Children love the thought of being awarded the roll of “Babysitter.” It’s a big title with a lot of weight and meaning behind it. It means
THEY ARE IN CHARGE.
Or at least that’s what they *think* it means!
More accurately, it means they are trusted by mom and dad enough to be allowed some form of authority in a younger sibling’s life. They are most definitely not THE authority, but during the time they hold the roll of Babysitter, what they say carries weight and has the power of, “I’ll tell mom and dad,” behind it.
But, they have to be good leaders. They have to gain the respect of their younger siblings. And they have to possess the skills it takes to care for younger children.
So, how do you begin teaching these skills?
One of the best ways to teach babysitting skills is through organized play.
Often, we will begin by letting an older-younger babysit a toddler sibling in a confined area. This could mean in a playpen, a play yard, a swing, a high chair or a bedroom (that is safe from choking hazards).
Why a confined area?
1. The younger child is less likely to escape.
2. The older child is less likely to become distracted.
3. If the older child does become distracted, the younger child is still “safe.”
We also give the older child ideas for what and how to play. They can feed the baby in a high chair, they can push the toddler in the swing, they can hand toys to the little one in the play pen, they can play cars or blocks in the play yard or bedroom.
This is “organized play.”