When someone you know and love trusts you with the responsibility of looking after their kids, you should feel honored. This is a big deal and shows that they think of you as someone they can depend upon to handle them while they are out on a date or go away for a weekend.
Being a responsible caretaker, even for a short period of time, is also quite the handful. You need to be sure that you are ready and know what to do. There are obvious things to know, such as the right emergency services to call and simple first aid, but here are some other simple yet effective tips that you might not have thought about.
Learn Some Jokes
There is a reason why laughter is considered a universal language. No matter how old you are, where you come from, or what your differences are, people love a good joke and so do kids. Learning some kids jokes helps you break the ice in a sense and make them feel more at ease, especially if the kid is particularly attached to the parents. It shows some comfortability and you can teach them some pretty funny, but wholesome jokes that they can tell their parents.
Introduce Them to Cool Interests
Kids are curious and fascinated by the world around them because of how big it is and how much wonder there is. Teaching them or introducing them to some cool interests, possibly ones that you are already invested in, can have a very positive impact on them. Teaching them things like astronomy, science, history, or musical instruments can open up their eyes to the possibilities that are out there. Maybe it helps them with something they already like or maybe you are showing them a cool new hobby to get involved in, but whatever it may be, you could be helping shape their growth for years to come.
Get Some Physical Exercise
Just like it is important to introduce them to fun hobbies, you should also make sure to get a little physical exercise and activity in. As curious as kids are, sometimes they would like to sit in front of the TV and watch cartoons all day. You cannot really blame them, but that just means you should come up with fun games to play around the house. Hide and seek, tag, do some running around in the backyard or go for a walk can help them get in a little bit of play to help them blow off some steam in a healthy manner. This helps you keep them calm so they are not too rambunctious and their parents or guardians will really appreciate the gesture.
Cook Them a Healthy But Fun Meal
Here is where it starts to get tricky when it comes to looking after a kid. Children can be extremely picky eaters because their taste palette has not yet fully developed. They want McDonald’s or frozen chicken nuggets or any other assortment of unhealthy foods you can think of so you need to get creative with it. Cooking them a healthy meal that is still fun and tasty is not as hard as it needs to be, you just need to think outside the box. If you make mac and cheese, use low fat, low sodium cheese options, or go with vegetarian/vegan alternatives. Something similar can be done if you want to serve them hamburgers or hot dogs, as there are plenty of healthier options that taste just like the real thing. You still want them to enjoy their food or snacks, but you also want it to be healthy.
Know When to Be Strict
Knowing when to put your foot down and be the voice of reason is one of the hardest jobs for a parent, so you can imagine how difficult it could be for you as a babysitter or temporary guardian. What is so difficult about this is wanting to be the cool babysitter that they like without letting them get away with whatever they want. Layout some rules beforehand and let them know you are not punishing them, but helping them learn so they do not feel bad about breaking a rule. It is more important to teach so they can learn for next time rather than just get mad at them.
Being the babysitter is a lot easier than being the parent because you mostly get to enjoy the fun parts of hanging out with a friend or relative's kid, but that does not mean it is a total cakewalk. Fortunately, with these simple and effective tips, it will seem like a walk in the park for you.