Not long ago my husband was out of town for a funeral. I was alone with the kids and woke up in the middle of the night sick. The next morning I arranged for a babysitter to come over because I wasn’t sure if I could care for my kids while I was ill.
Sidebar – my situation was more extreme than some, but this article is meant to give you peace of mind to hire the sitter for the fun things you want to do, not just for the times of necessity. Read on!
So the sitter came over and played with the kids while I rested in my bedroom with the door closed. In some ways it was like being a fly on the wall because I got to hear most of what went on between the kids and the babysitter. They played hide and seek, they read stories, they played superheros, and the sitter tried to get the kids to put on a skit for her.
What struck me about this was if it had been just us home, we would have followed a pretty normal routine. There are certain toys they would have played with and ideas I would have given when they got tired of the toys they had out.
Having the babysitter over shook that all up. It gave the kids fresh ideas of things to play with and games to play with each other.
If it had been me taking care of them, I would have been doing so while also doing dishes, picking up papers and other household tasks. This person’s sole task for 3 hours was to help my kids play and have fun. What a great way for them to get some devoted attention!
It is said that the work of childhood is play and that play is what provides the strongest brain development. That day the kids got in 3 solid hours of play with someone who was cheerful and fun and ready to listen to their every request.
In addition, each time kids have a new caregiver, they become more flexible to have other people care for them in the future, beyond their parents.
So the next time you’re feeling worn down, ready for a break or in need of a date night or girl’s night out, consider having a babysitter over. It’ll do the whole family good.
P.S. If you want some toys that are engaging enough to make you feel like you have a sitter for a bit (read – you can get things done), check these out.
For a toddler:
- This buckle toy is really engaging for young kids. They are fascinated by buckling and unbuckling the buckles!
- Duplos are a great starter to the engaging work of building things AND then playing with them! This is a fun set to check out.
- Little ones love markers but you may not want to let them ‘loose’ with markers. Colorwonder to the rescue! These won’t mark up your table, walls or floor, so they are great for toddlers!
For a preschooler and older:
- Legos are the toy that gets the most mileage at our house. Sometimes the kids will play for hours. This is a great starter set.
- These bubble guns are such a blast and can help your kids to play better together!
- A cash register can help your kids to get lost in playing store. This is a fun one to check out
One tip to help your kids engage more with the toys – start out playing with them and with the item, show them how to use it and how fun it can be, then you can remove yourself to go relax or get things done. 😉
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Disclosure: some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission at no cost to you.