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Sibling Babysitting

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: I work full time. My regular babysitter is on vacation this week, so I am "hiring" my 13 year-old daughter to watch my 6 year old. She has done this quite often, and I work close to home in case of emergency. We are running out of things to keep them busy. Any suggestions?

A: It is quite common for parents to "hire" an older sibling to watch over a younger one during a school holiday or when the regular babysitter is unavailable. Why not get both children involved in an organized activity such as swimming lessons, library time, YMCA--something that is close to home.

Try not to spend too much time on one activity--no more than an hour in the den on computer games, an hour in the back yard reading, an hour in the kitchen for eating, an hour on the porch to do arts and crafts. By having to change location and activity, interest is maintained.

A well prepared babysitter, whether it is an older sibling or someone else, gives parents great peace of mind and I commend you for helping your sitter be prepared!

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After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.

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