If you’re a parent or caregiver to a toddler, there’s no denying that babysitting them can be very hectic, especially for those within the age of 2 years.
You have to deal with their constant noise and frequent diaper changes and watch them during playtime.
However, imploring the best tactics for babysitting a 2 year old which this article provides, will make it easier to babysit a toddler within the age range.
Babysitting a 2 Year Old
Like adults, toddlers have a mind of their own and will want to be allowed the freedom to do what they want to do when they want to do it.
And often, what they may want to do may be dangerous or inappropriate.
As the guardian or parent, you must ensure that whatever they intend to do doesn’t land them into trouble. These are some of the obligations of a babysitter.
Toddlers are usually very energetic and hyperactive. They’re newly introduced to many activities like walking, talking, or feeding themselves.
The excitement that comes with being able to do these things themselves can sometimes make them want to go out of their way.
But if you are informed about what to expect and how to go about it, babysitting a 2-year-old will be like a walk in the park.
How To Babysit A Toddler
Below are the best and most effective strategies for babysitting a 2 year old.
1. Know Your Abilities and Limitations
Make sure that you’re ok with babysitting a toddler before volunteering to do the job.
If you are a first-time babysitter, maybe you aren’t physically or mentally ready yet, and that’s fine.
Before babysitting infants and toddlers, take care of some older children first so that you won’t be overwhelmed.
2. Be Prepared
There’s no way to be 100 percent prepared for what babysitting may present.
Getting the needed information on how to deal with kids within the age of the toddlers you’re looking forward to babysitting will keep you abreast of what to do or what not to do.
Know what foods and toys can pose choking hazards to toddlers and try to avoid them entirely.
A proactive measure will help eliminate most risks before they occur.
3. Respond but Don’t React
The ultimate rule to raising kids is to respond but not react.
This means that you respond to their request no matter how inconveniencing it may seem. Reacting could cause a rift, especially when the kid insists on playing with a toy that he has been restricted from.
You could respond by making him see why playing with it isn’t good instead of yelling, which may create a negative impression.
4. Introduce Games and Stories
Including fun time between babysitting can make it easier for both the toddler and the babysitter. It will improve the bond between both, but it’ll make the day go faster.
The best activities for young children are books, building blocks, watercolors, coloring books and crayons, and storytime (keep it short).
Don’t give in to the television or mobile phones all day.
5. Check and change the diapers regularly
This is one thing that you can’t avoid once you’re babysitting a 2 year old.
At this stage, they eat more solid foods, which can increase the mass of their poop and make it smell more. And this sometimes can get in the way of having a fun time babysitting.
The best way to avoid such smelly moments is by frequently checking and changing their diapers.
Not only does a whole diaper smell, but it also causes discomfort to the toddler, which can cause them to cry more.
6. Be Open-Minded
Taking care of kids comes with different unexpected challenges. Before thinking of babysitting a toddler, it is best to keep an open mind to anything it may present, whether criticism or compliment.
As a caregiver, you may do something that worries or upsets a parent the first time you watch a toddler since every parent has different expectations for their child.
Be open to the views of parents. Their child is undoubtedly the most significant part of their life, and they only want the best for them.
Ask for clarity and think of how best to handle the situation.
Be sure to let them know that you are sorry about what happened and reassure them that you’ll do better in the future.
7. Stay Organized
Babysitting will be stressful if you stick to the child’s usual structure and routine.
Before you begin, ask the parent to give you a schedule to follow before they leave.
Children are unique, and one child might have his routine for what needs to be done hour by hour.
You’ll want to ensure that they nap, eat, and play at their usual times.
You need to know how long each nap or play session should last, what kind of food you will feed them, and the rest of their routine.
The more you plan out your schedule, the less likely it will be for things to get out of control.
8. Sing Them a Song
Just like newborns, toddlers love it when you sing for them. Ask the parents before they leave about some of the child’s favorite songs.
If the child is old enough, they might suggest one of their favorite songs. Or sing them a classic nursery rhyme if you can sing.
Toddlers love to be moved around, sang to, and clapped to songs.
9. Bring a First Aid Kit
Parents will likely have home supplies on hand, but it’s a good idea to bring your first aid kit, so you know where it is and get it quickly.
Do not keep any oral medications, but just bandaids (if possible featuring cartoon characters), bandages, gauze, scissors, hand sanitizer, and some Neosporin.
Always keep it out of reach of the child at all times.
10. Do Not Leave a Toddler Alone
Not just for babysitting, but once you’re watching after a kid, taking your eyes off them is like a recipe for disaster because their hands are always searching for something to play with.
Please don’t leave the baby in another room for even a second.
The child can trip and fall, bump their head, pull an object off the table, open up a cabinet not supposed to be opened, pick something up from the floor, put it in their mouth, or perform other potentially dangerous actions.
Take the toddler with you if you have any reason to leave the room.
Fun Things To Do While Babysitting a 2 Years Old
It sometimes feels great to kick off your shoes and play outside with your toddler so that they can burn off some energy.
Try these simple guided activities after they have settled down a bit to make the outdoor time enjoyable for both of you:
Set Up Outdoor Activities
1. Create a Scavenger Hunt
You can certainly walk around the neighborhood, and that is fine; however, you could step it up a notch and do a scavenger hunt while walking.
Scavenger hunts for two-year-olds need to be simple. Here are some suggestions:
- Finding shapes in nature: For this scavenger hunt, you can draw or print out some simple figures such as a triangle, circle, oval, and square, and have your students find as many of these shapes as they can in nature. This will keep them entertained and help them learn quickly.
- Finding different wildlife: Print or draw out nature pictures such as animals, leaves, flowers, and objects and ask them to find an example of each.
2. Play with Water
You don’t need a swimming pool to be able to enjoy some water activities on a warm day.
Fill up a bucket with water, place it on your porch or patio, give the toddler some plastic cups, and let them pour and transfer the water to their hearts’ content while watching them.
Alternately, you could include water play with a color hunt and sorting game. All need is
- A or tub
- Several other buckets
- A toy scoop
- Different colored balls (ping pong balls are cheap and come in different colors)
Fill the tub with water, place the balls in the tub and give the toddler the scoop.
3. Get out the Sidewalk Chalk
Another excellent alternative for entertaining a two-year-old outdoors is sidewalk chalk. Give the child a piece of chalk or drawing paper and let him draw whatever he wants. Or, try any of these fun games:
Walk the Line
Draw various length lines of all kinds of shapes-straight, wiggly, zigzag-and have them walk on it.
This helps focus, coordinate, balance, and improve the child’s gross motor skills.
As they master the more easy lines, you can create more complicated shapes to walk on, such as octagons, numbers, etc.
Draw a circle and give the child a bean bag or a weighted object. Throw it inside the circle.
As the child gets better and improves his skill, let him try throwing the beanbag into the circle from increasing distances.
With this fun activity, toddlers develop their balance, coordination, understanding of depth perception, and how much force is needed for longer distances versus shorter distances.
Set Up Indoor Play Activities
You can do outside games for hours when babysitting a 2 year old.
Here are a few suggestions for keeping a two-year-old entertained while indoors.
1. Create a Pots and Pans Drum Set
As stated earlier, toddlers love noise and music. If you don’t live in an apartment or townhouse and have the patience and nerves to deal with a lot of loud noise, get out the pots and pans, turn them over, and let your two-year-old play the drums with a spoon or spatula. It is fun!
For extra fun, give the children different types of spoons and cooking utensils to discover the different sounds each makes when hitting the pots and pans and the sense of “testing things out” innate in children.
2. Play a Quiet Game
You can have them do any of the following if you want a quiet activity where you can monitor them but not directly involved while keeping their brains engaged and their creativity encouraged:
- Match shapes: Draw and cut out various forms, then cut each in half. Make sure that each form has a different color. Allow your two-year-old to match the conditions correctly.
- Stack the cups: Bring out the paper or plastic cups from the pantry and let them stack before knocking them down. This is a great way to teach them about balance while also creating an easily and quickly cleaned-up mess.
3. Get out the Arts and Crafts
Every babysitter should have craft supplies on hand. Keep plenty of paper, pom-poms, washable paint, paint brushes, pipe cleaners, clay, and markers in your supply kit.
Try these fun craft ideas for more hands-on and guided activities:
- Handprinting: Cover their hand in paint (you can do it or let them do it; be aware of any potential mess and plan accordingly) and press it onto paper. Assist them in washing their hands and repeating the process with various colors. This is an excellent way to help a toddler’s fine motor skills.
- Make sticker art: All you need is a bunch of stickers and some paper, and you can let them loose.
Things to Keep in Mind When Babysitting a Toddler
1. They’ll get hungry!
With all their playful activities, toddlers need snacks and a drink. Give them parent-approved beverages and snacks.
A child that can’t speak yet can get cranky when hungry. If they’re craking, it’s probably time to nap or need some food in their stomachs.
You can offer foods like snacks might be pretzels, animal crackers, goldfish, or fruits.
Also, drinks can be juice, water, or milk. However, this depends on what the parent wants you to give them.
Always be conscious of choking hazards when it comes to foods. Please do not leave the child unattended while they’re eating.
2. Toddlers are parrots
Be mindful of the word choice you use around kids. Do not use curses or foul language in front of kids.
Do not use the words in front of their children if you would not use them in front of their parents. Toddlers are clever and can often repeat what they hear before their parents.
3. Minor injuries can happen
It is common for toddlers to fall, even when playing on carpets or kid-friendly areas.
This is normal since they aren’t stable on their feet, so they fall more often than old kids.
Don’t freak out. Toddlers are resilient and can cry out often, maybe out of fear and not necessarily pain.
Always look at the skin for bumps, bites, bruises, and bleeding. If you see blood, clean up the wound immediately and put a bandaid on it.
Don’t be alarmed if you see a mark; just put ice on it immediately.
Make sure the parents are aware of how the injury happened. They should not find out themselves.
4. Naps are likely and needed!
Toddlers have a lot of energy, but they also need time to replenish it through a nap.
Talk to the parents about their nap time. This helps you stay more organized and makes babysitting more easily.
5. They’ll get in trouble
You should ask the parents how best to handle bad or manipulative behavior if you’re a caregiver. Most parents are ok with timeouts, but spanking is unacceptable!
Sometimes toddlers can do all sorts of things to get your attention. They’ll touch that item they know they’re not supposed to touch. They might hit you or even throw things.
As long as you discuss the rules with the parents, it would be best if you enforced timeouts and takeaways accordingly.
Reasons for Babysitting
There are various reasons why parents employ a babysitter for their toddlers and some of the reasons below are why your baby needs to be babysat for the first years of their lives.
Career Parents who are preoccupied with work and do not have the luxury of time to properly look after their toddlers are very likely to get a babysitter for their toddlers.
Babysitting a 2 year old is not a job to combine with a 9-5 job or any job at all.
It requires some level of attention because it is either the job won’t be done correctly, or the child won’t get the needed attention.
Also, it may amount to the mental and physical breakdown of the parents in question.
Some health challenges do not permit some parents to look after their kids the way it seems necessary.
Health challenges like postpartum depression in women and depression steal away from the bond you should form between the parents and the child.
Such parents are advised to get the help of a babysitter to look after their toddlers while they get the needed support.
Lack of Experience
First-time parents who have no experience looking after their toddlers can quickly burn out trying to keep them in a place.
They quickly get exasperated with the shouting, and running around and getting help from a professional babysitter is the best way to get them started.
When to start babysitting?
The appropriate age when you can babysit a toddler depends on the parents or guardians involved.
Ideally, once a child has been weaned, they can be left in the care of another adult who is not their parents.
When to stop babysitting
There’s no particular age to stop babysitting. It all depends on the parents and children involved.
Once the aim for which babysitting was adopted is achieved, one can decide to stop on continue, considering the circumstances surrounding it.
For seemingly busy parents, if they have found a better way to balance out the work and look after the children, they may decide to stop hiring a babysitter.
In other cases, once the toddler has come of age to take care of himself without getting into trouble, there may be no need to involve a babysitter.
Read Also: Healthy Recipes For Picky Eaters on a Budget
Deciding to get the help of a babysitter for babysitting a 2 year old is a great way to get yourself together after recovering from taking care of the baby in the first year of their lives.
Should you decide to do it yourself, it’ll take more than just the bond between you and your child to have a smooth time together.
This article has given you hints on the strategies to take when babysitting a 2 year old.