I love everything about babysitting. Well, almost everything. Bedtime is not my favorite. The fun babysitter in me wants to keep the kids up all night playing games and watching videos.
But the responsible babysitter in me (the one that has been Safe Sitter® trained) knows I can’t do this. I must follow the rules the parents established which means, following the bedtime schedule.
I can’t lie, I’m a sucker for one more book or a drink of water. It’s so hard to tell the kids no because what if they really are thirsty? But as tempting as it is to give in, I’ve learned that I can’t. I’ve also learned a few tricks to help kids stick to their bedtime routine.
Check out my video on getting kids to bed. You’ll get some really good ideas that will help you with your next job. And best of all, you’ll find out that babysitting sleeping children while catching up on your Netflix series is a pretty fantastic way to make a few dollars!
How to get kids to bed when you’re babysitting.
All babysitters know that taking care of kids is hard work. The toughest thing you have to tackle, the dreaded (baby cries) the dreaded bedtime. If you’re new to babysitting, you may be thinking, what’s the big deal? Just tell them it’s time to go to bed! The big deal? Even if the kids you’re watching are little angels, most kids don’t want to go to bed. And they have a whole list of excuses ready and waiting.
My mom lets me stay up. I’m thirsty. Just one more story, please?
It can be tempting to give in but don’t do it. Kids are not very good judges of whether they are tired or not. And if you let them stay up, they’ll get super cranky and be even harder to get to bed. Plus, their mom and dad won’t be too happy that you messed with the kid’s bedtime habits. Or worse, let them stay up and left bedtime to a mom and dad that are pretty tired themselves. Better to deal with this problem head-on.
First, take notes about the kid’s bedtime routine when you meet with the employer about the job. You did meet with the employer before the job, right? Sometimes the routine includes a snack, a story, and a special way of tucking them in.
Second, plan for activities like movies or games to be finished by bedtime. If they won’t be done in time, it might be better to propose a shorter show, activity, or game.
Third, give the kids lots of notice that bedtime is coming up. Give a 5-minute warning to preschoolers and a 30-minute warning to school aged children. Finally, stay firm and don’t give in. The kids need their sleep, and their mom and dad will thank you for it. Besides, you may actually get a few minutes of peace and quiet before the end of the night. Follow these tips and bedtime will seem like a dream.
Oh, and don’t fall asleep just yet. Remember to check on the kids about 30 minutes after putting them to bed. Just make sure you do it like ninja style, so you don’t wake them up.
If you’ve tried everything in this video and you are still having behavior issues at bedtime, check out our Behavior Tips.
Take a Safe Sitter® class and learn more child care skills. Find a class near you!