Babysitting 101: Tips for Covid babysitters

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Canva Illustration by Destiny Montgomery

Destiny Montgomery, Reporter

With Governor Wolf’s orders of closing all Pennsylvania schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic school year, many siblings are left babysitting their younger siblings, cousins or neighbors. 

I babysit my 12, 11 and two year old cousin every day, and sometimes my three year old sister. Babysitting can be hard, but I have some advice for any new babysitters who do not know what to do.

  1. Babysitting your family will be a lot easier than babysitting kids that you don’t know well. Ask your parents if there are any specific things they usually do for your sibling that you might not know of. It usually depends on the age of the child/children you are watching. If you are watching a neighbor or a family friend’s child, have them leave a list of their likes, dislikes and times for when they usually do things. I babysit my cousins, so I know their routines for the most part. 
  2. You want to be a fun babysitter, but don’t let the kids get out of hand. You want to keep them in control, so you can keep babysitting, and not make the parents mad. You have to know how the parents discipline them, so you can do the same if they act up. You need to figure out what type of things should be disciplined, and what shouldn’t be. My cousins can act up once in awhile, but I know the proper discipline for them. 
  3. Find things to do that don’t revolve around electronics. If they don’t have board games, bring some of your own. If the kids are of the age to understand how to play, teach them and have fun with it. If you are babysitting a baby, he or she should already have plenty of toys, so play with them. They need the attention. My cousins love their electronics, but when I tell them to get off and play a game, they love it. It is nice to spend quality time with family to get to know them more. 
  4. When babysitting a baby, never take your eye off of them. You want to make sure that they don’t get into anything that can hurt them. And babies need attention, so they will be around you a lot, wanting your attention. One of my cousins is two, so I always have my eye on her, along with the other kids, to make sure she has the food and love that she needs.
  5. Don’t just do the activities that you want to do. Make sure you do some things that the kids like. They will like you more, and they will have more fun with you babysitting them. My cousins like to go outside when it is nice, so I take them outside. They also love playing cards, so we all play cards together. 
  6. Report everything back to the parents. Let them know the good and bad things that happened, because they could give you advice for next time, and what to do if things get out of hand. The parent of the child is the main source for advice on their own kids, so don’t hesitate to ask!