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How to handle your top-5 big-time sitting probs

 
Not all sitting charges are li’l angels. When you run into a sticky situation, though, there’s no need to panic! From kids who refuse to hit the hay (or stop hitting their sibs) to tots who hate hearing N-O, GL’s here to bust your five biggest babysitting problems.

 

Bedtime blues

At least an hour before bedtime, avoid activities, like hide-and-seek, that might get the little ones all wound up. Watching more than one kid? Turn it into a game, advises GL reader Zoey: “I tell the older one to set a good example and get ready for bed. Then I tell his sis to show him how good she listens. It works every time.” And don’t forget to have them brush their teeth.

 

Rough ‘n’ tough

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.  What’s a girl to do? 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.

 

Boo boos

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. Sitch solver? 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.

 

How to say “no”

Sure, you want the kids to like you, but there will come a point in every babysitter’s career where she will have to say that dreaded two-letter word: “No.” Face it—since you’re not their parent, some kids are going to try to pull a fast one on you. You’ve been prepped and know the rules, so stick to them! The kids might cry or flash puppy-dog eyes, but firmly hold your ground. Look at it this way, if you’re a pushover, they’ll keep trying, but if you stay firm and calm, you’ll get the point across that this chica means business. It’ll earn their respect.

 

Popping the Q

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? Talk about a major 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….

 

What’s your biggest babysitting problem?
 
 

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BY PATRICIA MCNAMARA AND L'OREAL THOMPSON ON 9/20/2012 3:16:00 PM

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