Gone are the days when babysitting was only the duty of moms. Today’s dads want to be a part of the growing up years of the child and are happy to share the babysitting responsibility. So whether your wife is at work or spending a day relaxing at the spa, these are top 10 tips for dads when they are babysitting.
Note: It is important that you willingly take the responsibility. You can only do this job well, if you are comfortable. Nevertheless, baby sitting your kid can be fun filled. To start with you must spend good amount of time with the mother to understand the need of the baby.
1. Handle with care – Your little one needs to be handled with a lot of care, especially when the baby is an infant. NEVER shake him for your fun or when he/she is crying at least until he is 5 year old. It may damage baby’s delicate brain. Remember, babies are delicate. Be gentle and keep that strong masculine touch aside. Your baby is familiar with his/her mom. Make sure with you, he/she does not feel strange.
Tip: Never multi-task when handling babies. Moms may be good at it. For you, let’s accept that it will be a risk.
2. Keep calm and carry on – Each day is a new learning when you are with your kids. Be patient and composed and you’ll surely emerge as daddy cool! Be prepared to witness the naughtiest thing your babies can do.
Tip: Never scold and shout especially in the absence of the mother. You may not want your baby to hate you.
3. Understand why the baby is crying – First and foremost is that you keep a constant watch on the baby. The crying baby needs to be immediately attended. Ensure that the volume of music system and television are not kept high that you cannot listen to the crying baby. Every time the baby cries it doesn’t mean he/she is hungry. There may be other reasons for crying – sleepy, uneasy, feeling hot/cold, soiled diapers etc. Experts and mothers say that babies cry differently to express themselves.
Tip: Check if the diaper needs to changed, followed by checking what the baby is wearing. Check the room temperature, followed by trying to make the baby sleep. Moreover, don’t underestimate to educate yourself.
4. Keep baby essentials handy – You never know what the baby will need next, so keep all the baby essentials – diapers, wet wipes, baby food etc. handy. This way you would also not have to ask your wife repeatedly about your baby’s things.
Tip: Everything under one basket will make your search easy.
5. Strengthen the bond – Babysitting is a great way to spend quality time with your little one. Cherish this time and make the most of it.
Tip: Play various games or watch cartoon together
6. Hygiene Matters – Babies tend to catch infections very easily. So it is advised that you keep yourself and your baby hygienic. Wash your hands properly and use sanitizer.
Tip: Wash hands after every diaper change
7. Shhh…Keep Silence – While your baby is taking a nap don’t play the TV on loud volume or talk on the phone loudly. To avoid the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, put babies to sleep on their backs in a crib and not on their sides or tummy. Never put anything in the crib while the baby is sleeping. No toys, pillows, stuffed animals, or quilts. Babies should have sound and comfortable sleep. Let the baby sleep in a sleep sack or have a thin blanket only up to their chest with arms free, tucked securely on the mattress. Ensure the room temperature is set to normal. Keep a check in every 15 minutes.
Tip: Keep pillows around the baby to keep him safe on the bed.
8. Try and try until you succeed – Whether it is telling a story and feeding the entire bowl of baby food or doing the diapers, try and try until you succeed. Most important is to know the guidelines of feeding the baby. Ask the mother if the baby likes to eat in a particular utensil.
9. Follow The Schedule – Mommy would have a schedule for everything – bath time, massage time, meal time etc. It is important to know that your baby is comfortable in the routine his/her mom follows. Make sure you try and follow the schedule closely.
Tip: Make a note of the schedule before the mom leave home.
10. Be Prepared For Contingencies – You can never be sure with babies, so just in case plan A fails make sure you have a plan B ready to be implemented. You may have planned beautifully. But, you never know with babies. You have to go by their moods. For example: Your baby may not enjoy a certain game.
Tip: Keep 2-3 games ready for backup
11. Keep dangerous items out of reach of children – Sharp tools, knives, hot iron, lighter, medicines etc. should be kept out of reach of your children. Ensure that plug points are covered and edges of the furniture are not broken. See that small objects are out of the baby’s reach. Children tend to eat everything they say. Whether eatable or non-eatable.
Tip: Never cook while handling the baby.
12. Keep doors and windows shut – In case you are baby sitting kids between 3-5 years, ensure the doors of the kitchen and bathroom are locked. Ensure windows of the house are closed from inside to stay safe. Very important point to be taken care of here, which is usually ignored by many. Keep the doors of the room open where the children are playing, while you leave them unattended to use the rest room.
Tip: Never open the door for strangers. Don’t let anyone in the house unless you personally know him or her. Keep the lights of the garden, backyard and balcony on.
13. Be aware of the exit doors – You never know when you have to run to save your life with the child. Keep yourself aware of all exit doors for emergency. Be prepared for an emergency. Know where the emergency numbers are noted.
Tip: Know where the safety kits life fire extinguisher are kept. Keep the doctor’s number handy.
14. Take professional training – Be prepared to administer first aid. While mothers get self trained by daily experiences, organizations such as the American Red Cross offer training in first aid, baby sitting infant and children for dadies. Taking these courses can also make you a more confident babysitter.
Tip: You can also opt for online training sessions
15. Know the law – You should also try to familiarize yourself with any state or local law with respect to child care. Some states require that you be a certain age to be a baby sitter and some localities may even require a license or a training course. You being a father, for some reason, may not be allowed to baby-sit your child alone or in the absence of the mother.
Tip: Read the law of the state you reside in before you take the responsibility.
16. Keep medicines handy – This one is for both – The daddy and the baby. If you are under some sort of medical treatment, make sure you take your medicines on time. If you stay well, only then can you baby-sit well. If your baby needs to be given medicines, ensure that you are aware of the exact timings. Know the exact quantity. Ask if it requires to be given after or before meal. Never give medicines which are not in the prescription. In case of situations, where the baby is being attended by a doctor for a new medical problem, call the mother to ask if the baby is allergic to any drug/medicine.
Tip: Note the timings on stick on paper and let it be in front of you always.
17. Be extra careful if you are baby sitting with a pet – Your pet is just like another baby in your home. However, handling your baby and the pet require different skills. Most importantly, you need to ensure that baby’s hygiene is taken care of when the pet is around.
Tip: Wipe the baby’s hand and face after every playing with the pet session
18. Stay alert when taking the baby out – Babies feel more excited when you switch locations. Be prepared to run along with the baby, incase you are baby sitting 3-5 years of children. Do not forget to carry baby’s mini bag which should have all the necessary items. Never allow strangers to play with your kid.
You need to be extra careful when you return home. If something looks strange or out of place, do not go inside. Instead, go to a neighbor’s house and call the police.
Tip: Never indulge in gossip with strangers in the park
19. Baby Bathing – Never leave the child alone in the bathtub, not even for a second. Ensure you are using baby’s soap, shampoo and towel. Check the temperature of the water. To make the bathing session fun for the baby, bring in some of his/her favorite toys.
Tip: Never keep the geyser on while you are with the baby in the bathroom.