Teach Your Tween to Care for Younger Kids

Your tween can take care of younger children with these skills

A mother's helper is a big help to a parent of small children.
Caring for younger siblings can teach your tween a lot. iStockphoto

If your tween is ready to begin caring for younger siblings or as a Mother's Helper it's time to make sure your child knows how to keep children safe and happy. If your child is patient and mature for her age, it might be time to begin teaching the basics of childcare. If your tween doesn't have a lot of patience, child care might need to wait a few years until your own child is older and more mature so that he can display good judgment.


Child Care Basics Tweens Should Know

It's All About Safety: If your tween is going to care for other children she needs to know that nothing is as important as safety. Your tween should know and understand basic first aid and how to contact an adult should anything happen. Advise your tween to keep a list of emergency phone numbers ready if they are going to be in charge of another child for any period of time. Your tween should also know about any danger zones in the house or outside that could pose a problem, such as stair cases, a swimming pool, or other potentially dangerous spots.

Read Together: Reading is a fun activity that children love to do with others, including older children. If your child is taking charge of younger siblings while you garden or cook dinner, suggest your tween gather a few of her favorite books together to read to the younger ones. If your child is a Mother's Helper, suggest she pack a backpack full of books she enjoyed reading when she was younger.

Bring Fun Toys and Games: Have your tween put together a box of fun to use when she's taking charge of younger children. She can fill the box with things she enjoyed when she was younger, such as books, games, puzzles, or even art supplies. The younger children will enjoy going through her things and learning from the different activities.


Let's Eat: Your tween should know how to make healthy snacks for younger children, and to avoid potential hazards such as food allergies and potential choking problems. Teach your tween about foods to avoid, and questions to ask before planning a snack or a meal. Your tween can make meal time fun for younger kids by safely working together to make a snack or by having a tea party.

Know What's Age Appropriate: Your tween should have a basic understanding of the different stages younger children go through, and what it means when babysitting. Activities should be based on what a child and do safely and without frustration. Books, websites and a babysitting course will likely offer tips to your tween. A chart might help your tween understand developmental milestones and how they will determine the activities your tween plans.

Household Rules: Every home has rules and if your child is watching younger children he or she needs to know about those rules and understand that they should be obeyed and followed.

If children aren't allowed to snack between meals, than your tween should enforce that. Bedtimes, homework and chores should also be enforced. Teach your tween how to gently convince younger children to cooperate, and even make it fun.

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