We all know that kindness and watching kids should go together like peanut butter and jelly. But we also know that sometimes we can’t find the peanut butter, or the jelly runs out halfway into the making of the sandwich. That’s what it’s like to be in a difficult situation: we find it hard to find the right words to say and our patience is tested. Sometimes babysitters can become frustrated with the kids they babysit. Learning how to calmly handle these situations is all part of babysitting. The best sitters know how to manage challenging behavior with a smile on their face.
One time I babysat six kids, all under ten years old, with my friend. As most would agree, bedtime can be challenging for any sitter and even parents too! Once their bedtime of 9 pm came around, the oldest refused to go to bed so early. Quickly, like rapid fire, the rest joined in the whining. The night had been going so well up to that point. So, with big smiles on our faces, we asked the two younger girls if they wanted us to go upstairs with them and read a bedtime story.
Once the girls were asleep after some reading, my friend and I struggled to find the right way to approach the situation and not get angry at the older boys for refusing to go to bed like they were asked to. So, we decided to give the boys the choice of staying up for only fifteen extra minutes with us to play a quick card game before going to bed or having to explain to their parents in an hour why they were still awake and not in bed. They chose to play cards with us for fifteen minutes and went straight to bed afterward.
What made that babysitting job a success was that we did not raise our voices and demand everyone to go to bed immediately. We followed the parent’s rules for bedtime and absolutely did not get angry and use physical or verbal force. Instead we used behavior management tips like “When…Then” and “Give Choices” to control the situation while incorporating kindness. Children will respond well to situations handled with kindness rather than anger. If you show them kindness in your response to their challenging behavior, they will have no reason but to reciprocate kindness back to you. Responding with anger will most likely encourage an even more angering response from the child.
So, you see, there is no point in just standing in the kitchen yelling and yelling that there is no jelly for you to make your sandwich. Instead, you either find some jam or decide to take action and go to the grocery store in order to make your perfect pb&j. Kindness is essential when babysitting. If you don’t use kind words and have a good attitude, your job is not complete, just like a pb&j without jelly.
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