It seemed like a good idea to keep the children in your care while helping out a loved one, but these days you feel like you are practically going out of your mind or at least on your way there! So what to do? Consider using some creative, yet practical ways to keep the children out of your hair until the parents return.
Let’s say you are watching the children in an environment where there aren’t many toys or so many that the children are actually acting bored about playing with them. If there is a computer in the home that you are allowed to access, check out the family friendly programs on the system. You can show them how to type, open up a program that allows them to paint, or find the ever-popular game Solitare on the system. You can also show them some interactive websites and play family friendly videos on sites like YouTube.
Walking and other outdoor activities.
Some parents don’t allow for too much of anything to go on in the home when it comes to children playing. Children’s toys must be contained in a certain area, jumping and running is forbidden, and very little if any television time. Knowing this, it is always best to keep the children active by planning outdoor activities on a nice day. Think about things like throwing or kicking a ball around outside and encourage old games like Simon Says and Tag. However, avoid activities that will ruin clothes or possibly put children at risk of getting seriously injured.
You can show the children how to make sandwiches or other fun stuff to eat in the kitchen. Then open up a book while they eat and read to them. Then afterward, allow them to help with dishes. However, beware that if you give some children candy and sugary drinks they will become excitable and more challenging to control.
Most people don’t like the idea that children are doing dare devil stuff on furniture. They also don’t want food and other items (like markers and clay) to be carried or used in various parts of the home. Therefore, when in the livingroom or other family area, use these rooms to do things like floor exercises, read, build blocks, play gaming systems and board games, and help with computer work. Avoid doing any physical activity near glass or other fragile items.
Children enjoy cutting and pasting. So if you can find some safety scissors show them how to use them and get them to cut out and color shapes, paper dolls, greeting cards, etc. Drawing paper and coloring books also come in handy!
Whether small or large, children enjoy stacking, moving, and filling up boxes. So if you can find a few empty boxes why not use them to play a game using their imagination?
The game of teacher has been popular for years amongst children. However, parents have little time to play this game with their children. So why not make learning more fun by showing them new things that will help them in life. Find storybooks and videos with positive themes and ask them questions. Use paper to draw pictures and get them to join in on your projects.
Whether a real or play phone, children will feel at ease if they know they can talk to someone on the phone. Why not encourage them to role play? If the child is really missing mom, dad, a grandparent or someone else, call them and let their little one talk to them.
Sometimes a neighbor can be a great source of information when it comes to calming a child. If you are out for a walk and happen to see someone the child knows, why not make some small talk and find out what they do to calm their own children.
Car or Bus Ride
If you have access to a car or other means of transportation, by all means use it when you are experiencing negative emotions due to watching difficult children. A car or bus ride will distract your mind enough (as well as the children) that you will be less focused on every little thing the children do and vice versa and more interested in seeing the scenes while having a pleasant experience around others. Also, witnesses seeing you with the children will keep you grounded so that you won’t feel tempted to do the unthinkable.
Bathing & Sleep
When you have done all that you can do, draw up a bath for the children and get them ready for bed. It doesn’t matter if it’s early in the afternoon or late into the evening, an unruly, fussy child who has been tended to such as: being given his or her recommended medicine, food, burped, changed, etc. will become very tired after the day’s events. So do yourself and a working parent a favor, put the child to bed not in front of the TV when you know it’s close to the child’s bed time.
TV & radio
Depending on which you choose to calm a child, TV or radio, keep in mind that your show or musical choice will either excite or calm a child. So if you want the toddler to remain calm, try putting in a video that is soothing. If you want to excite the child with the intention to do other things to tire him or her out then go with the exciting show or dance music. If there aren’t any videos in the home, try the Internet.
Keeping all these tips in mind, know that you aren’t the only person who is going through trials and tribulations when it comes to watching children. It can be very challenging dealing with babies and toddlers that you are not use to handling. Try to learn as much about the personality of the child before you agree to watch him or her again. Also, do keep a record of everything you did with the child and the child’s response to your actions while the parent was absent. Recording video can help with this. This way you will avoid problems between you, parent and child in the future.