diaper on then his pants. I'll have to ask his mom what to do about that. Apparently, he does that a lot and he is still in regular diapers. Afterward though we all laid down on Mom's bed, which she told me to do. Wow!!!!! That was some comfy bed! I was aware that the boy fell asleep quickly and then the little girl and the next thing I knew, the mom was waking me So it went ok. Still wish I didn't have to babysit, but a buck is a buck. And they are PCs.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know, isnt it so strange for a 3 year old to still be in diapers? I dont get it at all but my grandson refused to potty train until about 2 months ago and he will be 4 the end of this month.

    Sounds like a good night was had by all. Oh as far as getting a diaper on a child who doesnt want it on, get some small toy and put it in his hand as soon as you start. Sometimes that distracts them long enough to get the diaper on. Mouse runs from us the minute her diaper comes off. She is starting to potty train now, in fact she has been doing that on and off all summer. The other day she took off as difficult child went to get the diaper wipes because she had a dirty diaper and all of a sudden I hear him yelling at me....Dont let her on the bed! She was headed straight there and was halfway up the bed and I snatched off by one leg and just held her like that until difficult child came running
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    There is little reason for a 3 yr old to still be in diapers. Age 2 is going to depend on the child per physical/neuro development and verbal skills. But a easy child child should be trained prior to the 3rd birthday......and honestly I find it far easier to train early into the 2nd yr if the verbal skills are there.

    Brandon was a nightmare to train simply because easy child waited far too long. Thankfully, he's finally doing wonderfully. But holy moly that was much more trouble than necessary. He was far more than ready by his 2nd birthday. She is repeating the same mistake with Connor. Not gonna worry about it, as I will have no part in his training. lol

    I know the trend is to train later, but in my opinion this is lazy parenting. Mine were all trained shortly prior to the 2nd birthday. Nichole actually trained herself. Not a problem. I've potty trained tons of children over the years. Only ones I had issues with were those who's parents waited too long to start.
  13. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I think this too is mostly about child's individual development and only partly about parent choices. Kids develop both physically, cognitively and emotionally with different timetables and if you try to fight that, you just make more work for yourself. And potty training is both about communication and physical things.

    Child without severe issues is not going to be going High School and still in diapers and in the end it doesn't make a big difference, if your kid is potty trained before they turn two or when they turn four. Usually early potty training just gives more work for parents.

    I have not always thought that way. With easy child I did all the tree hugging business and also infant potty training (meaning I started potty training when he was a new born and he did most of his business to potty before he was half a years old.) Okay, I didn't need to wash that many diapers (I used almost only cloth diapers with him), but other than that it was awfully lot of work for me. Also difficult child was in cloth diapers and toddlers with them tend to be quicker to potty train, so also he potty trained himself around two. In less than two weeks and with three accidents during that time. I had planned to start potty train him only bit later. With easy child I used lots of time and effort with that 'elimination communication' business but in the end he too potty trained himself, when he was ready and around the same age difficult child did.

    With nieces and nephews their parents have had very different tactics with potty training. But with every single one it has ended so, that kid will be potty trained when kid is ready and nothing parents do seem to make much difference. And all of them have been potty trained when they have started Kindergarten. Those parents who have given it less effort have escaped lots of work, but still they kids have end up potty trained just as well than those who have put a lot of effort to it. At least it seems to be like that in my family.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, I disagree about the potty training. I never bothered formally potty training any of my kids so they all were trained at different times and my boys were not trained by three. They were still both in diapers. Now Sonic has Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but 35 doesn' fact he was ahead in most everything except for walking and pottying and he was in Gifted and Talented.

    Was I lazy? You bet. I saw little point in making a big deal out of potty training and spending that much time in a bathroom with a child who was eventually going to do it himself. Even Sonic was trained by four and I did not train him at all. He just did it.

    Since I didn't use daycare I had no pressing reason to get 35 trained. He was able to hold it for a few hours for nursery school when he was three. No biggie. I don't think the mother needs to harp on potty training her son. She does not need to send him to daycare. She is home during the day. So she probably also sees no reason to rush it. Actually, I think Julie was over three before she was trained too and she is a very bright girl. Jumper was the only one who potty trained herself at eighteen months. I think potty training is way overrated unless you must get the kids into a daycare that mandates potty training.

    Except for potty training, this little boy is well above his age level. His sister is targeted as Gifted and Talented and I think he will be as well. He talks like a kindergartner should talk. And I said "should" because at Head Start I had a lot of trouble understanding at least 70% of the kids, and some were 4K. They were potty trained. Maybe their moms should have worried more about their speech then their pottying. I was a laid back mom and this is all JMO. I think it's more Old School to over worry about pottying and I think it should stay in the Old School.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Believe it or not, at age 3 and in diapers... if this kid is actually a easy child, then just the "embarrassment factor" may help his training along by quite a bit. It's one thing to have "mom" see your privates. Some "stranger" who is baby-sitting? Hmmm...

    As for my house... given that I don't have neuro-typical kids, (even near-easy child isn't neuro-typical)... there was no such thing as training to anybody's schedule. They were both ready and trained before age 3, but... not by much
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Maybe. He's not in daycare. He's home with his mom most of the time. My son wasn't in daycare either so he cared little if he was in diapers or not.

    He is definitely a easy child. I babysat for him again today and he is easygoing, friendly, good natured, bright and can even amuse himself. He's a happy kid. Haven't seen him cry yet. When his sister got off the school bus, he gave her a big hug and they get along great.

    I really think it's silly to judge whether a kid is a easy child by when he learns to use the toilet. Chances are, like me, his mother doesn't care when he uses the potty Honestly, I never ever sat with any of my kids on a potty. I just let them learn. They learned.

    I'm rather amazed at how well-adjusted both kids seem. My own kids were not this way. Of course, I don't know them that well yet, but so far they are really nice kids.
  17. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I don't have a problem with a 3yo in diapers but when I see someone breastfeeding a kid who is 3,4,5... I absolutely want to scream. I also try to slip the kid some strawberry or chocolate milk when mom isn't looking. (me bad)

  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I know somebody who breast fed that old and I was out shopping with her one day when she did it (blush).

    I really think a parent should push the milestones they feel are important. I can't see breastfeeding a three year old, but in some cultures it is common and I have heard there are benefits to it.

    I've had too many problems with my own kids to judge how other people parent, unless they are obviously beating their kids or leaving them alone at 2a.m. or not feeding them. Who am I to judge? I have one kid who used serious drugs, one we adopted at six who refuses to even speak to me, and one who is 35 going on 5. I'm surprised HE isn't still in diapers!!!!
  19. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    My son wasn't potty trained till he was almost four. He was late with everything. He didn't sit up till he was nine months, didn't start walking till 16 months, and didn't talk until he was two and a half. I did have him in daycare when I was trying to potty train him and he simply refused to even try for me or any of the staff members until he was nearly four. He couldn't move up to the preschool room at daycare until he was completely potty trained and most kids were moving up from toddler to preschool when they were two and three. It didn't bother me much. I knew it would happen for him eventually when he was ready. Now he's a straight A student and I couldn't care less that he was potty trained a little bit late by some people's standards.
  20. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    For all the urine that went down the front of my toilet, I wish I hadn't trained M at 2...