Sidekick Sitters has learned throughout babysitting in diverse settings that getting children to cooperate can be a challenge, especially when the babysitters are new faces. Through experience we've collectively learned that children are happy to cooperate and care because we do the following; Explain situations and expectations beforehand - children absolutely love communicating! We make an effort to keep the children informed on the day's agenda and what they can expect so they feel included - they absolutely love to feel included! It gives them an opportunity to suggest ideas, ask questions and express their feelings on what they think about the day's agenda. It then allows us to discuss, collaborate and adjust accordingly to keep the children happy and cooperative.
Here's an example; "We've got plans for the beach at 1 pm after our lunch. We've got to change into our swimmers and put some sunscreen on to protect our skin. I was thinking of bringing a floaty and some water toys. What floaty and water toys do you think we should bring to have the best time at the beach?"
Explaining to children and keeping an open dialougue with them, not only helps them understand that our requests and plans are good for everyone, it's also a catalyst for earning respect from the young ones. When communication is in the form of a suggestion it elicits cooperation.
Children love options and we love to give children options especially while they are on vacation because that's what vacations are about - flexibility for enjoyment. The beauty of babysitting children who are on vacation is that they are usually not restricted to a schedule. This allows the babysitters to give the children more options and form a list of activities/plan that the children have contributed to.
In the event that a child doesn't want to cooperate, we have learned that redirection and distraction works best when handling the situation. For example, if the child is throwing their legos across the room, we would explain that it could hit someone and hurt them or hit an object and break it, and instead suggest that we could build a really cool tower together. If a child starts to throw a tantrum, we would then suggest another activity - this changes the atmosphere and distracts them from carrying on with their tantrum.
Overall we've learned that cooperation and communicating amongst children are skills that will continuously develop over time through experience. They will use these skills amongst many others throughout their lifetime and although babysitters may only be part of their lives for the short-term, we teach children for the long-term impact.