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Yikes! What to do when: Babysitting edition

Sib wars. A mysterious knock at the door. A family heirloom hits the floor. Put the jitters aside with the GL guide to sticky babysitting sitches.

Four-year-old twins Billy and Bobby were playing nice a minute ago, but now they’re punching each other over who gets the Bob the Builder dump truck.

Separate the sibs so they can cool off. A good rule to follow is a minute of time-out for each year of the child’s age. It doesn’t matter who “started it.” You’re there to stop it. Tell them fighting is not OK and that Round Two lands them back in time-out.

All is quiet and the kids are great, but suddenly, there’s a knock on the door. Mrs. Smith never said anything about someone showing up.

Do not open the door, even if there’s a chain. It doesn’t matter a lick if the stranger says he’s coming to fix the plumbing/clean the carpets/deliver the million-dollar prize. Tell him to come back at a later date. Call the parents to give them a heads-up about the situation. And don’t hesitate to dial your folks, a neighbor or 911 if you feel threatened.

As the old saying goes, “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” Or in this case, a very expensive vase in the living room just smashed to the ground.

Honesty is definitely the best policy. Clean up any mess before the kiddies hurt themselves, then ’fess up to the parents, apologize, and offer to repay them. They’ll probably let it slide, but clearing the sitch will showcase your maturity and integrity.

The kids are asleep, the house is clean, but it’s now 3 a.m., and Mr. and Mrs. Brooks are nowhere to be seen.

It’s entirely possible they lost track of time. Give their cell, or even the restaurant, a ring. If they don’t answer, call your parents or another trusted adult to come to the house and wait with you until they return.

You and Annie are playing dolls when out of nowhere she asks you, “Where do babies come from?” What do you do when the kids ask you something difficult or embarrassing?

A blush-much moment! Kids are curious little creatures who ask a lot of questions. But you don’t have to answer all of them—and probably shouldn’t. It’s best to leave it to the professionals (aka Mom and Dad). Simply reply, “That’s a great question, but we should wait until Mommy and Daddy come home to help us figure that one out.” Phew….

Dilemma:  The dad—gross—hits on you during the car ride home.

Solution:  If this happens even once, immediately tell your parents or other adult you trust.  Just letting it slide won’t solve the problem, and you’re just putting the next sitter in the same icky position—and possibly in danger.  Them, don’t ever sit for them again—and tell all your friends not to, either!

BY GL ON 11/7/2013 12:00:00 AM


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