Monday, February 6, 2012


One of the tricky things about babysitting co-op is that your child must learn to act as sort of a host during your babysitting shifts. While we think this is great practice, it's not always easy practice. When child care takes place in a neutral location like a day care center, all of the children are on equal ground as far as toy ownership is concerned, but when the child care is happening in your house, your child may feel territorial--and rightly so.

To help you and your child with the difficulties of sharing when the other children arrive for your babysitting shift, we've put together a few tips:

1. Put away precious items before the shift starts. If there are toys that are so special to your child that he would be devastated if something happened to them, put them up and out of sight before the children even arrive, and remind your child that the toys won't come down until the babysitting shift is over.

2. Don't force your child to share. Well-meaning parents may occasionally grow impatient with their children and take a toy out of her hand to hand to another child. While this technique may solve the immediate sharing problem, it doesn't give your child an opportunity to grow, and it may result in her acting even more tight-fisted next time.

3. Help kids to solve the sharing problem themselves. Instead of stepping in and policing the situation, talk it through to help the kids solve it on their own. Say something like, "Hm, it looks like we have a problem here. Both of you want the same toy right now, but that won't work. How can we solve this problem?" If the kids are too young to solve the problem themselves, give them a couple of options to choose from: "Brandon will play with it for 15 minutes, and then Anna will get it for 15 minutes."

4. Remember the art of distraction. If the situation gets really tense and the kids can't solve the problem themselves, distract the kids with a new activity or toy. Use this method as a last resort. You'll exhaust yourself if you spend the whole babysitting shift trying to entertain everyone and avoid all conflicts. Remember that a certain amount of conflict is inevitable, and learning to negotiate never hurt anybody.

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