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 Post subject: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:24 pm 
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I'm babysitting tomorrow our neighbor's children. They are 2 and 5 years old. They share a small studio apartment with their two parents, so I'm guessing they will be coming over to our apartment, which is much bigger.

I need some good ideas for how to keep them entertained. They have LOTS of energy and actually the 2 year old likes to "fight" karate-style with his brother...who's always trying to run away from him.

What can I do that is appropriate for BOTH ages to participate? I have crayons and coloring books. We have a VCR and DVD. Are there any fun dancing games? Should we build a fort?

It's going to be about 5 hours of sitting.


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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 2:16 pm 
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graffitipassion wrote:
I'm babysitting tomorrow our neighbor's children. They are 2 and 5 years old. They share a small studio apartment with their two parents, so I'm guessing they will be coming over to our apartment, which is much bigger.

I need some good ideas for how to keep them entertained. They have LOTS of energy and actually the 2 year old likes to "fight" karate-style with his brother...who's always trying to run away from him.

What can I do that is appropriate for BOTH ages to participate? I have crayons and coloring books. We have a VCR and DVD. Are there any fun dancing games? Should we build a fort?

It's going to be about 5 hours of sitting.


Dry beans and rice in a plastic bin with measuring cups to scoop. Keeps my two rowdy kids entertained for hours. They're 9 and 2.

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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:13 pm 
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since they're coming to your house, you have to be well prepared.
I'd have them make something with me- maybe ants on logs, cookies (and then we eat the dough!! mwah!); some kind of homemade game with tossing things, like pillows, onto spots on the floor.
silent tag. little kids crack up playing it. simon says. hokey pokey.
when things start to get tired, get out some newspaper and paintbrushes and paint with water. draw funny caricatures of each other, or have drawing contests. painting with water is so weird that kids love it and it's easy cleanup.
i like the kitchen stuff too- i have enough plastic in the kitchen that when we have small kids come over i get out the measuring cups and plastic bowls and a wooden spoon and we start making towers. tupperware is good for this.

Quote:
should we build a fort?

yes, the answer is always yes.

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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:21 pm 
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Yes yes yes forts!


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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:32 pm 
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Oh, I'm so excited about the beans and rice, tupperware suggestions because we have A LOT of that in our house.

So maybe a dance session, tag playing. Then make food, play with beans, fort buillding. Then when they mellow out, some watercolors.

It's good to know there's things to do that won't cost money!!


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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:34 pm 
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graffitipassion wrote:
Oh, I'm so excited about the beans and rice, tupperware suggestions because we have A LOT of that in our house.

So maybe a dance session, tag playing. Then make food, play with beans, fort buillding. Then when they mellow out, some watercolors.

It's good to know there's things to do that won't cost money!!


That sounds lovely. You can babysit me anytime!


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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:53 pm 
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I just bumped into the dad, and he said they probably weren't even going to leave to go out. Just spend some quality time alone next door (wink, wink). So while they are having romantic time they'll be hearing all sorts of ruckus from us through the walls! Oh well, alone time is alone time, right?


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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:29 am 
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NEVER ask "So what do you kids want to do now?" Unless they both magically want to do the exact same thing, and the thing they both want to do is safe, nonviolent, and legal...you're screwed if you ask that question. ;-) Instead, ask them "Do you want to do Activity A or Activity B?" That way, even if they don't want to do the same activity, you can do one and then the other, or they can do both simultaneously while you supervise.

Sometimes an older kid feels good about helping a younger kid learn something -- like "Can you show your sibling how to draw a square?" or "Will you please show your sibling how we put the toys away?"

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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:56 pm 
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Just an update on how it went...

It was actually kind of draining. I wanted the older one to help me make dessert, but he really wasn't having it. He had his hand-held electronic game, and walked away after 5 minutes.

I gave the two of them a tub of beans and rice, and that occupied them for about 10 minutes.

The parents ordered pizza for them, so when it came, we all sat down to eat. The 2 year old wouldn't eat ANYTHING. The 5 year old only peeled the cheese off the top. It was kind of disappointing that they ate so poorly.

They didn't want to play hide-n-seek, didn't want to have a dance party. So finally, we tried to read them books for a while...but they just wanted to watch Youtube videos. We gave in because we were out of ideas.

Is this normal? I know their parents give them everything they want, let them stay up until 12pm most nights, let them eat junk food (they don't eat any veggies...ever). So maybe I just had a tough crowd.


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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:17 pm 
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if this is what they do at home, you can't expect a miracle. we have some kids in our family that are little PS3 zombies- i think they can talk, but i've never heard it. they blink once an hour and will only eat steak (minced) and white rice that their aunt spoons into their mouth (two children, age 11 and 9) while they're zombified. Their parents enable such behavior- it will take professional help, not a babysitter, to undo addictions like this.
(i am the bad auntie that flips the circuit breaker when they come to our house and make them jump in the moon bounce and have water balloon fights- they don't like me.)

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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:32 pm 
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torque wrote:
(i am the bad auntie that flips the circuit breaker when they come to our house and make them jump in the moon bounce and have water balloon fights- they don't like me.)


Water balloon fights!? How cruel.


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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:34 am 
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for the 2 year old, 10 mins on one activity is great. And kiddie stomach's are smaller then ours, a tbsp of food per meal, per year is a good measure of what you can expect a child to eat. Its up to the parents to introduce a varied diet though. In many ways, it sounds like you are up against the parenting style though. ON the plus side, it you watch them again, they will be familar with these activities and more likely to do them, and do them for longer.

And i stay at home with an almost 1 1/2 year old, and keeping them entertained can be draining.


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 Post subject: Re: Babysitting ideas from parents/experts
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:38 am 
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One thing that I have learned about babysitting is that it's good to have ideas for what to do, but not a plan. I don't know what their days are usually like, what they like to do, in what order, what their energy levels are like at different times throughout the day. So I have lots of "let's do this!" suggestions but if they say no, no skin off my nose. I think your experience is totally normal. When I'm only there for a few hours at a time, I'm not going to discipline them (unless they're being unsafe, cruel or rude), because telling them "no, you can't play video games when I'm here" only means that they're going to hate it when I'm there and beg their parents to get somebody else. Also, they're no my kids, so I leave any judgment about their eating habits at the door, because I don't have to deal with feeding them several times a day.

Last night, I went to my parents' for Thanksgiving and found myself sort of in charge of a 3 year old and 18 month old. We spent about 30 minutes running from room to room looking at the cats (there are three cats, so we were just going back and forth), having a multiple course tea party with some coasters, watching a music box, and singing songs. This was all initiated by the three year old. I think, for the most part, kids just like having somebody focus undivided attention on them and are often pretty good at entertaining themselves.


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