Have a discussion with the parents prior to babysitting
Before babysitting for a new family, it is important to sit down with the parents and discuss their discipline techniques. Discipline techniques vary from family to family and also from child to child. The same discipline does not work on all children even if they come from the same family. Some children are very strong-willed while others are more timid. Your discipline techniques will vary depending on the child or children you are babysitting. It is important to sit down with both parents before babysitting. While some parents discipline their children both the same, sometimes you may encounter a family where one parent is more lenient than the other. You need to know where the parents stand on discipline issues and follow their guidelines. If a situation arises and you find it difficult to handle, as a babysitter, you will need to discuss it with the parents when they get back. The parents will likely give you some tips on how to handle the situation differently and will also discuss the situation with their children and explain to them how they expect their child or children to act when a babysitter is in charge. Consider taking a babysitting course to find out the best way to handle discipline issues.
Don’t go back on your word!
A sure way for children to not listen to you is to say something and then do another. For example, you ask the children to put their toys away before going to bed and promise them to read an extra story if they do so on time. The children ignore your request and you still decide to read an extra bedtime story. It is also important to never give in as children will learn that they just need to keep asking you and they will get what they want. For example, you ask the children to turn off the tv as it is bedtime. They beg you to watch another episode of their favorite show. After a few minutes, you give in and let them watch another episode.
Always remain calm and ignore temper tantrums
Although it might be difficult to stay calm when a child throws a temper tantrum, it is very important to do so when this happens. Children will notice if you are getting upset and this will only make the situation worse. When a child sees the person in charge of them remain calm, the temper tantrum subsides. You can ignore them until they calm down, however make sure they are always in a safe place by supervising them remotely without them seeing you.
Time-outs are effective
Giving a child a time-out is an effective way to discipline them. The length of the time-out usually depends on the age of the child, for instance if a child is three, they should be in a time-out for three minutes. Removing a child from an activity has proven to be an effective way for the child to calm down and to think about what they have done. After the time lapse, it is important to speak to the child about why they were in a time-out in the first place and to discuss alternative ways of behaving. Time-outs are most effective for children aged two to eight.
Another good discipline technique is implementing consequences. Children need to know that if they behave inappropriately such as hitting, biting or destroying property, for example, throwing toys- there are going to be consequences. Following up on these consequences is very important if you want the behaviour to stop.
Be positive and have fun!
Children will always remember the babysitter they had the most fun with. If you entertain the children and show them you are interested in playing with them and having fun, they are less likely to throw tantrums to get your attention. It is important to stay positive and be patient.
Don’t always intervene…..too soon!
Sometimes children just need to figure it out by themselves. Always monitor the situation and intervene before it gets too heated. If the children cannot come up with a solution, you may suggest one and if they do not agree, then they both should not get what they wanted. If they do come with an agreement, praise them for coming up with a solution to encourage the behavior.
The Do’s of Discipline