Fun Things to Pack in Your Babysitting Bag

Posted on by admin | in Babysitting Jobs

Before heading out to babysit for a full day, or even just a few hours, it’s important to be prepared with activities, games and supplies that will keep the kids in your care occupied and entertained.

“A great babysitter comes well prepared,” says Natasha Eldridge, founding partner of Eldridge Overton Educational Programs, a New Jersey based educational services firm.

Get Crafty

When children get whiny or bored, break out a babysitting bag stuffed full of age-appropriate crafts, recommends Eldridge. “Rainbow loom bracelets can keep a school-aged child occupied for hours,” she says.

Consider packing the following items in your bag to help the little ones get crafty during your stay:

  • Yarn and Ribbon
  • Glue Stick
  • Construction Paper
  • Kid-sized Scissors
  • Buttons, Plastic Eyes and Beads
  • Crayons, Washable Markers and Colored Pencils

From a silly construction paper hat to a yarn necklace complete with beads, you can teach your children how to share the supplies from your bag and create masterpieces to show off to mom and dad.

Fitness Friendly Fun

Help children burn off some energy by packing some fitness friendly supplies for the day. From a jump rope to a basketball or Frisbee, teach the kids some new moves while babysitting. “They should embrace teachable moments, such as when playing with the child at the park or in the yard,” says Eldridge. “The babysitter can encourage the child to participate in physical games like jump rope or basketball.”

For the sports enthusiast, you may need a bigger bag to house wiffle ball bats, balls, tennis rackets and other equipment that will keep them moving.

Treasured Toys

Even though the children you are watching may have an entire room full of toys, something new and shiny from your bag will likely catch their eye. Eldridge suggests picking up a doll or small toy from the dollar store to help break the ice at the start of your babysitting job. A board game or puzzle peeking out from your bag may also intrigue the child and calm him or her when mom and dad leave for the day.

“Tongue twisters, puzzles and games like Twister and Connect Four are always safe alternatives to violent video games,” says Eldridge.

Finding out more about the child’s interests and developmental level prior to the babysitting gig can also help you pack their favorites in your bag. According to Parenting Expert David Bakke, a contributor to MoneyCrashers.com, his 3-year old son is much more drawn to toys that involve activity. “He is no longer interested in watching a motorized car go across the living room floor,” says Baake. “He wants toys where he can actively participate in the “playing.” Frisbees, toy musical instruments, other sporting-type stuff, and fantasy-fighting items (plastic swords for example) have really done the trick lately.”

For teeny-tiny ones, Baake recommends toys that will stimulate the senses. “If the potential new toy doesn’t have some kind of light or make some kind of noise, its chances of success go down tremendously,” he says.

For older children, pack washable tattoos or stickers with the parents’ approval, says Baake. “You could also bring along some books written for kids and read to them aloud,” he says.

First-Aid First

Beyond the fun toys, crafts and sports equipment, babysitters should also be prepared to respond to emergencies with first aid items packed away in the babysitting bag.

Should an accident occur, experts at Nemours KidsHealth recommend packing the following in your first aid kit:

  • first-aid manual
  • sterile gauze pads of different sizes
  • adhesive tape
  • adhesive bandages in several sizes
  • elastic bandages
  • a splint
  • antiseptic wipes
  • soap
  • antibiotic ointment
  • antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
  • Hydrocortisone cream (1%)
  • acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • tweezers
  • sharp scissors
  • safety pins
  • disposable instant cold packs
  • calamine lotion
  • alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
  • thermometer
  • tooth preservation kit
  • plastic non-latex gloves (at least 2 pairs)
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • mouthpiece for administering CPR (can be obtained from your local Red Cross)
  • your list of emergency phone numbers

Whether you experience an afternoon of fun or a few cuts and bruises that need mending during your babysitting job, preparation is key to keeping the children in your care happy, healthy and begging for you to come back soon.

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