Good Afternoon Munchkins!
Today I thought I would give you some tips when caring for children (such as younger siblings, cousins, nieces/nephews etc.) for a day or something, using my own experience to help you. I would sometimes care for my Mum’s ex’s children, who are 5 and 7, and so these are things I have learnt from them. Basically, I make mistakes in life and I let you all learn from them! These are pretty simple and aren’t designed for those who maybe want to go into childcare (you would need to be fully trained by a professional for that, not just read one of my blog posts!) but instead for any nervous carers or those who are just looking after a sibling for a few hours or something.
Something that I know my siblings benefit from is helping with their homework. They are both now in school and sometimes they receive holiday homework, so even if it’s in the summer they may still have some (these tend to be a bit more creative though so you can get involved and have some fun too). This is literally a free pass-time activity that can also take whatever stress they have from it off their shoulders. I personally love helping my brothers with their homework because it’s really easy and I feel like verbally helping them at the same time squeezes every little ounce of knowledge out of them (hence helping them further). It also ensures their parent doesn’t have to help them do it after a long day of work, which they probably won’t want to do!
If you are a bit anxious about caring for the children you are being given for the day, your best bet would be to turn to a Movie Day. Again, this is really popular amongst my siblings and lets you chill as well. All you really need to be concerned about is whether they are watered, fed and still breathing. As I type (I’m not sure when this is going up) I’m planning on doing this the first day I am caring for them by myself just to wean myself into it and ensure they can’t get hit by cars if we go for a walk or escape me in anyway. Obviously you would let the kids choose the film/s but it is a time to relax and let them enjoy their time with you as well. If you want to be really kind to them, you could even purchase snacks but be aware of a sugar rush that could come from sweets or chocolate and the stress that will give you (I’m not going with this option!)!
These are a life saver if you have a child that is constantly ‘bored’. When I was a child, I remember you could get themed ones like Disney Princess or Hello Kitty fairly cheaply in supermarkets and it included a small activity booklet, some sweets and some other little bits to keep me entertained. I remember these a lot! We also own a pack of cards that has different activities on each one (I think there are around 100 in the pack) and you can write on them in whiteboard pen and wipe it off for another use and some are designed for different ages. They are literally amazing and they contain a whole range of puzzles from logic to mathematical and I know that they both enjoy these cards very much. They will never be ‘bored’ again!
This is onto the more practical things but is one that I use a lot and I think my brothers enjoy it too. I don’t want my brothers thinking that I’m any better than them because at the end of the day, we’re siblings, we’re on the same metaphorical level so I will give them an option a lot of the time. I think it also helps their development in terms of making decisions and other little areas (Health and Social Care GCSE shining through!) and so makes me feel as if I’m doing them some good! An example of this could be as simple as taking a picnic out with a couple of types of fruit and giving them the option of ‘banana or orange’. Clearly, you would take two types of fruit (in this example) that you both like so you don’t mind either way what they choose but it allows them to be a bit more independent within a restricted set of guidelines. It could also be made for slightly bigger things like where to go ‘the farm or the cinema?’. I think this also makes you seem a little less harsh than what parents can sometimes be (or at least come across!)!
Apply The Same Rules As Their Parents/Guardians
I think this kind of goes without saying but enforcing the same rules that they’re parents have taught them and using the same punishments just makes sure the child knows their place and that it’s no different just because the parent isn’t there. It might be difficult but it does get easier over time! It will benefit the child eventually once they learn their lesson and it is the right thing to do, no matter how hard it may seem!
And there we have it! I hope you have enjoyed this blog post – if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments below. As tiring as it may seem, childcare isn’t ‘too bad’ and can be quite rewarding. It’s also great training for you and your partner if you are thinking of having kids yourselves!
Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you Tuesday,