In my 14 years of being a babysitter, I’ve been on hundreds of babysitting appointments. Despite the ages, nationality, socioeconomic background or parenting style, they almost all have a few things in common.
Typical behaviour pattern of children with a new babysitter:
Most children are on their best behaviour for the first appointment with a new babysitter. They’re excited to connect, play games and show the babysitter about themselves.
Children are excited to impress, and really engaged with a babysitter on the first visit.
Children typically behave their worst the second time with a babysitter. This is the window of opportunity where a child tests the boundaries to see how gullible babysitter is, and where they stand on discipline.
In a home with multiple children, this may be the time where children conspire together to trick the babysitter. At this appointment, it’s very important for the babysitter to be firm on boundaries and enforce the rules of the home.
By the third appointment, a child’s behaviour normalises. Their excitement will be more or less the same from hereon out, and their impression of the babysitter and what playtime with them is like with them is more or less established.
This is almost always the pattern of behaviour for children ages 5 and older. Children younger than 5 are less predictable, given that they may have separation anxiety.
Having a rotation of babysitters keeps excitement high and behavior excellent with children. It also helps build tolerance in children as they learn to play with people from different backgrounds.
By Kayla Ihrig. Kayla is the sustainable living and travel blogger behind www.writingfromnowhere.com. Babysitting has been both a side job and a full-time living for Kayla. She shares advice on the Baby’s First Sitter Blog from 14 years of childcare experience.