Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 5, Tuesday January 29, 2008


the job of babysitting

Our children deserve our sincerest care. While we do not doubt the efforts of any parent, we do observe a change in the manner children are growing up. Inmates of the concrete confinement these children are now being reared, more often than not, by grandparents and at times baby sitters. This week Star Lifestyle features a sequel to our last week's issue. This week we zero in on the new age baby sitters and child nurturing with a difference.

You are watching, and quite helplessly so. The damage has already been done. The broken pieces of the souvenir make you sigh. She stares at you, knowing well what your reactions will be: you will never say anything, never raise your voice like her mother, and never even give her a cold look because she knows you are not her mother!

She approaches you, twiddling her fingers, and gives you a cunning look. With a slight grin on her face, her hazel eyes glow with a spark. You try to be strict, and instantly she reads your mind. Her expression changes and you see tears roll down her cheeks. A whimper rises in pitch, reaching a screaming crescendo. Finally you drop your guards and all you can do is to watch her triumph over your defeat. The battle continues until you are done for the day.

Babysitting is one task that few would put down as a task of preference. This is mainly for those who have lots of patience and possess a tolerant attitude. It is also considered as a job and many get paid on hourly or more commonly, on a monthly basis. It isn't necessary that you go on babysitting other people's children- you can do it with your own younger sibling, if you have one. Then again there are relatives who may be in need for baby sitters and you may be asked to do them this favour. Babies of different ages need to be taken care of and this indeed, is not an easy thing to do. If you have previous experience then it will be to your benefit and if not then you need to work on it. Some kids are difficult to manage while others are very decent and calm; it all depends on how lucky you get.

Children nowadays, are smart and more often than now come up with a wide range of pick up lines, which you are not quite used to and often have to face embarrassing situations because of them. We often fall into this trap, to their advantage, and babysitting then turns out to be a whole new ball game! But this is also very interesting work once you start to comprehend the child's psychology.

You'll find this to be very exciting and it is fun too if you know how to deal with them. With the toddlers, it is quite amazing to see their way of judging situations and also the way they manage to solve problems on their own. At one point they try to act all grown up, and the next moment when they get hurt, they cry and want to be taken care of. When you baby-sit them, make sure you understand their language and try to get accustomed to a pack of games that they usually love to play.

This way, you will earn the credit of mingling well with them and they will easily communicate with you. The infants are very clever in the sense that they can find out what your weaknesses are towards them and act accordingly. If you are babysitting school goers, you'll see how many stories they keep stored in their mind and if they get a chance, they can actually go on talking without even stopping for a breath!

Now that you have heard only one side of the story, babysitting also gives you the chance to be more courageous. To elucidate, let's say the hygiene factor, the feeding and also taking care of their lullaby hours. One has got to be extra careful while changing diapers. It is indeed an art and once you're successful, you'll feel all your efforts have paid off.

Next come the feeding sessions. Children love to be fed while out on the veranda or on the rooftop where they can watch birds, while you can take advantage of their distraction and shovel the food down their half open mouths, which they immediately gulp down. If birds do not interest the child, there is nothing to be worried about.

When it is nap time, many children enjoy bedtime stories. As for others, a sweet, simple lullaby can make them fall asleep in a snap! The babysitters then get the time to clean up the mess caused by the little angels and also a moment to catch up on his/her breadth.

While babysitting toddlers and infants does have its fair share of pros and cons, it can still be considered a much simpler job than that of babysitting adolescents. One might think that pre-teens are old enough to take care of themselves, and while that is true, this is still an extremely tender age where they need a lot of attention regarding factors that are a little more complicated then feeding and potty training.

Fortunately, today's parents are more or less aware of this, and do try to adjust their working hours in such a manner that atleast one of them is at home after the child is back home from school. But suppose you find yourself in a situation when both of you have to leave your adolescent son or daughter without adult supervision for few hours or for a few days due to an official or family emergency that you simply cannot avoid. In such a case, while you might think it best to leave them to someone strict, it is wiser to have someone who is responsible and with whom your child is comfortable.

Adolescence is a very crucial stage in life where it is of the utmost importance to have someone with whom the child can share everything with and one who can also give some sound advice in return. An older cousin, for example, who you are sure, is responsible enough or maybe an aunt or grandparent with whom your child is very close with can be an excellent candidate.

Apart from children, it is also the elder people who often need to be taken care of. Sometimes they can get very lonely in the house and getting some company in their solitude can really matter a lot. We can take care of their medicines and their diet as well, and people who often do it eventually form a deeper bondage with these people. Some may think that there is not much to talk with the old since there is a generation gap, but once you start a conversation you will find the different contrasts that works between you and them. Also you will have much to learn, as well as even teach, sometimes from babysitting an elderly person.

This job will show you different shades of behaviours. Some will be very charming and will fascinate you, while the erratic ones should be dealt with a clear mind. Baby sitters usually grow a certain intimacy with the person they are assigned for, and at one point you do want to be with them, want to play with them, or even share your thoughts and ideas. The amazing thing is, sometimes, you may even need them just the way they need you!

The concept of pre-schools is not new to the Dhakaites yet Pixieland Playgroup stands out in the crowd. The brainchild of Maliha Kuddus, Pixieland serves as a day care centre where toddlers are encouraged to develop not only social skills, but also other capabilities according to their individual abilities. With four spacious rooms, a lavatory, two verandas and a garden with a seasaw, slide, sandpit, monkey bar and swings the establishment is well geared to ensure children a happy time.
Pixieland Playgroup
House #6, North Avenue,
Gulshan 2, Dhaka
# 8813110, pixieland.playgroup@gmail.com

By Yamin Tauseef Jahangir
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Models: Teachers and toddlers of Pixieland Play Group
Location: Pixieland Play Group
Special thanks to Mrs Maliha Kuddus


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