Thursday, January 10, 2013

Activity Box and Babysitters

So, confession... I use babysitters.

I work (very part-time) from home and Chiquita + me does not = work.  So for around 10 hours a week someone comes to spend some time with Chiquita.  The purpose of this post isn't really to discuss babysitters but... it was a long road to find the perfect babysitter, older girls were not interested, younger girls didn't always have the best judgement and all the youth in my neighborhood had about 50 different extracurricular activities in their lives, meaning I had a different sitter for each day of the week to work with their dance/soccer/clogging/basketball schedules.  Finally found what seems to be a perfect fit, of course she's leaving as soon as she makes enough money to move on with her life... sigh.

So, with all the babysitters (except the gem I have now) I found that either they seemed to be watching tv the whole time (sometimes shoes that weren't really for Chiquita) or they would follow Chiquita around while she played only engaging as she invited them.  They were just teenagers so what could I expect, right?  Well, one of my friends had given me some almost forgotten advice - if you want a babysitter to do more then you have to ask them directly.

When I remembered that advice the "Box of Fun" was born.  I just wrote engaging activities that I know Chiquita would like and would be "educational" for her on slips of paper, put them in an abandoned wipes box and wrote "Box of Fun" on the side in Sharpie.  Now when a new sitter comes I introduce them to the activity box and ask that the pick a few activities from the box while they are there, coaching them that it's ok if Chiquita isn't interested in every activity or if she only does it for a few minutes, the idea is just to do more than watch tv.

Some of the activities I included:
  • Play with playdough
  • Paint
  • Color
  • Read a book
  • Do a pre-writing exercise
  • Practice cutting (Chiquita LOVES to "snip snip"!)
  • Take a used coloring sheet and make a puzzle by cutting it into 3 or 4 pieces and helping Chiquita glue them back into the picture on a piece of construction paper.
  • Sing a song
  • Sing the alphabet song
  • Watch a tv show in Spanish (yes, I put a tv activity in there... it's language building)
  • Make a matching game by tracing the outline of a few toys onto a paper and have her match the toys to their outline.
  • Play with folder games (I have a stash)
  • Dance
I plan to keep adding activities as we go along (outside activities once it gets warm enough!).  I make sure and show the sitter where our craft supplies are too!  I've been really happy with the results so far.  It was important for me to realize that for most of my sitters they don't really get feedback from parents and have no expectations unless I make them.

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome idea! I think I'll have to make one of those too! Thanks for sharing (: