Caring for a child can be a fun, rewarding experience - especially if you are prepared with some exciting activities! Packing a bag full of games, crafts, and other items you may need during care can help boost your confidence, show the parents that you took the time and effort to prepare for the session, and even peak the child’s curiosity and get them excited for your visit!
Before you start packing, be sure to read our post about how to be an Amazing Babysitter, as this has some ideas on what to expect during the session! When you’re ready, here are a few items to consider packing in your bag:
1) Toys - Packing an age-appropriate toy can help break the ice with a child. If they struggle with the idea of their parent leaving, offering a toy can help peak their interest and build trust. Bonus points if you’re willing to play too!
2) Coloring pages/books and crayons - Sometimes the simplest activities can help bring a sense of calm to a situation. Coloring can help with keeping little hands busy while also encouraging creativity and fine motor skills. Getting down on the child’s level and coloring with them can build trust as you work together to create a masterpiece. Having something for the child to share with their parents at the end of the care session can also help boost confidence. Watch their smile when their parents return and see their creation! Here are some printable coloring pages that are sure to be a hit with the kids!
3) Books - Is there anything better for a child than being read to? It’s no secret that reading out loud to kids helps support cognitive development and strengthens their social and emotional growth. This is another way to build trust and rapport with kids. For even more fun, grab some pillows and work with them to create a reading corner or a fort for reading time!
4) First Aid Kit - Most families have a first aid kit stored somewhere safe at home, however it doesn’t hurt to be prepared (and you’d be surprised how quickly families can run out of band-aids!). The kids won’t appreciate this unless they need it, but it will bring you peace of mind to know you have extra band-aids and other first aid necessities on hand!
5) Crafts or Puzzles - If you’re crafty and have some time, consider gathering some supplies for fun crafts to make with the kids. This can be as simple as bringing a box full of popsicle sticks and making a house, or packing colored construction paper to make fun shapes! If you’re not into crafts, but would still like to bring something else fun, an age-appropriate puzzle is always a big hit and can even help with building memory skills. Board games like checkers or dominos or even mad libs for older kids can be a lot of fun and help you get to know each other better!
A few final tips:
- To avoid any potential meltdowns, be sure to set expectations with the child(ren) that the bag and its’ contents are coming home with you so you can bring them again next time!
- Get creative! These are just a few ideas - don’t be afraid to add more items to the bag if you think it would be beneficial for the child and the care session. Things like stickers, extra paper, and games can be fun for both you and the child!
- The most important part of babysitting is not what you bring, it’s you! Meeting children where they are at, engaging in activities that they enjoy, and helping form a connection is what makes it a great experience for everyone!