I babysit, I’ll be honest sometimes it terrifies me. I love children but for those few hours I am responsible for them. Nothing awful has even happened to me, (unless a 2 year who wouldn’t stop screaming for an hour counts) most of the time the most horrific thing I have had to deal with has been an asthma attack and bad dreams.
I have some personal preferences, so despite being told to that I am I’m allowed the beer and wine knocking around the house I don’t touch it, my worst nightmare is that I’ll have a drink and then some sort of disaster will happen and the parents can’t get home and I have to drive the children somewhere. I also don’t invite people to join me, friends or boyfriends, the less people I have to look after, the better as far as I’m concerned. Babysitting is my job, I get paid to do it, I want to do it well.
So here are my little golden rules that allow me to sit back and have a semi relaxing night.
- Always be at your best , fit and well rested, because if you’re ready for a rough night and all you have to do is sit around and read a book it’s bloody lovely. And it’s sods law that if you are tired or feeling unwell everything that can go wrong , will..
- Be acquainted with the children, go around and met them before you babysit. No child wants to wake up and find a stranger where their parents should be and trust me you do not want to handle a 3 year old who is hysterical, won’t sleep and there is nothing you can do because you’re just not mummy.
- Distraction is your best friend, always be prepared to perform, entertain, to be diverting. I think of it as good practice for working in an office and I have cocked something up.
- Be nice but never ever show weakness or fear because no matter how surprised you are about it, you are the person in charge. Once again practice for other better paid less demanding jobs.
- Wear snuggly clothes, it could be long night and you need to be comfortable especially when you have a distressed little person curled up on your lap. Plus you don’t actually have to look good, I mean who is going to see you??
- Never wear earphones and play music or watch TV. It’s a simple thing but your need to be listening constantly, you need to know who is moving, awake, going to loo, crying or jumping on the bed. Also cuts down on noise that could create the dreaded situation of wake ups.
- Bring something special. If you are starting early evening and the children aren’t in bed. I like to bring a muffin or cookie mix jar so the kids can make something nice for their parents. They are easy to make, just find a really big jar and fill with pre-measure the ingredients that need eggs added when you get to the house. Special bubble bath is also good. New games and stories are good for crying kids too. You are the best thing in the world when you produce something new to play with.
- Have a babysitting bag or as I call it the goody bag. Filled with stories, soft toys; a first aid kit for those who wake up. Comics, board games and dvds are also a must for during the day to entertain.
- Tidy up and then relax, do everything that might make noise as soon as possible after bedtime, trust me noise earlier is better than later. Better still no noise at all.
- Make friends with any and all pets and older children. Pets basically so they don’t attack you and older children because you are not really there to babysit them just to stop them burning the house down or having a party.
- Learn all the routines and what makes the kids tick fast, nothing ever makes up for this knowledge. Know everything, where everything is, all the information to. Know about the bears in the wardrobe and the clowns under the bed. Be what you thought your mum was when you were younger, an all knowing omnipotent creature.
- Respect all rules and guidelines the parents set down no matter what.
- Don’t forget your own entertainment.
- And finally the most important one …….If in doubt call the parents.