Sharing is Caring: How Your Babysitter Can Help Teach Your Kids to Share

By Ashley Paskill on November 27, 2023

Teaching your children how to share is a crucial lesson for them to learn. To be successful, you need everyone on board in aiding to teach them. This includes other family members, teachers, and even your babysitter. Your babysitter may spend a lot of time with your children, or they may not. Either way, they can still play a crucial part in helping your child learn how to share.

Teach your child first

The most important thing you can do is be the first person who instills sharing into your child. You are the one who knows them best and spends the most time with them, so you know exactly how they learn and what qualities you want them to pick up. Your babysitter’s job is to watch them and keep them safe in your absence, not to be their parent. While they can certainly aid in teaching them, parenting and instilling values that matter is primarily your job.

Encourage babysitters to encourage your kids

Even though it is ultimately your responsibility to teach your children to share, if an opportunity comes up, encourage your babysitter to step in. This can happen during playtime or snack time. If your babysitter witnesses a moment where your children are not sharing, have your babysitter point out that they need to be sharing. Guide your babysitter as to what kinds of “discipline” work for your child and what language they listen to so they can learn how to share on their level and come to understand the concept better. This way, they can better put sharing into practice and learn the concept in a way that works for them.

Play to your babysitter’s strengths

Although you may know your child and what teaching method works for them, your babysitter may know another approach, especially if you are struggling to get the concept of sharing across. You may opt to have your babysitter run it by you first or you can trust their experience and let them do their thing. Whichever you choose, be sure to provide honest feedback and if it appears to be working, ask them how they helped get the concept of sharing into your kid’s brain. This may only work if your babysitter has specific training or has much experience with kids.

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Establish playdate rules

Playdates are a great way to help kids learn how to interact with other kids, and one of the most important skills in these situations is sharing. Before you leave your child in your babysitter’s care, have a talk with the child about the playdate. Discuss the importance of sharing when they have their playdate and establish sharing as a rule among other rules. Talk to your babysitter about sharing and make sure they help enforce it so the child can practice and continue to learn its importance. Communication should always be open, but be sure to communicate with your babysitter throughout the playdate, especially for updates on the sharing.

Battle of the belongings

If you have more than one child, each child may have belongings that are important specifically to that child that they do not wish to share. Be sure the babysitter is aware of this, especially if it is something you are okay with. You may be okay with the kids sharing some toys but not sharing special toys. As long as the sitter is aware of these toys and the arrangement, they can help enforce these boundaries. Again, keep communication open in case they need to contact you about a specific toy or instance that arises. You may even opt to keep the “unshareable” toys out of reach when the babysitter is around to make things easier for them.

Have activities planned

While your babysitter may have some activities planned, you may also decide to help arrange some group activities if you have multiple kids. You know your children to know what they like and how they play. You know what they do well together, so for the first few babysitting shifts, plan out the activities so the babysitter can get a feel for the things that allow the children to share well. From there, they can see what the children do well together and can plan from there.

Know the sitter’s comfort level

Some babysitters may be more comfortable enforcing rules than others. This typically comes down to confidence that comes from experience. If you know that your babysitter is more experienced, talk to them about adding the enforcement of the sharing rule, but you may not have to give out advice. For sitters who are a bit less experienced, you may have to give them some advice on disciplining and enforcing the rules with confidence without coming across as mean or aggressive. Helping your sitter through their level of comfort in the situation can help your child learn as well.

Sharing is an important skill for your child to learn, and having your babysitter involved in teaching and enforcing the skill can help them practice it as much as possible.

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