Babysitting is a fun way to earn money on the side, but if you want to win over the hearts and minds of your young charges, there are a few tricks you’ll need to learn. A little preparation before you arrive can help you whip out the right tricks when the need arises, keeping the kids in awe of you and excited to have you around.
Here are five tips that will help you master the art of babysitting:
1. Keep Your Own Basic Supplies On Hand
The key to being the most popular babysitter lies in being organized and remaining calm, even if you’re panicking on the inside. Having a few basic supplies on hand can help you out of sticky situations. The essentials that tend to come in handy include nappy rash cream, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and a few tasty treats (always check with parents as to what treats they allow and enjoy in their house).
2. Get Your Mood Right
Children can sense your mood. If you’re feeling anxious, nervous, or disconnected, they tend to act out. This is perfectly natural as it’s one of few methods young children have figured out for getting attention when they need it.
Before you start your babysitting shift, take a few minutes to bring yourself to a calm state. You might want to listen to soothing music, take a walk, or use a breathing app – find what works best for you. If you want to be a great babysitter, you want to be clear-minded and able to give the children your full attention.
3. Understand The Value Of Boundaries
Boundaries help children understand what they are permitted and what they are not permitted to do. Establish what your boundaries are, and ensure they are consistently upheld. This makes discipline easier because boundary-pushing simply won’t happen. Children respond positively to clear and consistent boundaries. They feel safe knowing where their behavior limits are and how they can earn your trust and approval.
4. Work On Self-Regulation If You Want To Instill Discipline
New research suggests that the best discipline techniques are not forceful. Instead, babysitters, parents, and guardians should strive to work on their own self-regulation skills. This means remaining in control of your emotions at all times. Yelling and getting angry are not habits that demonstrate emotional self-regulation.
If you want to be a great babysitter, make sure you never lose your temper in front of the kids. If you need to “punish” children, remain calm and kind while instructing them on what they need to do to make amends.
5. Keep Some Fun Games Handy
Children rarely behave predictably. You may find yourself extremely popular one day, yet the same children resist your care the next. This has nothing to do with you and probably reflects their desire to have their parents home. Make those tricky days a little easier by keeping a secret stash of games or toys in your bag. This way, there’s something fun and exciting to look forward to when you come to visit. Examples include small model trains or dolls, card games, or art supplies.
Always remember that compassion is the most powerful tool at your disposal as a babysitter. Children don’t choose to be separated from their parents. They want nothing more than to have their parents at home with them. For this reason, you must practice compassion – the more difficult this is to do, the more it is needed.