When it comes to babysitting a child, it holds great responsibility of being a caregiver. The challenges I have faced taught me to better understand my niece’s and nephew’s needs and how to take care of them. I’ve learned many responsibilities and patience when it comes to taking care of a child. This has helped better prepare me for when I one day have children of my own. There are trials and errors along with learning to adapt to a child’s needs and growth in development. Every child is different and being able to help take care of these kids along the way has been an enjoyable experience.
I received a call from my brother about two months ago. He asked me to help take care of the kids during the days that he works. At this time, his schedule was pretty hectic and unpredictable. So he needed me to help out and babysit. When it came the scheduled time and date, my sister in law was just getting ready to head out to work. She gave me the run down on how to watch over my youngest baby niece, one-year old, Leilani and my nephew, five years old, Kaloni. Both Leilani and Kaloni have different needs and personalities. Kaloni was already used to me being around so I didn’t have to worry much about him. The real challenge was Leilani since she wasn’t use to my presence. As my sister in law headed out, Leilani started to cry and was realizing that her mother was leaving her with an aunt she hasn’t seen in a while.
After about 10 minutes, her mother left off to work. So I put on her favorite show, Elmo as instructed on the television screen and she was so focused and distracted. Kaloni is already old enough to understand that his parents have to work and I will be there to watch him. So when he hasn’t seen me in a while, he will want to play. When it comes to playing, he loves to play with his trains, cars, his version of Angry Birds, and his Paw Patrol toys. Leilani, however, has a very sassy princess-like personality. She will see Kaloni playing something and will want to either destroy it or take it away from him. Whatever she wants, she gets, especially when it comes to food. It is very difficult to get Kaloni to eat and it takes him about two-three hours to finish all of his food since he is easily distracted and lazy to eat on his own. The way to convince him to eat and not get distracted is if you eat with him and have a race on who eats the fastest. He’s a competitive kid so he will be determined to win. Sometimes, if racing him doesn’t work and he is distracted by the television, I would say, “If you don’t eat, I am turning off the show/movie!” Immediately, he will shout out, “Noooo! Okay! Okay!” and would run back to his food and eat.
Leilani on the other hand, when she sees food in my hand, she will eat. She will immediately say the words “mum mum” as her way of asking and wanting food or if she sees me have food in my hand she would walk so fast as she wobbles to get to me. I pretty much learned the only way to get her to like me and follow me is to have food.
Most of the time as I am babysitting both of them, I have learned that Kaloni either does his own thing or wants to play and Leilani walks around everywhere so I usually follow her around and feed her as she plays. Kaloni is very playful and loves to run around and jump on me when he plays. When he plays with his toys, he always organizes all his train toys in a line and once they are all lined up, he crashes them with another train causing them to split apart and fall over. Another game that he plays is his version of Angry Birds. The way he plays it is by gathering some pillows and then stacking them into towers or try to make a building or bridge of out them. Once it is all set, he backs away at a good running distance, then he shouts out “I’m going to crash the piggy into the tower!!” and he runs, jumps into the pillows, and they all came crashing down. When he is playing games on his phone or iPad, he has a tendency to just climb on my lap and just gets comfortable.
When it is time to change her diaper or bed time, she hates it. After a few times of getting to know her personality, I have learned that the only way to get her to not cry or move around so much while I was changing her, she needs to have a toy or something to distract her. Otherwise, she will just toss and turn and not let you change her diaper. I figured this out on my own after I noticed that when she is stuck on a toy, she will not let go. So when it was time to change her, I just let her keep holding onto the toy. Once I set her down on the changing table, she was so distracted by it and didn’t even notice me changing her. When it comes to nap time, even though she is tired and sleepy, she wouldn’t want to go to bed. I remember what my sister in law said to me, “Just put her in the crib and let her cry herself to sleep.” When I first did this, it was difficult to just leave her like that especially when she cries so hard. As I wait by the door and hear her cry, it was heartbreaking. But once she started to settle down and fall asleep, that’s when I realized, that she really does need to cry herself to sleep.
While Leilani is asleep during her nap times, distracted by Elmo, or just playing with her own toys, I take the time to help Kaloni with his school work. He really loves homework, surprisingly. But when it comes to the work, he would rather do the little activities then practice his letters and numbers. It was a challenge on trying to keep him focused on his work since he is easily distracted. My sister in law informed me that his teachers recommended 1 page a day so that the kids don’t get overly-stimulated or tired. My brother on the other hand has a different approach which is keep him away from distractions and make sure he completes his work. Kaloni has the mental capacity to do more than one page a day so I usually just have him do two pages of work. Having him complete too much work will just distract him even more and not want to do anymore. From the advice of both my brother and sister in law, I took those into consideration and was able to figure out his learning capabilities. Kaloni is easily distracted but doing just one-page a day is too little since I’ve seen that he can do more. So when I help him out, I have him do two full pages instead of just one.
From this experience, I have learned that taking care of Kaloni and Leilani can be a bit tiresome but at the same time it is worth because it was an enjoyable learning experience. It has helped me learn the needs of their different age groups and ways to interact with them. Their different personalities and how they react to certain things helped me learn how to communicate and interact with them and adjust to their needs. After trial and error on how to take care of them, it has helped me better understand that it is okay to get things wrong the first time, I can do it better the next time. Throughout this experience, it has taught me patience, way to work out of a difficult situation, and pretty much just enjoy spending time with them. This experience has helped me better understand and how to take care of both of these kids which will help prepare me for when I become a parent one day.