Many times, the au pairs and babysitters are responsible for putting the children to bed for the night, while the parents are gone. With some children, this is not a problem, but bedtime can be filled with difficulties for others. Here are seven problems that au pairs sometimes have to deal with at bedtime, and I also provide you with some advice to make your life easier!
Miss my mommy – This one can be heart-breaking for a babysitter. Little children sometimes can be fine all evening until bedtime comes. Big tears from sad little eyes can just about bring a lump into your throat for anyone.
Wanderers – These are the little ones that just can’t seem to stay in bed. You tuck them in and then in five minutes they come walking out again. They may have ‘something to tell you’ or they may say that they’re ‘just not tired’.
Dawdlers – Children are great negotiators when it comes to bedtime. And because they so enjoy the time they spend with you, they'll do what they can to prolong it. Most of them may take his time doing his nightly routine, ask repeatedly for a glass of water, or think of some urgent task he must do.
Allow their one extra request – but make it clear that one is the limit. He'll feel like he's getting his way, but you'll know you're really getting your
Kid corrections – As you’re doing your best to follow the parent’s instructions, kids will sometimes try to correct you. “Mom always…” “We never…” “You’re supposed to…” These can be difficult objections to deal with when you really don’t know whether they are correct or not. It is always best to defer to the parent’s instructions in these cases, and then get clarification from the parents for the next time.
Never-ending Bedtime Stories – Many kids ask to be read to at bedtime. One or two stories is a fair request, however, some kids try to stretch this out much further. Setting a number of stories before the reading begins will be helpful, but then the babysitter must not let herself be cajoled into reading more.
Scared of the dark – With or without night lights, some kids still don’t like the dark when you turn out the lights at bedtime. Parents are used to dealing with these situations, but it can be a bit difficult for a babysitter to deal with, if the parents have not given her any pre-warning or instructions regarding how to approach the issue.
Be calm but firm! Stand your ground even if children whine or plead, and try not to engage in a power struggle. Speak calmly and quietly but insist that when time's up, time's up. If you give in to his request for "five minutes more, please" once, you'll hear it again and again. If they throw a fit, find out if there's a reason they are afraid to go to bed. Night-lights and monster checks can reassure them that he's safe. If they are simply throwing a tantrum, calmly remind them that it's time to sleep and that if they stay quiet, you'll come back to check on they in a few minutes. Then be sure to follow up with what you promised. If they continue to cry, wait a little longer each time before you go back to check on them.