In a world where childcare prices can be astronomical (assuming you can even get your child past your local daycare waitlist) a neighborhood babysitter is an absolute God-send. If you’re a local babysitter serving babies and toddlers throughout your neighborhood, then this article is for you. Keep reading to find out some important safety and comfort tips to apply when babysitting babies and toddlers.
1. Communication is Key
Communicating clearly with parents is absolutely vital. Make sure to ask any questions you have that relate to the care of the children you’re going to be watching. Ask about any allergies or safety concerns that might exist. Be aware of whether the child is at an age when they consume solid foods or if they’ll simply be sticking to milk. Get a feel for the child’s daily routine and nap schedule to help make your time with them go much smoother.
2. Take Development into Consideration
Take some time to make yourself aware of certain developmental milestones that exist with babies and toddlers. Although these are loose guidelines because every child will vary, it can still be helpful especially if you babysit for a variety of families. For example, most children won’t start eating solid food until around 6 months of age and most children are starting to walk by 12 months.
3. Practice Emergency Preparedness
As a babysitter, it is important to be aware of the fact that an emergency can happen at any time. By having some emergency management experience, you can be more prepared for any serious situations that could arise when watching children. Look into getting a CPR certification and ask for parents to leave a list of emergency contact numbers in case anything happens while you are watching the children. You should always be paying attention closely while watching toddlers and babies since they can easily get themselves into dangerous situations.
4. Be Firm with Boundaries and Rules
If you want the children you’re babysitting to take you seriously, then you need to take rules seriously yourself. It is important to put your foot down when it comes to important rules so that toddlers and young children will listen and respect your boundaries. Try hard not to give in when it comes to important limitations (such as situations that could threaten a child’s safety) even if the child is upset.
5. Even Young Children Appreciate Respect
It is important to show respect when babysitting, even if you’re watching a toddler or baby. Very young children can recognize respect and may even be smart enough to reciprocate. Although setting limits is important when safety is a concern, it is also important to listen to what a child’s needs are and try to refrain from saying “no” all the time.
6. It is Important to Offer Flexibility
If you want to be successful as a babysitter, having some schedule flexibility is a must. Parents may need some last-minute help and although it isn’t your responsibility to always be there when needed, it can make a huge difference for families. Offering dependability and showing up when you can goes a really long way.
7. Arts and Crafts are a Great Way to Keep Little Ones Busy
Anytime you feel like you’re at a loss for finding ways to keep toddlers and babies busy, try some arts and crafts to keep everyone entertained. There are a variety of fun activities that toddlers and babies can engage in that will help with their development. Look for some age-appropriate activities for the kids you’re watching such as coloring, finger painting, or playing with clay. For messier crafts such as painting, you can set up a blanket outside and give children a chance to embrace their creativity without having to worry about them making a mess inside.
8. When in Doubt, Get Out of the House
It’s no secret that children can be restless (especially toddlers). Whenever you feel like the kids are starting to go crazy and none of the activities at home are keeping them busy, think about taking them out of the house somewhere – only if this is within the parent’s comfort level, of course. Taking kids to play at a local park is one effective way to help them burn energy and get some fresh air. Or you can pack the kids up in a stroller and take them for a walk around the neighborhood if you’re not able to drive anywhere with them.
9. Brush Up on Baby-Proofing
Although there is a good chance that the home where you will be babysitting will already have some baby-proofing precautions in place, it never hurts to be aware of common safety concerns yourself. Pay attention to things like opened outlets, unlocked cabinets, or sharp corners. Also, be aware of small items or toys left lying around that could present a choking hazard. If you notice any of these hazards around the house, you could even point them out to the parents to see if they are willing to eliminate these hazards. They will likely appreciate your safety awareness and vigilance.
10. Provide a Safe Play Area for Moments When You Have to Walk Away
It is important to pay attention to children at all times but there is a good chance that you will run into certain situations when you have to walk away. This is why having a baby gate or playpen on hand can be extremely helpful. Set up a contained, safe play area for toddlers and babies so that you can briefly walk away when you need to, such as to tend to another child or to use the bathroom. Ensure those play areas are safe for the age group you’re watching. For example, young babies who can’t yet roll over should never be left alone with loose pillows and blankets, as these can present a safety hazard.
Babysitting can be one of the most rewarding jobs. Not only will you have a huge impact on the lives of parents but you’ll also serve as a loving and fun person in the lives of young children. Make yourself aware of some important safety precautions and the rest should come naturally.
The Pop N’ Go Playpen provides a safe, sturdy area where children and babies can play.