Fussy kids? Bored babies or toddlers? Here are some tips to help entertain those kids while babysitting.
Make a Fun Bag , include items such as colouring sheets, crayons, stickers, books, games, puzzles, crafts, movies and (if allowed) a few snacks to nibble on. Remember to keep your bag age appropriate.
Play Games. Find out their favourite games, whether it be board games or otherwise and play those with them
Consider baking if you are allowed or perhaps have the ingredients for no bake cookies for something different to do.
If you are making food with the kids, eg lunch let them be involved, stirring the drinks, putting the fillings in sandwiches. This will also help teach them valuable skills. Alternatively, if you are washing the dishes let them help, they love the soapy water and can feel a real sense of achievement. Perhaps have a small reward as a thank you for them for helping you clean up.
Finger-paint with the kids. Many kids enjoy finger-painting, but parents often shy away because of the mess. Dress the kids in old clothes and cover a table with newspaper. Bring a variety of colors of finger-paints and paper and let the kids' creativity emerge.
Make or bring along playdough and cookie cutters. Create a scene or story you can act out for Mum and Dad when they come home.
Make a homemade pizza. Purchase individual sized pizza dough that is ready to be used and lay out a variety of toppings for the kids. Help them spread the tomato sauce onto the dough and then allow them to personalize their own pizza. Healthy toppings might include olives, mushrooms and peppers. Cut into shapes for them to be creative. Offer a variety of cheeses.
If you can get outside then do so, go to the park, walk the dog, play ball games. However, if you do need to stay indoors play games such as singing, dancing or musical chairs.
For a movie treat pick a movie the kids want to watch, beforehand issue tickets and set up bowls of popcorn. Perhaps make a tent set up over the TV and area around and fill it with cushions and balloons. Then be the ticket collector on the door, give out the popcorn, turn out the lights and enjoy a favourite movie!
Play “Do Not Laugh”. Sit in a semi-circle and make funny faces or sounds. Whoever laughs first must do the same with you and the last one left is the winner!
Teach them a new song, Old MacDonald had a Farm is always fun to introduce a whole range of new animals, the ABC song or bring along some songs they may not know. Or even better, if you have any musical talent, why not make up a new song together!
Create a scavenger hunt for the children. Hide prizes throughout the house and give them a clue as to where the first prize is located. With the first prize will be the next clue as to where the second prize has been hidden. Continue this process for five to 10 rounds. Prizes might be anything from candy to small toys, or whatever you have on hand that the kids would be excited to find.
Read. One of the greatest pleasures for both babysitter and their charges is to curl up and enjoy a favourite book.
Everyone is aware there are benefits both healthwise and mentally in learning a musical instrument. It has been said the piano is a gateway to all music, so what are some of the benefits in learning to play the piano?
Reduces stress – Something that plagues not just adults nowadays! Playing the piano allows you to get away from daily stress where you can focus on the music. Some of the most beautiful musical pieces have been written for the piano and it is believed piano lessons can help decrease depression, and subsequently induce positive mind states.
Calm the mind – Hand in hand with the previous benefit, reducing stress calms the mind, this subsequently improves mental health. Research has shown people who create and play music experience less depression, anxiety and loneliness and also experience improved self-esteem.
Piano playing promotes better performance at school - Research has also shown students who studied piano for 3 years or longer scored higher in general and spatial cognitive tests and children who studied the piano for a few years could remember twenty percent more vocabulary words than other students. Piano lessons have also been shown to improve a child’s ability to listen, focus, and learn and can help children finish projects quicker and more efficiently.
Develops hand/eye coordination – With having to both read the music and play at the same time this trains your eyes and hands to work effectively together. Also in playing each hand performs different movements and needs to learn to work independently but together thus stimulating multiple parts of the brain.
Aids in language development – As mentioned above learning the piano can increase the vocabulary range of a child which in turn aids language development and also in learning foreign languages. Also the brain activity acquired when young through music will continue to benefit into adulthood.
It is easy to play - When a student starts to learn an instrument like the guitar or trumpet, there’s a huge learning curve in the early stages which are not present when learning the piano. When learning a wind or brass instrument the use of facial muscles and shaping of the lips can take time to master, or learning how to build calluses on fingers for playing guitar takes time. Piano is also intuitive to learn.
Inspires creativity - Playing the piano requires you to be creative and thus use both sides of your brain. By having to use both hand and eye helps in the development of creative thinking. This will also aid in being able to think outside the box and have clearer problem solving skills.
Playing the Piano Brings Joy - The piano can be hauntingly beautiful. Whether you are playing it yourself or just listening piano music can bring great joy.
There are many benefits in your children attending different after school classes. Not only the obvious of course where they can enjoy activities they are keen to be part of but also as well as the physical and mental stimulation but there are also great benefits for development of your child’s social skills with both other children and adults.
Whatever type of activity or programme your child is offered an opportunity to interact with their peers in an environment different from the school or home set up.
A well run programme or activity will promote support, respect and cooperation between the participants. This can help your child grow in confidence and feel more secure about joining in a game, asking a question or starting a conversation.
Particularly if the class isn’t too large your child should get a certain degree of one on one attention.
If the activity is a physical one, eg soccer, touch, swimming, dance, etc this not only helps them keep fit and healthy but they will learn teamwork and fair play as well as good coordination skills!
If the activity is more creative based, eg theatre, music, arts and crafts, etc this will not only develop your child’s creative skills but also teach them problem solving skills.
Not only that spending time in an environment that shouldn’t offer your child any pressure is a great stress release – yes, nowadays, even our kids can feel stressed!
Encourage your child to try a variety of after school activities. If your child loves sport encourage music or art classes as well for variety or the creative child may just discover that dancing is a wonderful way for them to express that creativity.
This also encourages your child to discover new interests and develop a wide variety of talents and skills!
They come around four times a year and next thing you know holidays are here again! We keep you up to date on great holiday activities, school holiday programmes, different ways to keep the whole family entertained, also term time topics, and educational advice and support!