Tips for “Babysitting" Pre-Teens
The pre-teen years, or “tween” years as they are often referred to, are exciting times in a child’s life. For one, they are growing up and getting ready to launch into that period of life that parents both anticipate and dread. Two, they are still learning not only in school but in other areas such as friendships and responsibility.
Some parents find themselves in a very tough spot when it comes to parenting pre-teens. One reason for this is that they are not quick to change their view of their growing offspring from “little child” to “almost adult.” It is important to understand this when someone asks you to “babysit” their “child” who actually is an active or creative 12-year-old.
It is also important to understand the pre-teen’s point of view, too. If you’re past this stage of development as I am, you probably remember being told that you’re “acting grown” or firmly put in your place when you expressed an opinion that was different. Being seen as a “child” can be frustrating to an almost adult. Pre-teens seek to exert themselves in some situations and prove themselves in others. That’s part of growing up.
Caring for pre-teens is not the same as caring for a baby, young child, or teenager. Understanding the characteristics of children at this age can help you to develop good relationships with those you care for and win their parents’ thanks. Here is some advice:
Get to know the pre-teen
Even though pre-teens, in general, share a certain set of characteristics, no two pre-teens are the same. Some pre-teens prefer to work or play alone while others want someone else to be involved. Some are more creative while others are studious.
It is important to get to know the pre-teen on his or her level. Ask them questions. Talk to them in a language they can understand. Find out what interests him or her and be willing to let his or her personality direct the activities you both engage in.
Treat the pre-teen like a person
He may only be 11 or 12, but he is a human being and should be treated as such. What he says, does, and thinks about is important and you should be careful to make him feel loved and valued. Your attitude and actions will help him or her to know that.
Many young children do not mean to be disrespectful; they simply want to be heard. For those whose parents are super busy or who do not have siblings or many friends, you can be that pair of ears the young child needs.
Be a friend and a role model
Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Sabina Dosani writes in her book “Parenting Pre-Teens,” “You need to be a friendly authority, not a friend. This means that you are someone the pre-teen can talk to, play with, and take advice from, but you have boundaries and rules for his or her safety.”
Like any young child, pre-teens will test the limits and your patience but you have to strike that careful balance between friendship and authority figure. While you play games and do activities, you want to be in control of the situation and set an example for the young person to follow. Many pre-teens don’t need a boss as much as they need a role model.
Give them space
Pre-teens need boundaries, not rooftops. As they get ready to become teenagers, they are learning the joys of autonomy and independence. Don’t curb that or take it away from them. However, remember they are not fully mature and do not know as much as they think they might know.
As a sitter, it is okay to allow the pre-teen to explore in his independence especially if the parents have already approved. But you are still responsible for ensuring their safety and that of your own. A pre-teen may be allowed to play whenever he wants, but that is not in his best interest if he has homework to do.
Obey the parents’ rules
This one isn’t a hard one except for when pre-teens want you to bend the rules. It can seem easy to just do whatever the child wants because you want to be liked or because the child is a little strong-willed. But it is important to obey the rules established by the parents. In the long haul, the pre-teen will respect you more and learn to follow rules on his or her own.
Stephanie Felzenberg, editor of How to Be the Best Nanny Blog stated, “The parents need to instruct the sitter or nanny and the children clearly about the rules of the house. It’s essential that parents and caregivers work together to make the rules of the home consistent.”
Avoid being overbearing
Pre-teens don’t need a dictator. When I was 11 and 12, my mom had a 15-year-old girl “babysit” us while she was at work. I was best friends with the girl’s younger sister who was the same age as me. However, the babysitter was bossy and had a do-as-I-say type of attitude.
For me, that did not work because I am the oldest of seven children and had long been responsible for watching over my younger brothers and sisters, setting schedules, enforcing rules, helping with school work, and even cooking meals. So she and I did not get along too well and after two sitting sessions, she was out.
The point is, some pre-teens need a bit more oversight while others are able to self-manage and self-direct. Be careful to respect the difference. For those who need more oversight, look after them appropriately. For those who are advanced in their thinking and behavior, come alongside them and serve as a support system.
Sitting pre-teens can be a rewarding experience all the way around. The parents get cheap assistance and peace of mind. The pre-teens get a playmate, listener, or homework assistant. And the sitter gets to put his or her skills to work and make some money along the way.
Apply to Write for Uloop NewsJoin the Uloop News Team
Discuss This Article
More Uloop Business Articles
Recent FSU News Articles
RECENT FSU CLASSIFIEDS
WRITE FOR ULOOPApply to Write for Uloop News
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
TOP 5 NEWS ARTICLES
BROWSE OTHER COLLEGES
- By CollegeUniversity of Central FloridaFlorida Atlantic UniversityFlorida International UniversityFlorida State UniversityUniversity of FloridaUniversity of South FloridaUniversity of North FloridaSaint Leo UniversityValencia Community CollegeBarry UniversityFlorida Community CollegeEdison State CollegeMiami Dade CollegeUniversity of West FloridaEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityClearwater Christian CollegeFlorida Institute of TechnologyAi Miami International University of Art and DesignAmerican Intercontinental UniversityBethune-Cookman UniversityCarlos Albizu UniversityChipola CollegeDaytona State CollegeEckerd CollegeFlagler CollegeFlorida Agricultural and Mechanical UniversityFlorida Coastal School of LawFlorida Gulf Coast UniversityFlorida Hospital College of Health SciencesFlorida Memorial UniversityEverest UniversityFlorida Southern CollegeFull Sail UniversityInternational Academy of Design and TechnologyInternational Academy of Design and TechnologyJacksonville UniversityKeiser UniversityLincoln College of TechnologyLynn UniversityNova Southeastern UniversityNorthwest Florida State CollegePalm Beach Atlantic UniversityRingling College of Art and DesignRollins CollegeSt. Thomas UniversitySoutheastern UniversitySouthwest Florida CollegeSt. Petersburg CollegeStetson UniversityThe Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale IncThe University of TampaWarner UniversityDaytona State CollegeHillsborough Community CollegeBroward CollegeSanta Fe CollegeTallahassee Community CollegeSt. Johns River Community CollegeBrevard Community CollegeManatee Community CollegeSeminole State College of FloridaKaplan UniversityIndian River State CollegePalm Beach State CollegeEastern Florida State CollegeFlorida Gateway CollegeGulf Coast Community College Lake-Sumter State CollegeNorth Florida Community CollegePasco-Hernando State CollegePensacola State CollegeSouth Florida State CollegeSt Johns River State CollegeValencia CollegeAcademy for Five Element AcupunctureAcademy for Nursing and Health OccupationsAcademy of Career TrainingAcademy of CosmetologyAcademy of Healing Arts Massage & Facial Skin CareAdvance Science InstituteAdvanced Technical CentersAM College LLCAmerican Advanced Technicians InstituteAmerican Health InstituteAmerican Institute of BeautyAmerican Medical AcademyAnton Aesthetics AcademyAparicio-Levy Technical CenterArgosy University-SarasotaArgosy University-TampaArtistic Nails and Beauty Academy-LakelandArtistic Nails and Beauty Academy-TampaATA Career EducationAtlantic Institute of Oriental MedicineAve Maria School of LawAviation Institute of Maintenance-OrlandoAviator College of Aeronautical Science and TechnologyBarry University Law SchoolBeacon CollegeBeauty Anatomy Institute of Cosmetology and WellnessBeauty and Health InstituteBeauty Schools of AmericaBeauty Schools of America-HialeahBeauty Schools of America-HomesteadBeauty Schools of America-MiamiBeauty Schools of America-North Miami BeachBenes International School of BeautyBoca Beauty AcademyBradford-Union Technical CenterBrewster Technical CenterBurnett International CollegeCambridge Institute of Allied Health & TechnologyCambridge Institute of Health & TechnologyCape Coral Institute of TechnologyCDA Technical InstituteCelebrity School of BeautyCentral Florida InstituteCentura InstituteCharlotte Technical CenterCHOICE High School and Technical CenterCity College-Altamonte SpringsCity College-GainesvilleCity College-HollywoodCity College-MiamiCollege of Business and Technology-KendallCompu-Med Vocational Careers CorpConcorde Career Institute-JacksonvilleConcorde Career Institute-TampaCortiva Institute-FloridaCosmix School of Makeup ArtistryCozmo Beauty SchoolD A Dorsey Educational CenterDade Medical College-HollywoodDade Medical College-JacksonvilleDade Medical College-MiamiDade Medical College-West Palm BeachDaytona CollegeDigital Media Arts CollegeEast West College of Natural MedicineEdward Waters CollegeEmpire Beauty School-West PalmEternity Cosmetology SchoolEureka Institute of Health and BeautyEverest Institute-KendallEverest Institute-North MiamiEverest University-BrandonEverest University-JacksonvilleEverest University-MelbourneEverest University-Orange ParkEverest University-South OrlandoEverest University-TampaEverglades UniversityEverglades University-SarasotaFashion Focus Hair AcademyFirst Coast Barber AcademyFirst Coast Technical CollegeFlagler Technical InstituteFlorida AcademyFlorida Barber AcademyFlorida CenterFlorida College of Integrative MedicineFlorida College of Natural Health-BradentonFlorida College of Natural Health-MaitlandFlorida Institute of Recording Sound and TechnologyFlorida National University Training CenterFlorida National University-South CampusFlorida Panhandle Technical CollegeFlorida Polytechnic UniversityFlorida School of MassageFlorida Technical CollegeFlorida Vocational InstituteFort Myers Institute of TechnologyFort Pierce Beauty AcademyFortis College-Winter ParkFortis Institute-JacksonvilleFortis Institute-MiamiFortis Institute-MulberryFortis Institute-Port Saint LucieFutura Career InstituteFuture-Tech InstituteGalen College of Nursing-Tampa BayGeorge Stone Technical CenterGeorge T Baker Aviation SchoolGolf Academy of America-Altamonte SpringsGooding Institute of Nurse AnesthesiaHair Design InstituteHeritage Institute-Ft MyersHerzing University-Winter ParkHobe Sound Bible CollegeHollywood Institute of Beauty CareersHollywood Institute of Beauty Careers-CasselberryHollywood Institute of Beauty Careers-West Palm BeachImmokalee Technical CenterInterAmerican Technical InstituteInternational Training CareersITT Technical Institute-BradentonITT Technical Institute-Deerfield BeachITT Technical Institute-HialeahITT Technical Institute-Lake MaryITT Technical Institute-PensacolaITT Technical Institute-TallahasseeITT Technical Institute-TampaITT Technical Institute-West Palm BeachJohnson University FloridaJones College-JacksonvilleJose Maria Vargas UniversityKaizen Beauty AcademyKeiser University- MiamiKeiser University-LakelandKeiser University-OrlandoKeiser University-Pembroke PinesKeiser University-TallahasseeKeiser University-West Palm BeachKnox Theological SeminaryLake Technical CollegeLee Professional InstituteLindsey Hopkins Technical Education CenterLively Technical CenterLoraines Academy IncLorenzo Walker Institute of TechnologyManatee Technical InstituteManhattan Hairstyling AcademyManhattan Hairstyling Academy - NorthMarchman Technical Education CenterMarion County Community Technical and Adult Education CenterMattia CollegeMattia College -MCI Institute of Technology-Boca RatonM-DCPS The English CenterMedTech Institute-Orlando CampusMercy Hospital School of Practical Nursing-Plantation General HospitalNew Concept Massage and Beauty SchoolNew Professions Technical InstituteNorth Florida Cosmetology Institute IncNorthwood University-FloridaNouvelle InstituteOrlando TechParisian Spa InstitutePaul Mitchell the School-Fort MyersPaul Mitchell the School-OrlandoPaul Mitchell the School-TampaPinellas Technical College-ClearwaterPinellas Technical College-St. PetersburgPolytechnic University of Puerto Rico-OrlandoPrestige Health & Beauty Sciences AcademyProfessional Hands InstituteRadford M Locklin Technical CenterRasmussen College-FloridaRasmussen College-Fort MyersRasmussen College-New Port RicheyRasmussen College-Tampa/BrandonRegency Beauty Institute-CarrollwoodRegency Beauty Institute-ClearwaterRemington College-Tampa CampusRidge Career CenterRobert Morgan Educational CenterSAE Institute of Technology-MiamiSaint John Vianney College SeminarySaint Vincent de Paul Regional SeminarySanford-Brown College-TampaSarasota School of Massage TherapySheridan Technical CollegeSouth Florida Bible College and Theological SeminarySouth University-TampaStenotype Institute of Jacksonville Inc-JacksonvilleStrayer University-BrickellStrayer University-Fort Lauderdale CampusSummit Salon AcademySuncoast Technical CollegeSunstate AcademySuwannee-Hamilton Technical CenterTalmudic College of FloridaTaylor CollegeTaylor Technical InstituteThe Baptist College of FloridaThe Salon Professional Academy-MelbourneTotal International Career InstituteTraviss Career CenterTrinity Baptist CollegeTulsa Welding School-JacksonvilleUltimate Medical Academy-ClearwaterUltimate Medical Academy-TampaUnited Education InstituteUniversity of South Florida-Sarasota-ManateeVirginia College-Fort PierceVirginia College-PensacolaWalton Career Development CenterWestside TechWithlacoochee Technical InstituteWolford CollegeWyotech-DaytonaYechanlaz Instituto VocacionalYeshivah Gedolah Rabbinical College
- By State
- By City