Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Babysitting 101: Tips & Ideas

Have you just received your first babysitting job and don’t know what to do? Or is this the hundredth time you are babysitting and are out of things to do? This quick guide can provide you with some tips and ideas to help you through the first time experience or just another babysitting job. The first few are general tips that should be taken into consideration for children of any age group.

1. First and foremost, it is highly recommended to be aware of the basic first aid. Look up local health care centers or hospitals that offer free CPR training and first aid workshops. Accidents can occur while on the job, and it’s best for you and the child if you are aware and experienced in such circumstances.
2. If the parents are absent while you are sitting, make sure they leave you the necessary contact numbers and information, such as their own mobile numbers and the pediatricians.
3. To better prepare yourself in case of an emergency, ensure the full address of the home you are sitting at.
4. Ask the parents to make you a list of their rules. Make sure you know the preferred bedtime, appropriate television channels and movies, and allergies.

It’s important to understand that some ideas might be suitable for one age, but not appropriate for another. The following tips and ideas are organized in relation to specific age groups.

When babysitting an infant…
1. Know where all vital things are, such as diapers, bottles, food and toys.
2. Changing a diaper may be quite difficult, so make sure you know what you are doing or it can become messy!
3. Become aware of the infant’s schedule; when they sleep, when they eat and how much. By writing these downs and keeping track, you will become more acquainted and prepared.
4. Ask parents about any specific techniques they use when infant gets rowdy or when putting them to sleep. If there is a rocking chair, this could be a life saver. Gentle rhythmic motion causes instant sleep.
5. Spread a blanket on the floor and let the baby kick freely. Babies like to be able to move around and wiggle their feet.

When babysitting a toddler…
1. Keep the child entertained by playing different games. Construct things with building blocks or play Hide and Seek.
2. Give the child a wooden spoon and start a band. Kids at this age love to make noise
3. Don’t just sit around and watch television. Toddlers love to be chased after. Pretend you are a big bear and chase them around the room.
4. If the weather is pleasant, take the toddler out for a stroll. For safety purposes, trying using the stroller. It’s also an easy way for them to fall asleep.
5. Toddlers are full of energy and always on the run. Put on some music and dance.
6. Toddlers love animals. Read any books with animal pictures and animal sounds.

When babysitting three-to-five year olds…
1. Read books to them. Take them to a nearby library and have them pick out their favorite books.
2. Allow them to bring out their artistic sides. Manipulate clay, paint brushes, and finger paints.
3. Play dress-up! Children at this age love to play and explore.
4. Hands-on experiences are crucial. Bring puzzles and board games that are age appropriate to keep them entertained, such as Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land.

When babysitting six-year olds and older…
1. Babysitting children in elementary school is a little easier. They will enjoy all the activities listed above, and even suggest ideas of their own. But make sure homework is completed before moving on to anything else.
2. Children in this age group are becoming increasingly more interested in computers. Check with the parents first if using the internet is acceptable. Websites such as www.jumpstart.com will provide fun and learning at the same time.
3. Play board games together such as Monopoly, Guess Who? And Connect Four.

Always keep in mind to be safe and obey any instructions given from the parents. Other than that, have fun and be grateful that they can be returned by the end of the shift.

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