Patience, strategy, and enthusiasm are the three pillars of effective childcare. For many individuals, these skills come naturally. However, for the person who is not accustomed to the many obstacles that arise while caring for another person’s child, this can be an extremely stressful experience. This is exceptionally true when personalities clash. Thus, how do you babysit an annoying child?
It may be frustrating to deal with children who are annoying but with the right strategies and steps, that child can become less annoying and you will be able to enjoy taking care of them.
Pillar 1: Be Patient
Patience is a virtue for a reason — it is much easier said than done.
Unfortunately, most young children do not always understand how their actions may impact another person. This can lead to annoying and even defiant behavior. However, it is important to remember that with children, there is always a cause and effect.
The first step in changing their attitude is deciphering why they are acting in this manner. Are they hungry or sleepy? Do they need a diaper change? Did they fall when you were making their lunch in the kitchen? Are they craving attention? Do they seem less than excited about the activity they are participating in?
Take a step back and look at the big picture.
Ask questions and try to find the trigger of what they act this way. It is likely that the child is being annoying because they are not sure how to articulate what they need or how they are feeling.
Additionally, while they would likely be upfront with a parent or sibling, it is possible that they may not feel completely comfortable with you, which can lead to actions that are out of character for them.
Moreover, while trying to determine the cause, remember to pause and take a breath. You are the adult and they are the child so you have to be the bigger person in this situation.
Parenting or taking care of a young one was never advertised as an easy venture. Thankfully, you are babysitting so there is an end in sight.
However, it is completely normal to need to take a breather.
Every parent experiences this feeling so placing the toddler safely in their crib or playpen and step into the other room for a moment.
If they are older, then move to another location in the house where the children are still visible to take a few deep breaths.
Pillar 2: Have A Strategy
Children thrive on routines. They also require structure. While they are in your care, take the time to articulate the ground rules for their time with you.
Better yet, have their parents address these guidelines prior to their departure. This can solidify that these directions can not be changed and need to be followed by the letter.
Excursions and Activities
Children have very small attention spans and need to be stimulated both mentally and physically. Placing them in front of the television will only keep them occupied for so long.
Therefore, you need to coordinate activities that will keep them engaged while also using up some of the abundances of energy that they always seem to have bottled up.
Spending time outdoors is a fantastic way to accomplish this, while simultaneously cutting back on their screen time.
There are also a plethora of arts and crafts activities that will allow them to engage in sensory play. Brainstorm ideas before heading over to babysit and bring any necessary supplies.
Next, give them a rundown of the plan for the day. First, take the time to note when they will be eating and taking naps.
Then, give them a choice in activities that you have pre-planned for the occasion. By letting them hold the decision-making power, you make them feel as if they are in control, while still holding all the cards.
This is extremely important because you are not their parent.
This means that they will likely test you at some point throughout the time that their mom and dad are away. You always want to give the illusion of power, while still maintaining control.
Be firm and never falter from your word because if they can sense that you fold, they will take as much advantage as they can when dealing with you.
Necessary Sleep Times
When it comes to naps and bedtimes, implement these same strategies.
Put them down at the time that you told them you would. Then, give them the option of which task they complete before they go to sleep. They can either brush their teeth or put on their pajamas, but both tasks need to be accomplished in the next 15 minutes.
Remind them at nap time that even if they are not tired, they need to stay in bed until you come to get them.
Make sure to also mention that if they do go to sleep, they will be rewarded with something fun that will be planned for them when they wake up. Rewards are a fantastic way to reinforce positive behaviors and it can be a way to encourage them to follow instructions.
If you have ever babysit an annoying child, then you must be ready for the meltdowns that will happen.
What you may not know is that there is a right and wrong way to diffuse them. First, remain calm. Raising your voice or getting upset is only going to escalate things.
Next, implement active listening.
Remove distractions, bend down so that the two of you are on the same level, and then allow the child to tell you the problem.
Let them get it all out before responding. Tell them that you understand their frustrations and feelings and ask if they would like to talk about it more.
If their actions don’t change after having a calm conversation, then give them one opportunity to change their tune.
Make sure to remind them of the consequences if they don’t act appropriately. If this doesn’t bring a change, then give them the punishment that their parent has approved.
Pillar 3: Be Enthusiastic
Despite their small stature, this child is a human being just like you.
Treat them the way you want to be treated! Engage with them — ask questions about their interests, how school is going and what their favorite activities are to do in their free time.
If you are in charge of babysitting, then it does not matter how annoying the child may be, you need to fake it until you make it to the end of the time that you are responsible for them.
Also, don’t forget that kids are more perceptive than you think. In fact, studies show that the main method of learning for toddlers and young kids is through imitation.
Therefore, if you don’t like their attitude, then maybe take a look in the mirror and think about how your actions and behaviors may be influencing them.
When finding activities to partake in, choose options that are kid-friendly, but also appealing to you.
This can make the time go by more quickly. If there are moments that their actions are becoming exceptionally annoying, find fun and positive ways to change the narrative.
Alter your activity, ask them a question to throw them off guard, or get a change of scenery. The writers of Star Trek coined it best — “Misdirection is the key to survival”.
Final Thoughts — How To Babysit An Annoying Child
Caring for another person’s kid is already quite the undertaking, but it is exorbitantly harder when you have to babysit an annoying child.
Whether this is a relative, the child of a friend, or a second source of income, there are strategies to improve your interactions with them.
Not everything will be easy when it comes to dealing with other humans. No one is perfect and trying to get accustomed to every one’s behavior can take a while.
When confronted by an annoying child, try to remain calm and think logically in every situation. It will serve you best when making decisions while they are causing you an emotional rollercoaster inside of you.
All in all, taking care of a young child is a noble deed and what you are doing is greatly appreciated in the parenting community. So when wondering how to babysit an annoying child, remember to look at the positives in this situation even if you feel like you have given it your all.