As of late, I have been spending much time with kids. About 3 days a week, I babysit three wonderful littles – Sophia (7), Julianna (4), and Drew (1). I have come to love these kids so dearly! It’s been so fun getting to know their personalities, and being a second mom to them. I’m so attached to them. We always have much fun with games, crafts, baking, making forts, being silly, etc.. Sophia is headstrong, practical, but goofy at times. Julianna is sensitive, funny, and loves to dance/sing. Drew is adorable, skimpy when it comes to giving kisses, and loves trucks.
This week, I’ve been nannying two girls (Aja, 5, & India, 2. However, they have many nicknames, and I rarely call them by their real names) – what a joy that’s been! I love driving around running errands, walking Aja to school and picking her up, playing with India, keeping up with the household chores, making meals, etc. These two girls are absolute darlings – they say “Thank you” without me having to prompt, and they always say “May I please” upon asking for something. They have their occasional bouts of attitude, but those have been easy to take care of thus far.
After having spent so much time with kids, you begin to learn many things. And so, I compiled a list of 10 things that I’ve learned.
- If there are crayons and/or markers out while a one-year-old is around and you have to leave the room for more than 3 seconds, take all accesible coloring tools with you (or put them well out of reach). If crayons/markers are within reach, things that shouldn’t be colored on will soon have inky or waxy scribbles on them – both of which are rather difficult to remove.
- Your efforts to pick up the Duplos are all in vain. They will be dumped out again within 10 minutes of having put them away.
- Make sure when you say “one more time,” you really mean one more time. If you cave and give them a few “one more times,” kids will quickly learn to walk all over you and your soft heart that wants to give their cute little selves everything they ask for. It won’t take long for a kid to think that they can receive anything they want if they ask frequently enough.
- Cutting food into shapes and such can make all the difference. If you make apple wedges and peanut butter look like a flower (don’t forget the celery for the stem), you are a winner. Children everywhere will you think you are the bomb diggity.
- You can keep a 1-year-old occupied quite well just by simply repeating the sounds they make. They’ll stare in wonder, laugh at your silly attempt to speak their language, and smile at you (with their adorable 5-toothed smile and sparkling eyes).
- Having to change a poopy diaper right after you changed their wet one is just part of life. I think young children get joy out of making you change their diaper twice in 5 minutes.
- Similar to #3… No means no. Unless you come to realize that your reason for saying no in the first place no longer exists, DO NOT CAVE. But at the same time, be sensitive to their wants/feelings, and don’t cause them to feel more frustrated than they already are for not getting what they wanted. For example: “I understand why you want that, but [give valid reason why they can’t have desired thing]. Maybe some other time, but not right now,” is much better than, “Stop asking. I already told you no twice!” A stern voice is good, but not a I’m-annoyed-at-you tone of voice.
- Kids pretty much always want the cup that’s not theirs. Because, you know – orange flowers are much better than the pink bumblebees. Pink bumblebees are so 5 years old.
- To work well with kids, you need a good amount of three things: Flexibility, grace, and imagination.
- Messiness is something you have to accept – messes will happen, no matter what. I’m not saying that you should let your house look like 10 lumberjacks are living there, but don’t get uptight when kids spill all the blocks, crayons, and game pieces all over the floor. Don’t get irritated when they spill their water. Don’t make them feel bad or embarrassed about not making it to the potty on time. Messes happen – and they can be cleaned up. And, it’s a good opportunity to teach kids to clean as they go, and put things away before getting something else out. It also teaches them to be responsible for their own messes, and not to rely on an adult to clean up for them.
Well, this concludes my list. I could have gone on and on about kids, but I figured my list was already on the long side. If you have any comments, feel free to share. If you have tips, leave a comment. If you have disagreements, I’d like to know what they are.