28 April, 2018
One of the toughest jobs around is babysitting, all parents, teachers and grandparents too would agree on this. While in the Western countries, this is a much more organized, laid down procedure, in India, we still do not have a formal system for this. For working parents, there are some babysitting options, which they can explore if they do not have family and friends to help out.
Mostly, in India, it is a family affair, with grandparents taking on the responsibility, especially if both parents are working. There are also times when neighbours help out to watch out for the kids. If you are one of the caretakers of kids, of any age group, you need to keep an eye out for certain things to make sure that the kids are safe. One common precaution across all age groups is having a first aid kit ready as well as having emergency contact numbers handy. Safety is paramount.
If you are required to babysit infants less than 6 months, then keep these few things in mind. You need to know their sleeping and feeding cycles clearly. It is better to make a note of it by writing down the timings. Also, if the infant is crying, it is time to either feed them or check their diaper, or check if they may be feeling hot or cold, as may be the case.
Most mothers and grandmothers can easily manage the infants and put them to sleep as well. But just in case, the infants are crying incessantly, you may want to check on colic medicines if prescribed; else, the baby can be taken to a doctor for a check-up. Even when the baby is sleeping, make sure that the bed is laid out well so that there is no chance whatsoever of the baby rolling over or getting tangled in a blanket.
If the baby is in the crawling or walking stage, then you have to be more careful. Babies have a tendency to pick up things from the floor and put it in their mouth. So, the floor needs to be maintained neat and clean as well as the baby should not be left alone at any cost, even for a little while. Make sure that there are no sharp corners of chairs or tables, or sharp objects on stools which the baby can access by standing up. There should also not be any items that can topple over if they hold on to it for support. Make sure that the bathroom doors are always locked, there are chances that the kid may wade in and fall into a bucket or climb into a bathtub.
Keep the door hinges safe and clear, the toddler may accidentally lock himself or herself into a room. Remove all glass objects from the vicinity and also make sure to properly peel or mash their food as required. At times, something can get stuck in their throat easily. Keep a watch out for any food allergy. Ask the parents to list out allergies clearly. Playing with them or taking them out for a stroll in a pram can put them in a good mood. Inside the home, you may use walkers or tricycles depending on their age, but only under supervision.
The slightly older school going kids may be mostly independent to do few things on their own. However, a strict vigil should be kept till the kids are really old enough to understand what is good and bad. Most kids watch TV shows or play with Internet-enabled devices. This needs to be monitored to make sure that they are only watching or accessing age-appropriate shows.
If they go out to play in a known area, give them proper instructions about not talking or accompanying strangers or eating anything outside. They need to be set timings to get back home. Ground rules set by their parents need to be maintained, and all this can be done, even when you can be loving grandparents.
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