I had the absolute pleasure of babysitting my friend’s infant, Macie, when her momma returned to school from her maternity leave. Macie Mondays quickly became my favorite day of the week, and I made sure to give her the best care I was able. I learned a lot along the way, and thought I would share my top five tips for babysitting an infant:
1. LISTEN to the parents. They spend the most time with the infant. You DON’T know best when it comes to someone else’s child, so listen to what they have to say. What may have worked for you and your children, or a family you’ve babysat in the past, or your nieces and nephews, could be the worst thing in the world to that baby.
2. FOLLOW the parents’ schedule. Parents give you a schedule for a reason. Usually because they have tried numerous different scenarios, and this is what works best for them and their baby. Is it going to vary slightly? Sure. You have to adapt, and read the child’s needs. But don’t forego a nap at a scheduled time because you want to catch Oprah at 3:00 and you don’t want to be disturbed.
3. PLAY with infants. And READ to them. And TEACH them new things. Are they going to throw a ball back to you? No. Are they going to understand how many red circles can be found on a page? Probably not. But, they are learning, rapidly. Their brains are growing so much, and they are making connections and learning about the world around them. So give them the best chance at a good start by interacting constantly. For more tips about reading aloud to your infant, please check out this link.
4. REALIZE that you are being trusted to care for the single, utmost important, precious gift in the parents’ lives. Whatever they say, goes. If there is a reason you need to stray from their guidelines, be honest and tell them why. If they aren’t comfortable with something you want to do, you HAVE to listen. Caring for their child is not a time to be selfish, and they need to be able to trust you. If they say no TV, don’t turn it on. If they say you can’t drive with their baby in the car, surrender your keys. They are the parents, and they make the rules. This message applies VERY WELL to all you grandparents out there, too
5. LOVE that infant with everything you have while they are in your care. During a stage where they are learning so much everyday, they have to know how loved they are, how special they are, and what a healthy, loving relationship means. And they are just so cute, how can you not <3
Do you have any additional tips for babysitting an infant? Please feel free to leave them in the comments!
Seriously, how freaking cute is she?! Not to mention smart, expressive, happy, curious, interactive, beautiful, fun, energetic, and the list goes on and on and on <3